SEOs, I want to take the time to share with you something that’s been on my mind for a little while now.
Non-SEOs, if you’ve worked with an SEO for any number of months, I’m certain you would have noticed what I’m about to say.
SEOs…we have a tendency to be negative – some more so than others.
Have you noticed this?
Have you thought about it?
I wanna share with you why I believe this is.
You see, SEO, optimisation, is all about improvement.
It doesn’t matter what the state of your website is in, whether it’s mature or in its growth phase, the goal is to realise an improvement from that state.
That’s what we, SEOs, aim to achieve. Consistently.
In way of achieving this, we have to acknowledge faults, or as we commonly put it, issues with a website.
This is how we’re trained. It’s how we’re wired.
We seek to look for ways that we can improve upon something.
Just like there is no end to progress, there is no end to SEO, right?
SEO, as we say, is forever.
We could improve a site. 6 months later, we have another look at it and think of a way to make further improvements.
In fact, we could, and would, look at the work we did 6 months prior and think it’s no longer very good.
This is the way we think.
We make op-ti-mi-sa-tion to the current state of websites.
We do this constantly.
An effect of this, of constantly thinking of improvements, is we tend to think of issues.
This makes us come across as constantly being negative.
A while back, I pitched to do the SEO of a site in the Travel industry – pre-pandemic.
Early on in the pitch, I made an off-hand comment of the site needing an update.
One of the Marketing Managers did not take to it too kindly.
They had recently just completed a site redesign, where they shelled out a lot of their budget to ‘update’ their site.
And my unfortunate choice of words was that they need to ‘update’ their site.
Needless to say, I did not win the business.
The moment the Marketing Manager spoke up about my comment, I knew I wasn’t going to win the gig.
Now, of course, I was speaking from an SEO point of view.
And from an SEO point of view, was I right?
Yes, I was. But the way I came across with my unfortunate choice of words, rubbed them the wrong way.
In my attempt to lead them to the improvements they could make, I spoke of ‘issues’ on their site.
Speaking of issues on their site made me come across as very negative. And off-putting.
A Marketing Manager only has to read an SEO audit, or an SEO report to be turned off by SEO, and/or by the SEO.
When talking, SEO to SEO, we can afford to be loose with the way we speak.
We can afford to be rather free with our choice of words.
We can say something is shit if it’s shit.
But here’s the thing…
As you know, SEO requires more than SEO to be a success.
How do you think you come across with other departments?
Other departments that you have to work with to get your recommendations implemented?
How do you reckon a Designer would take to your recommendations if you state their work is detrimental to the site’s SEO traffic?
Would they be keen to work with you?
Or would they push-back on ‘SEO work’?
What I’ve realised tends to happen, is this…
The implementation of SEO-related work is not one that’s welcomed.
This is especially pertinent to the Dev department but all departments, in general.
They aim to push-back on SEO-related work just so they do not have to deal with the channel.
In cases where a department works with SEO, they do so rather hesitantly.
They do so with disdain of SEO.
They do so not wanting to think of a solution but simply to execute on the work at hand.
Now what does this mean? What does this result to in reality?
It results to SEOs having to provide the solution, in detail, rather than working with the department to arrive at the best solution to the problem, or issue, identified.
This is why collaboration is more difficult than it need be.
And, as a channel that relies on other departments to make improvements, we really have to be more mindful of the way we come across.
Yes, more than other marketers.
Because of the way we’re wired to think.
We have to see a problem before we can arrive at a solution.
But – being more mindful of the way we come across – we don’t have to be negative in the way we conduct ourselves.
Even if – no, even when – we think something is just damn right stupid.
We’re specialist with this channel.
We sometimes take it for granted that not everyone knows what we know.
Heck, even fellow marketers, in other channels, don’t know what we know.
I had a Marketing Manager once ask me how to find the source code on their site.
Not everyone knows what we know! We’re experts at improving a website’s traffic – from search.
We’re wired to make improvements. And this is a mindset to cherish.
We do, however, have to be more conscious of the way we direct progress.