SEO can be difficult to explain to people. To really understand it on an in-depth level, you need a mixture of technical and marketing knowledge. That said, it’s not stoichiometry. Getting people to wrap their heads around SEO on a high level shouldn’t be _that_ hard:
People use search to find information. If you increase your visibility in search, more people will find out about your business.
SEOs fall into a trap where we think SEO is a lot harder to explain to people than it actually is. (Many agencies would be screwed if their clients knew SEO so maybe this is intentional)
Instead of really educating people about SEO, we fall into far-fetched and corny analogies that actually make SEO more difficult to comprehend. Why talk about revenue/lead generation when you can swoop in with the “SEO is like heroin” pitch, right? One of the reasons SEO is viewed with such mysticism is because of how we talk about it to other people.
Part of being a good SEO is educating others. Teaching people about SEO is the only thing that will repair our reputation. If you work in the industry part of that burden is on you.
Next time you are speaking or writing about SEO, take the time to properly explain it instead of spinning the noun wheel and landing on Why SEO Like A Clarinet.
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