How to Sell SEO Services to a Sceptic

Chances are, if you work for, or run a business, there’s going to be someone in the office who refuses to so much as listen to the dreaded acronym of SEO – search engine optimisation that is.

That’s fair enough – there are many scammers out there who claim all your website needs is ‘work’ and only their secret strategies can take it to the top spot on a Google results page. All they need, of course, is a one-time payment to magically increase organic traffic.

This kind of offer is rife in the digital marketing industry, and makes it easier to understand just why people might be afraid of SEO.

Read on to explore five common arguments against SEO services, and just how you can rebut them.

Prior bad experience with an SEO agency

They say:

I’ve been burned before by an SEO company promising to improve rankings and traffic so much that I’d quickly find myself on the first page of Google search results within a couple of months.

But, after I paid them their money and they played around with my website and added lots of links, as well as stuffed my articles with keywords which just made them hard to read – I only moved up a couple of spots on Google within the two months, and I didn’t bother to keep working with them after this.

You say:

Like in every industry, there are good guys and bad guys – and, there’s always someone who is trying to make a quick buck by attempting to fool search engine algorithms.

You were given some poor advice here, when the best advice would have been to remind you that improving SEO is a long-term game as you simply cannot increase organic traffic in a day.

In fact, to give you an example of just how long of a process it is – a core component of today’s SEO strategy is creating content which is interesting and informative. This takes time.

There are no real shortcuts to success in this area. It’s a case of taking a step-by-step approach and starting with a solid foundation of good-quality content.

You will see, however, a return on investment if you are patient and willing to put in the hard work.

It’s complicated and probably not even worth it in the end

They say:

I’m a business owner who sells ‘X’. That’s my end game, so why should I have to learn so much about this confusing SEO stuff. It doesn’t really have any relevance for my brand in the end. After all, it’s easier just to pay for Google Ads than to worry about all of this organic search nonsense. 

You say:

Fair call – there is a lot to learn, but you don’t have to do it all yourself. Outsourcing your SEO is one way to save yourself a lot of hassle.

What I wouldn’t recommend, of course, is picking the first agency who offers you results without doing any further research.

A good SEO team can become a truly valuable partner, as long as they have your best interests at heart from the get-go.

An Australian or local SEO team is likely to have the best knowledge of your target market.

In terms of it not being worth it – think about it. Chances are, even with a bricks-and-mortar business, most people are going to find out about you through a Google search. If you want to sell more and entice more customers through the door (whether that’s a wooden one or a metaphorical one onto your website), you need to be appearing online if you’re to have any chance of getting clicks, and then turning these clicks into conversion. 

Very few users ever go through onto the second page of Google, so if you’re searching ‘flowers Sydney’ and you’re a Sydney-based florist who’s not showing up on the first page of results, you’ve got a problem.

Improving a website’s ranking can be a crucial element when trying to reach new clients.

Same goes for appearing in Google’s Business section – this proves to potential customers, as well as competitors that you’re legitimate, which is especially important for a small business. 

When good SEO campaigns are implemented step-by-step, it can be an incredible asset to your business.

SEO services are sneaky and all about cheating the system

They say:

I know what SEO is. It is all about doing sneaky things like stuffing articles full of target keywords and search terms, getting involved in link farms or hiding these links all over the Internet, cloaking – hiding web pages from Google crawlers – or spamming other blogs with comments.

I don’t want any part in this. In fact, the only businesses which need to employ those kinds of practices are brands which are no good and need all the help they can get.

You say:

Ok – hold your horses there. Yes, this kind of malpractice, known as black hat SEO does exist, but it’s not all there is. These kinds of strategies, if engaged in, are actually likely to get you in big trouble with Google.

The search engine giant now has a no-nonsense approach to dealing with companies who engage in this behaviour.

Not only will there be fines and potential de-indexing of your pages, but there is also the possibility of Google taking manual action against you. This will mean you are going to fall in the rankings, and do so quite heavily and fast.

It’s also a big embarrassment, as it has been for a couple of well-renowned brands who have been caught over the years.

But, that’s not to say that this is what all SEO companies are about.

There are a whole lot of so-called white hat techniques and SEO tools which, if employed well, are legitimate ways of ensuring you rank highly on organic search. These can include working on back and internal links and including appropriate long-tail keywords. But, a lot of it is simply to do with creating quality content which solves users’ problems and makes them want to read on.

The other part of it is all to do with on-page SEO optimisation.

You want to ensure your site loads quickly, can be crawled by Google bots, is mobile-friendly – and is easily able to be shared by visitors across various social media sites. The page should also have a nice clean title, meta description and URL as well as internal links to encourage people to stick around.

It’s an unnecessary fad - after all, tried and true methods are better for our business

They say:

I’m the top in my field at the moment, and have been for a long time. The only way I need to do any marketing is through classic formats such as billboards, word of mouth and simply getting out to meet people.

After all, I’m personable, friendly and my reputation already precedes me – there’s simply not a lot more work that needs doing.

You say:

Yes, ok – if you’re doing well in your field without any SEO, chances are you’ve got a good thing going. But, a good thing can change almost in the blink of an eye and this is what you need to be prepared for.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that any business strategy which advocates for remaining completely offline is a long-term, sustainable one. If the end game is to increase sales, why aren’t you trying to do so in as many locations and through as many different formats as possible?

Going online and specifically on to Google opens up a world of possibilities. Users who do not live in your area, those who are housebound or time-poor, or just rely heavily on their mobile phones all become potential customers. 

Those who do not see your website or location in a Google local search using the ‘near-me’ modifier,  or even when they look up industry relevant keywords simply will not become either site visitors or clients, and this is going to start hurting your business. 

After all, think of your own behaviour as a consumer – even when you see a traditional advertisement for a product of any kind, you’re probably not going to bother jotting down the phone number or address – because – after all, this information will be online anyway.

At the end of the day, you want your business to be sustainable well into the future. If you’re not capitalising on modern techniques and SEO tools yet – you’re missing out, big time. 

Is SEO dead? Ask Google.
Is SEO dead? Ask Google. Or ask your qualified SEO agency instead. Hint: No.

This is a silly conversation , SEO is dead anyway

They say:

Well, why exactly should we care now? I see the blog posts online which proclaim loudly and clearly that SEO has already enjoyed its heyday. After all, the Google Search Console is losing relevance – let alone sites like Bing and Yahoo.

It’s time to focus solely on the “future” – influencers and social media marketing campaigns …. right?

You say:

Well, to be fair – someone is always publishing a piece of content or a blog post online  proclaiming the death and demise of SEO – but, this is simply not true.

What is dead are those outdated techniques we spoke about before, the kind of underbelly tactics and SEO tools which Google has simply got too smart to allow.

Google, however, alongside the consumer’s desire to use search engines to satisfy their wants, needs and answer their questions, looks unlikely to go away anytime soon.

To sum it all up:

  • Not all SEO agencies are spammers just out to make a quick buck. Like with every industry, do your research before getting involved with one, and particularly before you have to part with any money. Remember the age-old adage that if something seems too good to be true – then it probably is.
  • Search engine optimisation can be confusing, but there are people who can simplify it all for you. You can either hire an SEO agency to work as part of your team and do the work for you, or simply get some advice from an expert to outline what your goals should be and which steps to take.
  • Think about starting off by employing SEO tools such as internal links and doing some keyword research, as well as ensuring your site is optimised for user experience, including mobile and voice search.
  • SEO campaigns might seem a bit sneaky, but those ‘black hat’ tactics are more likely to get you fined by Google than they are to increase revenue. Focus on finding a team based in Australia willing to use  SEO tools as part of a holistic approach.
  • SEO is necessary! You can no longer stay afloat without, at the very least, appearing in a Google search, if not on Google My Business, Images and Maps search as well. Having little to no digital presence also excludes a large market of Google users from accessing your brand and from buying your product.
  • SEO is not dead, it’s here to stay for a long time. But, it has become a long-term game, more about producing a quality piece of content than cheating the algorithms just to improve search engine rankings. It is an integral part of any good digital marketing campaign.

So, how can you be even more persuasive when it comes to convincing the SEO cynic in your life that these strategies can be a helpful tool for growth and profitability?

At the end of the day, everyone wants a bigger profit – it’s just a case of coming to them with the right approach, and armed with enough evidence of the trends to prove SEO is right for all business owners.

Oftentimes, the best place to start is by finding case studies which are pertinent to your own industry.

Do a quick Google search based on the target keywords they should be ranking for, and then compare how well their competitors are ranking for these keywords.

Hard data is one of the most convincing ways to sell an idea to someone. After all, who can argue with the facts?

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