Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can sometimes be a difficult topic to discuss with our prospects and clients because everyone is at a different level of understanding or experience with marketing their business online. “Dumbing it down” as much as possible for individuals with less experience is always an option, but we know that, usually, we are dealing with savvy businesspeople who already know their niche well and who most likely know a lot about sales and marketing in a general sense. It would be insulting to talk down to a potential client, so that’s why we chose a holistic approach to explaining the complicated intricacies of Internet marketing.

In the case that an individual does not like technology and couldn’t care less about how the Google algorithm works, we believe a better approach is just to make sure we don’t overuse industry jargon. There are many ways that we can explain how the search engines do their thing without using complicated terminology. Usually, we only need to remind the prospect or client of our main goal – increasing the visibility of their website in the search engines.

Over-complicating the explanation of search engine optimization tends to lead to confusion anyways. That’s why we walk every individual through the same explanation, no matter what they do or don’t already know. We don’t want people to walk away even more frustrated than they already are. Over-explaining things like latent semantic indexing, social bookmarking, or inbound “nofollow” links just gets peoples’ minds spinning. When we meet with a potential customer for the first time we first listen to what it is that they feel they need or want. Then, we walk through a simple presentation to ensure we are all on the same page about how it all works.

We find it best to explain things in enough detail that the prospect feels at ease and to the point that trust is built. Once a prospect sees that we are experienced in the field of Internet marketing and sees our high level of professionalism, it’s really just a matter of identifying the problem (low rankings in Google, for example) and suggesting a solution (writing and distributing content and building links to their website).

Occasionally we’ll have an existing client for whom we’ve already completed web design or web development. In this case, we might suggest that they read the Beginner’s Guide to SEO by SEOmoz so they can learn more in depth how to make the best out of their existing website. In all, it comes down to education. If a client understands what they are buying, the SEO project will have a higher chance of success in the long term.