Teaching business owners and marketing directors about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a lot like teaching a child to read.
First, you learn the alphabet and get really good at reciting it!
Then you learn that each of these letters has its own sound that it makes, and these letters can go together to form a word! We’re on top of the world now, right?! (Pro-Tip: This is about the level of SEO knowledge 99% of business owners have).
Then you learn that these words can go together to form a sentence!
And these sentences can even go together to form a paragraph! And these 5-7 sentence paragraphs go on to form pages, and the pages, chapters and the chapters- entire novels! These novels, expertly built to convey a setting and a plot and character development and a host of other things that are purposely placed and layered to offer the reader the desired result.
Yup, it’s just like that.
Yet, SEO agencies struggle every day to get in front of decision makers to even give an SEO audit and some basic education! The reasons for this are complex, but there are 4 prominent factors that lead to this
1) You don’t know what you don’t know about SEO
Lending itself to our analogy above, Search Engine Optimization truly is its own profession. And like any profession, the knowledge contained within it is like going down a rabbit hole. One hole leads to three, which leads to five more and so on. Business students don’t even learn the analytics concepts until post-grad for crying out loud!
2) The SEO gene pool is heavily polluted.
By its nature, the SEO industry is a breeding ground for bad actors. Big promises of huge returns with absolutely no guarantees or repercussions for the shady SEO sales guy. They mass blast cold emails and cold calls, relying on sheer numbers and sheer ignorance to snag their next victim. Being a legitimate business ourselves, we’re no stranger to the countless scam emails and calls- we avoid them at all costs too.
Oh and let’s not forget the ones that promise the world for next to nothing!
3) SEO Ignorance
“Just need to optimize my keywords”
“Just need to get my keyword into my page title and meta description”
“Just need to get some Google reviews and I’ll be set”
Welcome to the letter ‘A’ in learning the alphabet, my friend.
4) The Cost of SEO
Let’s face it, on its surface, SEO looks pretty darn expensive. We’ve already written an article about what makes SEO so expensive, so we won’t beat a dead horse here. But the cost of true SEO work alone is prohibitive to some businesses, especially if a positive ROI isn’t indicated and properly explained.
These factors are bad enough on their own but become quite heavy when they compound on each other. This leads to a complete shutout- many businesses that need and can seriously benefit from SEO completely slam the door on anyone and anything trying to crack it open.
Once you commit to just an SEO Audit though: It’s quite an enlightening and scary experience! Learning where your business stands in the eyes of the all-seeing Google is just the first step over the threshold. On comes where you stand compared to your competitors. In ranking, in content, in backlinks, in citations, in on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Then comes the HISTORY! Imagine finding out that your biggest competitors increased ad spend or started an anchor text backlink campaign for a certain keyword 8 months ago and took a major portion of new customer traffic (revenue) from your niche market! Seeing where they got links from, the authority of the domains linking to them and which key terms they used to get results. Then the implications of not being proactive about SEO! In business, this is called “getting outflanked” in every sense of the word. It’s like learning to read a single book and then walking into the library for the first time in your life- the ever-present rabbit hole analogy strikes again!
Real SEO has a Real impact and return. It’s an industry where no decision is made without MASSIVE amounts of data backing it up. And it’s an industry where results can be proven with cold hard facts – a claim not supported by most other means of advertising.
And in a world where you’re being asked to do more with less, data-driven business decisions are extremely prudent. Having a knowledgeable and experienced SEO professional on your team is a sure fire way to either take your business to the next level, or at least play catch up with the competition that already has.