Have you ever been in a situation where your audience (read clients) are increasingly sporting a confused look as you outline your SEO campaign?
Challenge: Client executives have no tangible understanding of the SEO process.
SEO does not have an exact prescription on increasing visibility within search engines for every website. Add to it the multitude of SEO terms such as crawling, indexing, canonicals, redirects, 404s, mobile friendliness, etc. and it becomes apparent why it is difficult to explain how the SEO team is driving a positive ROI to someone who is not a subject matter expert. Second, in contrast to PPC where the return can be calculated on per ad spend, the long term goals of keyword integration towards sales conversion and lead generation feels like a marathon.
Learn how to effectively communicate the significance of SEO
The business impact of increasing keyword rankings, the value of driving more traffic to a website, and of increasing the number of website conversions is lost to C-suite folks who control the SEO budget. Hence, optimizing (pun intended) your communication skills and effectively explaining the SEO game can improve client relations and provide clarity.
Here are some tips to communicate the importance of SEO and the reasoning behind your tactics and choices. Make your clients your allies in your 2021 SEO journey, rather than onlookers.
Understand their goals and set expectations
Take the time to uncover your clients’ unique business and thoroughly understand their goals. Once you know what metrics matter the most to them, you can clearly communicate with them. Next, based on your research and their preference of success set expectations for results. Setting clear expectations lets the client know ‘when’ and ‘how much’ is to be attained.
Keep them in the loop and share news as it happens
A part of the SEO strategy is to keep abreast of all updates. Why not share news and updates with the client as well? Let your client know that search engines are experimenting with a new and interesting format, and ask them if they would want to try it.
It shows the client that you are on top of the industry trends, and also allows them to feel actively associated with new developments. Result, an excited and involved client in the know of SEO strategies.
Avoid the industry jargon
Every field has its own terminology that people outside the immediate industry feel disconnected with. Don’t make the mistake of assuming they understand the term and phrase basics. Take the time to educate your clients about SEO and define some of the key terms and metrics that will be used. Approach conversations with your clients after they are comfortable with the material and can keep up with strategy outlines.
Outline the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of your strategy
Communicating the outline of your SEO channel-specific tactics in terms of what you’re going to do, doing it, and then telling them that you did it keeps them aware and excited about prospects. Explain how it will help them to reach their business objectives, and solve their brand, business challenges. Much of SEO optimization is behind the scenes and is not tangible, therefore, it’s critical to explain the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of it. For instance, explain your plan of action prioritising featured snippets because it allows owning more of the SERPs and its potential to raise visibility.
Optimize your communication to suit the audience profile
The way you present your SEO strategies should depend on the industry type of your clients. For instance, IT guys will appreciate the details of the technical work and bug fixes, etc. while the ones in marketing content marketing campaign tactics. However, remember that most client executives are interested in your impact to the bottom line. It pays to provide information focused on time and resources required, and the potential ROI.
Advantages of a progress report
Documentation showing the improvement in search results can back up your efforts with tangible results. Sharing information like channel-specific KPI showing increased keyword rankings, increased site traffic, increased site conversions, etc. establish connection between your actions and the results. Monthly reports including measurable results, updates on completed tasks, and highlighting key wins creates transparency.
Ask for feedback
It’s a two-way street. Ask your clients to share opinions, suggestions, and thoughts on the strategies outlines. Their review of accomplished tactics can also clarify their expectations. In turn, it helps you to improve your SEO efforts as you determine the best approach based on their feedback. Healthy communication builds trust leading to longer and more profitable client relationships.
Acknowledge client suggestions
Now that you have client feedback, at times you will find that your best practices strategies and their suggestions are at war. Turning them down is not only bad customer service but also detrimental to communication. On the other end, you don’t want to please them blindly. Solution? Acknowledge suggestions and guide them to the correct conclusions.
Build credibility for your SEO
SEO involves a lot of work that happens behind the scenes and doesn’t often yield instant results. It can be difficult to prove the power of SEO to executives. Take leadership and proactively develop the SEO image within by being an authoritative source on industry resources. Document and monitor every effort that contributes to your client’s bottom line. Competitor comparison charts can also bolster support for your SEO campaigns.
Clients don’t truly understand how SEO works but are aware of its necessity for their business’ digital livelihood. This makes them feel vulnerable as they mark the SEO budget. How should you bring them in the same page and earn their trust?
Through the points discussed above that will bring about open and honest communication.
Connect what you’re doing to the things that clients really care about. Ensure that the SEO strategy you deploy for your customers is current and holistic and more importantly, effectively communicate it to them. Your SEO efforts will soon find acceptance in the value pyramid of your client’s organisations.