Walk the SEO walk, don’t talk the SEO talk

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AdWords, bots, conversion rates, directories, eCommerce, feeds, gateways, HTML, impressions, keywords, link building, meta data, nofollows, organic, pagerank, redirects, trust rank, URLs and white hats.

If you understood all of those words and phrases, congratulations, you probably work in digital marketing. If they looked like a foreign language, then you’re everybody else.

There’s a problem here.

Anybody who works in a vaguely technical field is going to end up using industry-specific phrases. They’re lexical shortcuts. It means we can just say ‘link building’, instead of ‘cultivating a network of inbound links in order to improve a site’s rankings’.

Similarly, surgeons say ‘cabbage’ (CABG) instead of ‘coronary artery bypass graft’. Structural engineers say ‘beam-column’ instead of ‘a structural item designed to support loads transverse and parallel to the longitudinal axis’.

As long as SEO and PPC jargon’s used in-house, it’s fine. It serves a purpose. But when they’re thrown into conversations with clients, that’s when problems can start.

But it can be all too easy to slip into using the words we’re familiar with. So salespeople can be heard talking excitedly on the phone to prospective clients about the need to build links and the problems with their site’s metadata and somanybrokenlinksandbadredirectsandIreallyneedaglassofwater.

Now imagine that the person on the other end of the phone is completely new to SEO. All they want to do is, quite simply, increase their online visibility, and bag more leads or sales.

This could go one of two ways. Either the prospective client thinks ‘this is all too much information to bear’, makes their excuses and hangs up. Or – and this is arguably worse – is blinded by jargon and signs up to services that they don’t understand, want or need.

Obviously, this could cause problems for both parties further down the line.

The answer? Good communication. Everyone in an Internet marketing agency has to make an effort to communicate with clients using everyday language. This applies to all communication channels. No matter if it’s read, spoken or sent via semaphore, jargon-rich language is inherently exclusive and potentially intimidating.

For those that live and breathe this terminology, it can be difficult to let go. But it’s important to keep the ultimate goal in mind. There are a lot of processes involved in climbing the SERPs (search engine result pages), but the processes are less important to clients than results.

When an industry-specific phrase can’t be avoided, it’s important to make sure it’s adequately explained.

This approach builds trust, and ensures that both agency and clients are clear on strategies and expectations.


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