Awful similes are like fingers. When they’re anywhere near your eyes, you want to wince or pull back.

For example, if you were reading a novel and the author compared someone’s breasts to bronzed mangoes, you might start thinking you’ve accidentally picked up a Harlequin romance. Something like that takes you out of the narrative.

Similarly, if you’re trying to explain what an SEO marketer does, you’ll have people falling asleep or wincing with the wrong metaphors.

It’s difficult to explain to just anyone what SEO is. I’m gonna try to give you a few easy ways out. Here are some similes that might be helpful when explaining SEO.

1. SEO is Like a Good Mystery

Imagine you’re a detective attempting to solve a crime. What do you need to do? Evaluate patterns, research past behavior, and predict future behavior.

An SEO does the same thing. They evaluate past keyword and traffic patterns on yours and other websites. They research the past behavior of Google and other search engines. And lastly, they try to predict what strategies might be useful for future growth.

When something blows up in your SEO strategy due to an algorithm update, they go back and figure out what the culprit is and try to bag it and tag it.

2. SEO is Like Investing in The Stock Market

SEO: This service will bring you huge ROI

Client Two Weeks Later: I’ve not gotten any ROI

We’re used to being able to have packages on our door step one to two days after we order. We can pop something in the microwave and eat it in less than five minutes.

Most things in our contemporary world provide almost instant results. And if you get clients who’ve run marketing campaigns that worked, they’re used to seeing results quickly.

Stock portfolios are probably one of the few things in this world like SEO. When you create an investment portfolio, you’re putting your money in for a long-term investment. You’re investing in multiple stocks betting that over time the majority of those stocks will grow.

There will be dips in price. Some stocks could tank. But overall, your portfolio will return on your investment.

SEO is similar. If you’re wise about what keywords you choose, how you craft your content, how you build your network of links, etc, you’ll eventually see more organic traffic.

You can’t panic when Google changes something. You might have to shift certain resources throughout. But if you stay steady on the course, you’ll increase your traffic and thus your revenue.

3. SEO is Like a Chocolate Chip Cookie

SEO isn’t just one service. It’s a conglomeration of services mashed into one.

A chocolate chip cookie isn’t one ingredient. It’s multiple ingredients.

You must combine salt, butter, flour, baking powder, vanilla, egg, sugar, and chocolate chips. If you get your portions right, you’ll end up with the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Get the portions wrong and it could end up tasting like a salted chocolate egg butter thing.

In SEO, you need link-building, content creation, keyword research, on-page metrics, etc. If you get the proportions right, you’ll see your organic traffic go up. You’ll increase your revenue. You’ll have stellar content that ranks.

Get your proportions wrong or use bad ingredients and you’ll tank your SERPs, have zero traffic, and possible be forced to close your business.

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.