SEOs: How To Prove Your Value to People Who Matter

In the SEO business, at times proving success and past ‘wins’ can be a very intangible art that comes across to higher ups as total black magic. Whether you are trying to win over your boss or client to buy in on your new idea, seeking out a raise at your 9-5 job or winning over the budget from a new client, getting them to see the end goal of making more money can be tough.

I have thought through this a bit and have some experiences that I thought I would share as it has come up quite a bit recently for me in running a boutique search agency. I have had to adjust the need to show value as the people who want to know my value have changed in use cases.

Use Cases:

There are a couple use cases I have defined below as each situation requires a different, personalized tactic.

1) TRUST: You have the trust and backend support from the person you are trying to show value to so you don’t need to focus on the past, they more than likely already understand what you are capable of and what you have done.

2) SEEKER: You must explain to a potential Client or Employer that you are worth their budget. They have little to no understanding of what you have done outside of what you portray online or via resumes.


Things are a lot easier first off when you have someones trust. Trust comes over time and takes years to build up. You can help speed up the process of building trust with solid KPI reporting and consistently hitting your deadlines. The more you under sell yourself, and accurately report on a consistent basis the better your odds of delivering and showing value.

You are more than a person sitting on the computer firing away emails all day long. You are helping build equity into an entity that will hopefully be around a long time, an entity that will be able to overcome the hardships or turbulence that is set forth by external economic stipulations.

Summary of showing value when you have Trust:

  • Consistently hit deadlines
  • Don’t over-hype your day to day activities, under sell yourself
  • Consistently report Quantitative AND Qualitative value time permitting
  • Overall, however, focus less on reporting and more on generating results


This is where the approach can differ, significantly. Enterprise SaaS SEO tool vendors tell you to plug into their technology to be able to pop off potential value reports with the click of a button for clients to drool over. However, I like to approach it a bit more manual and sell Transparency first and foremost, before any sort of tangible value is discussed.

Furthermore, coming out and blatantly stating that you have made other guys rich, doesn’t work. This is SEO – people burn and churn all day long in our industry and at this point most seekers have heard it all and don’t want to hear some wild story about how a website increased traffic levels by 9000%. From 10 – 9010 visitors a month, you know the part you didn’t tell them because you lacked Transparency.

Trying to win trust quickly from seekers is similar in nature to how you portray value to people who trust you, it should just be much more optimized and refined.

Summary of showing value to Seekers:

  • Sell Transparency first and foremost
  • Provide details to how you helped a business grow, not just reports on traffic or number of IBL.
  • Cater your proof of work to their industry or vertical
  • Paint an easier to read story at the beginning until you both can read between the lines. Dumb things down as much as possible and talk about the bottom line growth you have attributed to similar situations, that way the seeker can relate.

These are my thoughts and as such are not the end all on this subject. I am curious, how do you state your worth in a tired industry such as SEO?