Depending on your organization’s organic search marketing maturity model a large part of an in-house SEO’s role  includes developing pitches to persuade stakeholders to invest budget and resources to address SEO recommendations.

If your organization is in the Intermittent or Engaged stage of the SEO maturity model, you are also likely to come across road blocks on  your quest to implementing your SEO strategy.

Much like a sales executive, an in-house SEO will face “no” in many forms. Some common forms of “no” are:

  • Lack of budget or resource bandwidth.
  • Squeezed out of scope. Budget or resources have been allocated to other website features or promotional activities.
  • An initial approval of the proposed recommendations but with stringent restrictions on how it can affect design or website architecture

So what is an SEO to do when you come across these scenarios?

Like a sales executive you address these objections and pursue it further. Breaking down the objections into the underlying issues.

Lack of Budget or Resources

Yes, it may be true that when taking this objection at face value, that your stakeholder may not have the budget or manpower to create a search engine friendly website. But much like a financial planner who has a client with a $1,200 annual Starbucks coffee habit that says they don’t have the $100/month to invest in their retirement, you can point out where they can realize savings to re-allocate that investment into something that can yield higher returns.

Squeezed Out of Scope

This pretty much boils down to prioritization & valuation. One area of the business (or website) is being valued much higher than the SEO recommendations that have been proposed. And in some cases rightly so. It’s not always all about SEO you know! You still have to create a compelling website.

Your job is to put this prioritization in context and provide a crystal clear understanding of what your stakeholders are gaining vs what they are giving up. No magic bullet here. Just plain ROI analysis. What can help in this situation is to revisit your web metrics to determine if the feature that squeezed out SEO has been attempted before and to see how that impacted the business in the past.

Initial Approval with Stringent Restrictions

You may have come across this before. Yes, they agree with the SEO recommendations and the value it will bring, as long as it doesn’t change anything on the website. This type of speed bump is a signal that there is an opportunity to provide more training and promotion of what SEO is and why you are making certain recommendations. It boils down to getting back to basics and educating your stakeholders on the fundamentals of search engine technology and optimization so they can put  your recommendations in context. It doesn’t have to be an overly technical session. But just enough so they can get the grasp of why you are making recommendations and the impact it will have on their business.

With each objection is an opportunity to educate. Rarely have I come across a situation where a stakeholder doesn’t understand the concept that search engines are a major traffic channel. Faced with competing priorities, tight budgets and internal goals it’s easy to understand the challenge that many executives face when they are in these scenarios. But with the intent to collaborate and evolve, if you’re persistent and compelling enough, eventually those “no’s” will turn to “yes’s”.

Hey there, I'm Marc!

I'm the Director of Growth Channels @Hootsuite. I've worked in digital marketing since 2000 for agencies, startups and companies like Electronic Arts & SAP. Thanks for checking out my site where I share digital marketing strategies on how to increase website traffic and generate more revenue.

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