How to Explain SEO to C-Suite Executives


Getting CEOs on board with search marketing can sometimes seem like an impossible task—but it doesn’t have to be. Although it’s true that most executives are used to looking at their brands in a certain light and therefore have a hard time understanding why search engines see them differently, you can help them grasp the power and importance of SEO. The key is in knowing how to explain it.

pitch seo

Here’s how to show executives why search marketing matters—so they’ll be wiling to approve investments and your business can start reaping the benefits!

Step 1: Search Engines Aren’t People

When you come to a website, what do you notice? The colors, the layout, the photos, the video? Search engines aren’t like you. According to Google, you should “use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site because most search engine spiders see your site the way Lynx would.”

What does this mean for your executives? To put it visually, here’s the difference between how people look at websites and how search engines look at websites, using Everything PR as an example.

Everything PR to a Viewer:

Everything PR Screenshot


Everything PR in Lynx (i.e., how it would look to a search engine):

Everything PR to Search Engine

Show your executives the difference. What these images show is that because search engines don’t look at your site the way people do, you need to find a different way to communicate to search engines what you’re about and why they should send users to you.

Step 2: Search Engines Are Powerful

Once an executive sees firsthand the way a search engine views a website, the next question is obvious: Well, so what? Why does it matter if a search engine views your site that way?

  • Search engines bring in traffic. You may use print or media ads, but without search, you’re overlooking a huge opportunity. Search engines can point Web users to your site based on the related terms they enter.
  • Higher rankings mean higher traffic. 95% of search traffic comes from the first page of search results, which means the higher you rank for relevant keywords, the better.
  • More traffic can mean more sales. If your SEO strategy is done right, bringing in more traffic will also mean bringing in more profits. That is the kind of information no CEO can resist.

Step 3: SEO Maximizes Your Influence on Search Engines

Once your executives understand that search engines are powerful and don’t process information the way people do, they’re ready for you to explain the value of search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization matters because it gives you a way to maximize the power of search engines to bring in new, relevant traffic. It’s true search engines look at sites differently; SEO gives you a way to communicate with them.

  • SEO gets your content noticed by search engines. Through search engine optimization techniques, you set up your content to be noticed by Google and other search engines.
  • Search engines can’t rank what they can’t see. If your content isn’t optimized for search engines, there’s a good chance search engines are not seeing it, and that means potential visitors also aren’t seeing it when they’re searching.
  • SEO relies on proven techniques to boost rankings. SEO uses various techniques to get your website noticed, from strategic content to keyword optimization to backlinking (i.e., acquiring incoming links to your site from other places on the Web).

The bottom line in explaining SEO to executives is communicating the value of improving search rankings. Show your management team why high rankings will benefit your brand, and they’re sure to get on board.

Ask for Questions or Objections

After walking executives through the above steps, ask where they’re still fuzzy. What doesn’t make sense? What could you clarify? When you know what reservations or concerns executives have, you’ll be better able to answer or resolve them.

Have you had to explain SEO to executives in your company? What other strategies have you found helpful?

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