Do Business Leaders Need to Learn SEO Basics?

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 07, 2012

Even if you’ve hired an external company to manage your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), as a business leader you should still learn some of the basic tenets and techniques of SEO. There are several reasons why – just to name a few:

  • You need to understand the SEO tactics the SEO professional is recommending so you can make sure they’re right for your site, in line with industry regulations, etc. It also helps to understand SEO lingo so you can translate it into regular English for your less SEO-savvy colleagues that aren’t entirely on board with your website optimization projects.
  • When you’re hiring an SEO company or considering an SEO proposal, it’s important to understand the difference between above-board SEO tactics and shady ones that might get your website banned from the very search engines where you’re trying to improve your rankings.
  • Chances are, your SEO consultant will charge for time spent answering your questions. If keeping those hours and costs down is a consideration, you can educate yourself about SEO in a way that helps you understand and feel comfortable with the SEO tactics your consultant uses.
  • And finally, you need to understand what you’re paying for and what it is that you want to achieve with your SEO campaign – even above and beyond the goal of higher search engine rankings – so you can make sure you get it! You’ll learn the many ways that effective SEO techniques can make your website more streamlined, easier to navigate, and more informative.

As a business leader, how do you get started learning about SEO? There is plenty of information out there. Ask an SEO professional you trust for recommendations on books or websites to read, or pay for an hour of your SEO consultant’s time and use that hour for an intensive in-house SEO training session.

And one way to learn a lot about SEO from the search engine’s perspective is to browse the information and webmaster guidelines in Google’s Webmaster Tools. There, you’ll quickly learn which SEO techniques are frowned upon by Google (and the other big search engines).

Learning basic search engine optimization terms, concepts and techniques is not difficult. It does require a bit of a time investment at the front end, but it can have a big payoff. It’s worth doing just to know whether your SEO consultant is using effective techniques, or using SEO tactics that are less-than-desirable. You’ll know what you’re paying for and can request information about other SEO techniques that may not be in your proposal.

And if you haven’t hired a professional SEO company yet and are exploring your options, we’ve already done some of the research for you! We’ve used a scoring system that factors in several different data points to compile a list of the Top 50 SEO companies. This list can help you find the SEO consultant that’s right for your business’ needs.

But even if you hire an SEO company from the top of the list, you should still take the time to learn a little about SEO. It’s not as difficult as some in the SEO community make it out to be, and what you learn