6 Practical Ways to Get Buy-In for SEO

Digital marketer gets his team to buy in to SEO.

If you want SEO to succeed at your organization — like really succeed — you need more than just you or your immediate team on board with it.

I’ve said before that SEO needs to be a key strategic initiative for the entire company in order to see the best results. Not just the marketing team but everyone who is involved in the success of the website and the company needs to buy in.

When the chairman at a client’s company called a meeting to say everyone needed to be on board with SEO or essentially find a new place to work, they got on board. And, after months of working together on a new SEO-driven site, they saw a traffic increase of 900% within the first week it went live.

The big obstacle is that companies are often pressed for time and resources. SEO won’t be a priority unless people across the company understand why it helps the organization as a whole and their department in particular.

In this article, I’ll explain six practical ways you can build buy-in for search engine optimization at your company:

    1. Build relationships
    2. Show data
    3. Dispel myths
    4. Educate about SEO
    5. Align with goals
    6. Pilot a small project

FAQ: What are the most effective ways to showcase data to gain SEO buy-in?

1. Build Relationships

At the end of the day, you’re not going to get anywhere without building key relationships in your company. And because you want the right people across your company actively participating in the SEO project, investing in this step is important.

Remember that people don’t generally respond well to broad outreach, preferring instead a personal approach that addresses individual desires and interests. So SEO buy-in is generally hard to achieve with mass emails or memos about best practices.

Rather, form personal connections with others across key departments. These are far more likely to develop into a meeting of minds. For example, talking to the sales folks about their needs can give you ideas on how to align SEO initiatives to drive more sales.

Pay attention to who takes the most interest in SEO. Then you can build a network of SEO evangelists with one or more representatives within each department.

2. Show Data

Sometimes one of the best ways to get buy-in is to show where the company’s website is at today. This can be something as simple as pulling some reports from Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

These data points may be off the radar for many people in the company. Showing them just how much room there is for improvement may be a big wake-up call.

If you want a more in-depth picture of what’s going on, get a proper SEO audit from an agency or professional (or do one yourself if that’s in your wheelhouse). An audit will examine every aspect of the website and what needs to be addressed to compete in the search results.

As you are building a picture for your stakeholders, be sure to show them how improvements can move the needle and what that might look like for the business.

Try not to become frustrated if faced with push-back. This usually occurs when someone doesn’t understand how a proposed SEO tactic will help them meet their goals. In these instances, it’s time to build a stronger case.

3. Dispel Myths

Those who are not intimately familiar with SEO will likely have some false beliefs about it. As you are building relationships and presenting data, dispel any myths that could be a roadblock to buy-in.

Common SEO myths include:

  • SEO is too unreliable: This myth is all about thinking that the Google algorithm is too unpredictable, so you just can’t win.
  • You can’t measure SEO: This myth says that you can’t track SEO like you can track other marketing and advertising channels.
  • SEO is a one-time thing: This myth is grounded in a misconception that you only need to do a set of SEO activities once, and then you are golden.

4. Educate about SEO

Remember that, in most cases, you are dealing with people who know less about SEO than you do. A lot less. So it’s important to take a “for dummies” approach and keep things simple.

Validate your SEO advice using Google’s recommendations wherever possible. This helps people understand that SEO is not trickery — it’s a partnership between Google and the websites within its index.

As you make recommendations, also speak in terms of your experience, using phrases such as “in my experience” or “previously” when explaining the value of SEO tactics. People will better acknowledge the importance of SEO initiatives if they know that you’re speaking from past successes.

If you have the budget, get key folks involved in some basic SEO training. This can quickly get a group of people up to speed on why SEO is important.

We often encourage everyone that touches the website to get involved in SEO training, from the web developer to the IT guy and beyond. (P.S. Check out that link to see our new online training platform, which makes it easy for everyone to join in.)

5. Align with Goals

On your journey, you will begin to understand which key performance indicators matter to people across the company. Use those as a guiding light and align them with SEO initiatives.

There is rarely a business goal that cannot be met with SEO. Usually, revenue is a top one. More leads are another. As we’ve seen and others have reported, SEO can be a key traffic and revenue driver for many businesses.

6. Pilot a Small Project

If the company is still not ready to go “all in,” start small. Begin with a small project that you know will move the needle.

It could be small SEO fixes that you can implement on the site or an initiative that works to support a key group within the company. You will begin to build momentum once you get a few smaller wins.

Your Ongoing Efforts

If you champion SEO at your company, you are faced with the ongoing task of proving its relevance to business goals long term and making sure all decisions involve SEO.

For example, is the company planning a web redesign? New content? A new product or service? All of these launches need to involve SEO for the best results.

Make a point of regularly reporting SEO progress to the whole organization or all key departments with a stake in the company’s success (management, directors, sales, marketing, editorial, IT).

Significant successes and failures should both be included in reports made at regular intervals. Give kudos when they are due so that people stay active in the team. When you get people in the habit of looking forward to the report, you boost motivation to stay involved in SEO initiatives company-wide.

We help companies strategize and implement SEO plans that work. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you, request a quote here.

FAQ: What are the most effective ways to showcase data to gain SEO buy-in?

Gaining support for SEO initiatives within an organization requires more than just stating the benefits. To truly convince stakeholders of the importance of search engine optimization, you need to present data compelling and informatively.

Establishing Context

Before delving into data presentation techniques, it’s crucial to emphasize the context. Explain how SEO impacts website visibility, organic traffic, and business success. Setting the stage with a clear understanding of SEO’s significance will pave the way for a receptive audience.

Unveiling the Metrics that Matter

When presenting data, focus on the metrics that resonate with your audience. If you’re addressing the marketing team, highlight organic traffic and conversion rate increases. For executives, showcase the impact on revenue growth and return on investment. You demonstrate a deep understanding of their priorities by tailoring your data to specific concerns.

Visual Storytelling with Analytics

Numbers alone might not capture attention, but visual storytelling through analytics can significantly impact. Craft informative charts and graphs that illustrate the upward trajectory of key SEO metrics. A well-designed visualization can simplify complex data and convey your message more effectively.

The Power of Before and After

Showcasing data in a “before and after” format is a compelling way to demonstrate SEO’s influence. Present a snapshot of website performance before implementing SEO strategies, followed by a subsequent snapshot showcasing the improvements. This direct comparison provides a tangible representation of SEO’s positive impact.

Real-Life Success Stories

Nothing resonates more with stakeholders than real-life success stories. Share instances where organizations experienced substantial growth in website traffic, lead generation, or revenue due to effective SEO implementation. These stories provide experiential evidence of SEO’s potential to drive tangible results.

Step-by-Step Procedure: Mastering Data Presentation for SEO Buy-In

  1. Understand Your Audience: Identify the specific stakeholders you need to convince and tailor your data presentation accordingly.
  2. Choose Relevant Metrics: Choose metrics aligning with your audience’s priorities, such as traffic, conversions, or revenue.
  3. Compile Data: Gather accurate and up-to-date data from sources like Google Analytics and Search Console.
  4. Craft Visual Representations: Create charts, graphs, and visuals that present data visually appealing and easily understood.
  5. Highlight Before and After: Utilize “before and after” snapshots to showcase the transformative impact of SEO efforts.
  6. Include Case Studies: Incorporate real-life success stories that illustrate the positive outcomes of effective SEO implementation.
  7. Explain Methodology: Provide a brief overview of the SEO strategies employed to achieve the presented results.
  8. Emphasize ROI: Calculate and showcase the return on investment generated by improved SEO performance.
  9. Address Common Concerns: Anticipate and address stakeholders’ doubts or misconceptions about the data.
  10. Connect to Business Goals: Clearly demonstrate how SEO data aligns with broader business objectives, such as revenue growth or brand visibility.
  11. Use Comparisons: To highlight achievements, compare your organization’s SEO performance with industry benchmarks.
  12. Tell a Compelling Story: Craft a narrative around the data to engage stakeholders and make the information memorable.
  13. Keep it Concise: Present data concisely, focusing on the most relevant and impactful points.
  14. Use Visual Aids: Utilize visuals to simplify complex data and convey key insights.
  15. Practice Delivery: Practice your data presentation to ensure a confident and effective delivery.
  16. Invite Questions: Encourage stakeholders to ask questions and discuss the presented data.
  17. Provide Actionable Insights: Offer actionable insights based on the data to demonstrate your expertise.
  18. Address Potential Concerns: Preemptively address potential concerns or skepticism about the data’s accuracy or relevance.
  19. Connect with Stakeholder Goals: Clearly articulate how the presented data aligns with each stakeholder’s specific goals.
  20. Open Channels for Continued Discussion: Keep channels of communication open for ongoing discussions about SEO progress and its impact.

By mastering the art of data presentation, you can effectively gain SEO buy-in and secure the support needed to drive successful optimization initiatives. Through tailored visuals, compelling narratives, and tangible results, you can showcase the value of SEO and ensure its alignment with business objectives.

This article was updated on December 19, 2023.   

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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4 Replies to “6 Practical Ways to Get Buy-In for SEO”

SEO is the key for all the business success. I implement all of your SEO tactics for my blog. Keep it up.

Awesome writeup Bruce. “Dispel Myths” idea is gold!

SEO has become very significant nowadays

Good point about education. The main cause of later problems with the client is certainly the lack of client education at the very beginning of the cooperation. Not always the person who buys SEO from us is an experienced marketer or a person who knows the secrets of SEO, they are often people who hear about SEO for the first time.


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