Introducing Non-Specialists to SEO Using the Librarian Analogy

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A new article on Search Engine Journal says that using an analogy in your SEO training can be a powerful teaching tool. Learn how it can help unlock the SEO potential of non-specialists.

Educating non-specialists so they are able to identify the ways in which SEO intersects with their own roles is an essential part of developing any SEO program. A basic understanding of how search engines work and the factors that influence ranking can enable them to consider the opportunities and risks their work presents. However, training other teams on SEO can produce mixed results. This article explores an analogy and way of framing your SEO educational efforts that can help your non-SEO colleagues better retain search-related knowledge, understand the context of your SEO efforts, and be better allies to your program as a whole:

Google, the Librarian

Functionally, the role that Google performs is incredibly similar to that of a librarian. They both curate an index of information and resources. And when people come to them with questions or topics, they use their knowledge of that index, as well as their experience of helping previous people, to suggest a selection of resources that might contain the content being sought.

The author says that explaining the concept in this way performs two important functions:

  • It uses the framework of libraries to set the foundation for the rest of the SEO training.
  • It centers the person with the query, not the search engine.

The author also says that the second point is vital. It means you’re building SEO knowledge on a foundation of “doing what’s best for the user” and not “ticking arbitrary boxes for an algorithm” – an unhelpful perception borne of after-the-fact interference and focus on technicalities. With the Google librarian context set, you can now develop the metaphor further and start talking about the factors that influence which resources are chosen for the user.

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