Getting C-level buy-in for your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy can be a daunting task — but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just a matter of clearly communicating the right information at the right time, and dumping the rest. As SEOs, we’re all about rankings and CTRs, meta data and canonicalization, and all that other technical search jargon.
The fact is, though, that your boss doesn’t care. Not because he/she is a jerk, but because it’s not their job to care. They don’t have time to care. That’s why they hired you, the SEO. So if you approach your boss with keyword search volume and URL structures, XML sitemaps and microdata, you’ll start to see that look in their eyes. That look that says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about — tell me what it costs and what it’s going to do for my bottom line.”
And that, my friends, is the key to getting SEO budget from the C-suite. Here are 10 tips you can use to secure an SEO budget from your C-level team.
- Realize that the CIOs and CMOs Don’t Always Understand
CIOs sometimes fixate on cost reductions, while CMOs sometimes focus on rough numbers that don’t necessarily matter to your business objectives.
Clearly define the SEO process for them. Show an example of where you’ve achieved results and how you can apply these wins across the entire site. Use charts, graphs and images – C-levels love visuals. Then clearly define the SEO process again.
- Focus on value, not technique
Your C-suite executives are not all that interested in how you get results. They just want to know why what you’re doing is important and when they’ll see results. It’s all about showing a solid return on investment.
- Highlight SEO goals
Show how SEO will increase traffic by X amount. Calculate the average dollar amount of each visit. Then multiply that by 12 months to demonstrate annual revenue generation that can be produced by SEO efforts.
- Connect the financial dots
Be ready to answer the difficult financial questions:
- What is the competition doing?
- How long will it take to see results?
- How does this help me achieve my goals?
- Continue to share success
Review your progress monthly and share with C-levels. Again, use charts and graphs to demonstrate the visual improvements and ROI. Use the word “free” a lot, as in “free listings on the search engines” and “free traffic to the site.”
- Show the ROI
Compare SEO to the costs of PPC, and focus on the long-term benefits of organic SEO. Clearly explain the need for long-term commitment for long-lasting success.
- Stay on target
Sometimes there will be lulls in your organic SEO success. Ride it out and stay on track with your strategies. Chasing algorithms will only slow your success — or worse, bring it to a screeching halt.
- Continually educate
Search continues to evolve. Stay up to date with the latest goings on in the SEO industry, and continue to educate C-levels about changes. If they have a high level of understanding, they won’t be so shocked when rankings or traffic temporarily dip.
- Keep up to date
You’re the SEO pro, that’s why you’ve been hired to fill that role. Show your boss that you’re constantly keeping up and changing with the fast-paced digital marketing flow. Be ready to explain why what you were doing three months ago isn’t what you’re doing today. But stay focused on the other nine tips above and remember to answer these important C-level questions: How much does it cost, and what’s it going to do for my bottom line?