Have you ever tried to talk shop with a family member? At a birthday party?
"I do SEO", and you realize you made your first mistake. Mentally you slap your forehead as your conversation partner goes into deep pensive mode.
Something does not compute.
"Search engine optimization. I optimize web sites for search engines."
You're not making this either any better or easier on yourself, don't you? What's your problem? Are you into mental pain or something?
Simple Clarity Before Perfect Honesty
Yes. Yes, I know. You do search engine optimization, although at times you wonder if it isn't "just" SEM but then a left-handed side branch of that, and somewhere in the new millennium you too started calling it search engine usability or whatever works best for you.
But, as we say here in Quebec, that's cloak. It's like watching Ingmar Bergman movies backwards. Without sound. Or picture.
Why not help people understand you?
"When you search on Google for something, I help Google find the sites they show you."
"I help to make it so Google knows what a web site is about."
Now that you know how to talk to your friends about Google, you know how to talk to Google. Because really, Google is just your friend — only dumber.
What you need to do is switch off images and then ask a kid what a page is about. If it isn't painfully clear, if it has corp-speak, buzz words or an "well, everybody should know that" level of talking about a subject chances are the kid will not say but guess.
"Erm…. is it about… uh…. M&M's? …. Can I go now, you're scaring me — your computer doesn't even have images…. freak…"
And then you know you're wrong. That you have to go back and make it painfully clear.
So then you sit there again and you go, OK, title. "How To Talk About SEO & Google". There, see, that's much clearer already. Now… No, images don't count, you need text…. OK, perfect, there you go; you're telling it like it is. Can I get an amen! brother?! And yes — there is that link, that amen, that vote, that confirmation.
It's amazing but when you bend your knees a bit and come down to Google's level there's so much you can explain it.
Turns out you thought Google was complicated the same way your friends think your job is.