“I’m an SEO Specialist.”
If I get a dollar for every time I have that small talk, I’d probably be on my way to being a millionaire right now.
Being an SEO Specialist is not as easy as saying “I’m a doctor” or “I’m a teacher”, jobs that are pretty straightforward and self-explanatory. It takes more effort and time to describe the nature of this job to non-SEO people. In fact, it would probably be easier if we just answer “Google it” (hoping that they know what Google is).
In a situation where such kind of response won’t be appropriate, like family gatherings where you have to be at your best behavior at all times because Mom’s watching your every move, you have no choice but take a deep breath and make that long speech on what you do for a living.
Here are a few suggestions on how to describe your job to non-SEO people:
1. I Promote Websites
“You know when you Google something and a list of websites appear? I work on getting my client’s website to appear on the top of that list.”
The problem is, the more you describe SEO services, the more complicated it sounds to a normal person, and the more follow up questions you get. For me, I try to describe it as simple as I can or else I’ll just be getting blank stares with a tumbleweed rolling by. The challenge is to not use the usual SEO jargons, such as page rank, anchor text, back links, crawling -- oh no, the last thing you want to happen is to make your friends' noses bleed!
So, just say that, as an SEO specialist, you make websites more visible to people, keeping it searchable and ranked in Google (don't even mention Yahoo! and Bing anymore if you want to end the discussion and move to other normal topics). You can also say that you use Facebook and Twitter to promote websites, but only when absolutely necessary!
2. I Major in Excel Spreadsheets
“I keep track of my client’s website’s statistics. How many people have visited the site, which pages they viewed, where they are coming from, etc.”
As an SEO specialist, a big chunk of our daily tasks involves monitoring website statistics, checking site rankings, creating reports and keyword analyses--all of these done on Excel. That's right, Excel is every SEO’s best friend. I cannot even imagine how life would be like without this nifty tool! So just talk about Excel instead of SEO. I'm sure you'll even get your family to start talking about Excel, and how it makes their lives easier too.
3. I Work for Google
“I don’t really work for Google. Ok, fine, I work for Google.”
Ok, this is a very common misconception. How many times have your family and friends mistaken you to be working for Google? While I can only wish to set foot on The Googleplex, I sometimes just leave my family to think that I work for Google. It’s not that I’m lying. After all, I do work on Google. With all the Google products I have to use every day to do my job (Google Analytics, Google Docs, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search, Google Keyword Planner, Google Plus, Google Insights, etc), I might as well work for Google right?
4.I’m an Online Researcher
“I’m like Sherlock Holmes and my mind palace is Google.”
The fun part about being in this industry is that you know how to search the web better. You know how to use Google Operators when you need to find something quick. A “Researcher”, just like a “Doctor” or a “Writer”, is also more self-explanatory than saying you’re an SEO. Alas, you can be that person in the family who is the “expert” at finding stuff in the web, because essentially, that’s part of our jobs as SEOs too.
How about you? How do you describe your SEO job to your non-SEO family and friends? Share in the comments and let's help each other make up stories about how awesome our job is!