Clients and Colleagues Not Sold on SEO? What You Can Do

February 15, 2023
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Misalignment is a common sticking point in cross-team collaborations. Though you and your colleagues might have the same overarching goal—to increase the company’s bottom line—you might have different opinions and practices for getting there.

What’s more, something you deem crucial might not be that important to other departments, so they wouldn’t understand the value of including it in the strategy. One example is search engine optimization. 

Many SEO professionals have this concern. Often, colleagues and clients would suggest a course of action that throws a monkey wrench into their optimization efforts. Sometimes, the parties in question won’t even consult them and implement changes—leaving the SEOs wondering about the dip in their website’s traffic!

Sometimes, for smaller businesses, the problem is hesitation to invest in digital marketing. For example, a business owner might agree to set up a social media account and hire someone to run it but shy away from creating a website outside the platform. Here are tips for convincing people why their website needs search optimization.

Know Why There’s Pushback

It’s safe to assume that nearly everyone who holds down a regular job wants to do well at it. You wouldn’t go through the trouble of finding a vacancy and applying for it if you didn’t think the job description suits your skills.

So, you could assume that people you work with want to do the right thing. If something goes awry with your digital marketing strategy, it’s safe to assume that it’s not because of idleness or malice.

If you don’t have an SEO plan yet, identify who your collaborators are—do you have designers, IT professionals, or fellow marketers who can help you get your strategy off the ground? Unless you have unlimited time, you’re better off getting a team together or hiring an SEO service provider.

Sometimes, there is a plan in place, but you don’t see success with it. Turning to other departments could help. For example, you could involve your sales team—call them up and note the questions they ask about the product, your industry, or the website. 

Ask them what questions customers raise with them during calls and what feedback they’ve received about your offerings.

When you collect this kind of data, you can tweak your content plan to include stories and posts that address customers’ concerns or reinforce the positive notions they have about your brand. 

As for clients or prospects hesitant to invest in SEO, you can help them see its value by providing a list of benefits you get from optimizing your website. Reassure them that you’ll be there for each step, from planning to publishing.

Dispel Misconceptions

It can be challenging to determine what works and what doesn’t in SEO. For one, you don’t see results from your efforts right away—it takes a while for keywords to rank, and search engines like Google are constantly changing their ranking systems and algorithms.

Even the most experienced SEO professional will not know everything about search optimization, so it’s even more likely for business owners and non-SEO marketers to succumb to bad advice.

One reason your team or client might be hesitating to go with your strategy is that they’ve received advice to the contrary. Maybe they have a friend, an associate, or someone close to them who’s given their two cents about SEO, so now that’s what they believe. If this is the case, it is up to you to prove your authoritativeness.

Present case studies or detailed breakdowns which show your strategy in action and highlight what you do to make it work. You need to dispel myths they believe about SEO.

Be Ready to Educate

When you do manage to erase people’s misconceptions, be willing to teach them what they should (and want) to know about search engine optimization. Be patient when you do—it’s easy for SEOs to forget that not everyone knows how content optimization works.

Don’t leave details out. For example, instead of discussing how to incorporate keywords and format an article, you could start with how SEO works and what algorithms focus on. That way, when the discussion on keywords and formatting comes, the audience already understands why these things are necessary. 

Of course, you have to tailor your discussion depending on the person. You won’t have to get into the details of composing for SEO if you’re speaking with executives. Conversely, the finer points are crucial if you’re speaking with your clients’ in-house marketing team.

Have Internal Champions

It’s almost always easier to get initiatives off the ground if you have leadership buy-in. When there are internal champions for a method or practice, it will likely succeed. If people in an organization are reluctant to adopt SEO, find someone receptive to it. This person should be able to help you navigate roadblocks and pushback to your proposals.

Focus on Winning

The most important thing to do is convince people how SEO affects the bottom line. Beyond everything else, this is the metric everyone cares about, from the business owner to the newest intern. When convincing people about the benefits of SEO, you need to toot your horn.

Celebrate your wins once in a while—no one else will do that for you. If you see early results from your work, tell clients and executives about it. At times, people will overlook gains, so highlight them and explain how they contribute to the company’s long-term growth.

Also, don’t just push for your success. Make life easy for your colleagues, clients, and superiors as well. For example, if you always request site changes without offering any solutions, people will learn to avoid your messages and calls.

When you work, you have to lift everyone whose work overlaps with yours. Success is always better when you share it with your team!


Internal roadblocks like these can be tricky to resolve, and an SEO professional should handle them well. It is because you won’t be successful at search optimization unless you implement your strategy, and that requires buy-in from your clients and everyone on your team.

At Ranked, we equip our clients and agency partners with everything they need to build a lasting online presence. We take care of everything from content planning to analytics and reporting—book a call with the team or activate your free trial today!