How to talk about SEO to Google

by Ruud Hein February 19th, 2008 

Have you ever tried to talk shop with a family member? At a birthday party?

1543516886_af959ae929_m "So", he says with a glass of wine in hand, cheeks getting a bit redder already, "what do you do? Wasn't it something with computers, all that Google stuff and so on?"

"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.

"Ass IO?"

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.

Great.

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."

Or:

"I help to make it so Google knows what a web site is about."

Right?

OK.

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.

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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.

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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3 Responses to “How to talk about SEO to Google”

  1. YEP, I've had those conversations with friends, and relatives.
    they say 'So, what do you do for a living? (I was a musican, and I'd tell them I played guitar,then they would say "Yea, but what do you do for a living?)
    So now I tell them I do computer work for the secret service.
    When they ask anything farther I tell them, "It's a secret,I can't tell you HA,HA,HA!
    Todd

  2. That's my post of the day. When ever I talk to old colleagues or friends I just tell them I make sites rank higher in google. It seems to stop them asking questions.

  3. I also had those experiences when they my family or friends ask me what I do. It's just so hard to explain to them what SEO really means, etc…anyways this article is great and how you explained it in easy to understand way..^^..and also the Google and "dumber friend" is also funny..^^