SEO is the largest driver of traffic to websites. For an enterprise business, an SEO program is an absolute necessity. Your competition is doing it, and those that aren’t soon will be.
A search engine optimization strategy is the only way to outperform your competition organically. That means that when people search for your products or services online, they find you first. This guide will help you get started with an enterprise SEO program.
How In-House & External SEO Consultants Work Together
Most large businesses have both in-house and external consultants working on their SEO program. The in-house SEO is employed by the company and, generally, works in the office. The external consultant is an individual or SEO agency that works with multiple clients. They each play different roles that work towards a common goal.
The Benefits of External SEO
Hiring outside SEO help generally means bringing in a lot more expertise and experience. Additionally, they have more SEO resources and tools available.
The Benefits of In-House SEO
An in-house SEO manager sole responsibility is to your company. They move things along faster since they know the internal workings and regulations.
External & Internal SEO Work Towards a Common Goal
The external SEO service validates the in-house manager. They also drive strategy & vision. The in-house manager uses their familiarity with the enterprise to navigate the internal organization & publishing process. For large enterprises, this combo helps achieve the best SEO more efficiently.
Minimize Levels Of Approval – Simplify The Process
Any large company has multiple levels of submission and approval. To create an efficient SEO plan for enterprise you should minimize the number of people and levels that SEO content & decisions must go through.
Create A Decision Maker
Pick one person to be the main point of contact & the decision maker for SEO. This will help to move projects along faster and without too much interference.
A common SEO mistake large enterprises experience is having too many levels of approval for content. This results in changes to the content that render it less focused and effective for SEO. And a much longer publishing process. Having one decision maker reduces both these problems.
Establish What Needs Approval
Many large enterprises require approval of SEO content before publishing. This can be an important step in quality assurance and in creating peace of mind for the enterprise. However, it can be overdone.
Technical SEO elements, like meta descriptions and URL slugs, may not be necessary to review. If you want to have assurance of URL slugs, you can establish naming conventions for the slugs early in the engagement. For example, a naming convention for blog URL slugs could be /blog_Topic_April_2017.
Any mandatories for content should be established early in the SEO engagement. This will reduce back and forth between the SEO content team and the decision maker. This could include specific phrasing required for branding, colours to be used in graphs or charts, and approved image styles.
Big business generates big data. As valuable as all this data is, it can be a huge burden if it is not properly managed from the get go. Data management is a major challenge faced by large enterprises.
Data management should be put in place before beginning the SEO program. Setting up goals and tracking through Analytics and data gathering software is necessary for organization and leveraging data.
This may take longer to establish, but it is worthwhile. The organization will save time and prevent confusion in the long run. As well, properly managed data will inform SEO content & strategy, helping to run an effective campaign faster.
Once the basics & baseline metrics are established, it is important to have an ongoing data management plan. This can include site traffic analysis, paid search reports, keyword reports, or sales numbers. A good practice with this is to have a predetermined touchpoint for these reports, ex. once per month.
These reports help both the business and the SEO team. The business gets to see what is being done for them, how the program is progressing, and see the value the program adds. The SEO team uses this information to continually improve the program, based on real, up-to-date, results.
Organization of Content
The organization of SEO content is a major obstacle for large enterprises. This mostly comes down to the sheer quantity of content that has been or will be, produced. The main struggles from this are detection of content, developing a strong link profile, and duplicate content & tagging.
Often larger and older sites are difficult for search engines, like Google, to read if they have not been set up with search engines in mind. If the site is not being read properly by search engines it will not get the most out of its SEO, and may even be penalized.
One of the most important steps to prevent or rectify this situation is to create and submit XML sitemap. The sitemap will allow search engines to read your site the way you intend it to be viewed.
Many large sites struggle to build a strong link profile. It is common for all interlinking to be going to only one or two pages. Typically, the contact page and home page. While this may be good for directing customers, it does not look good to search engines and can hurt your SEO performance.
Dealing with duplicate content can be a lot more work for a company that is running a content program, or has in the past. If duplicate content has not been addressed throughout the course of these content programs it is likely that you are receiving a negative SEO score.
When beginning a new SEO program, this is one of the elements that should be addressed early on. Cleaning up duplicate content will remove penalties. And is likely see an increase in rank much faster. Enterprise SEO typically taking longer to yield significant results. So this is definitely an important step to help show progress
Time: Enterprise SEO Takes Longer
You will need to prepare to be patient. Creating an effective SEO program for enterprise isn’t just a time consuming process. It also takes longer to produce tangible results. For SMB and SME SEO programs it often takes at least 3 months to start showing the effects. A large enterprise may take 6 months, or even a year to really take off.
Part of the reason for the longer time to start showing results is a longer technical SEO audit process. Having large volumes of content and pages often means having a lot of technical errors to fix. This can be time-consuming for a large enterprise. But it is a very important process to ensure the success of your SEO campaign.
Fixing errors found in the SEO audit will correct existing penalties from search engines and will help to prevent future ones. Resolving these penalties will allow you to compete effectively in the search market.
Having to go through multiple levels of approval is another reason that enterprise SEO programs can take longer to get off the ground. The multiple levels, slow down the process of getting content published. Once again, we stress the importance of assigning one decision maker to help speed up the process.
Focus Enterprise SEO On User Experience
The trend going forward with how search engines rank content is user-centric. As a general rule, it is better to focus on writing content with a bigger focus on user experience than on keywords. There are two main reasons for this.
The first is that search engines are getting better at deriving meaning from content. They are able to identify the topics and pull keywords and synonyms to better synch the user’s search query to the results shown. Overuse of keywords, or poor keyword insertion, can end up getting a spammy appearance. Which results in penalization.
The second is that search engines are putting a greater emphasis on user engagement metrics. Your search ranking is affected by how many users view your page, as well as how they interact with it. Spending more time on page, clicking through to read more pages, and sharing the page, are all positive forms of engagement improve search performance. These are all indicators of a good user experience.
Keywords, of course, are still a very important part of SEO performance. However, they need to be well utilized and should feel organic when used in content pieces. A large enterprise has an advantage in that they are able to produce large volumes of content. So they have more opportunity to rank on keywords. As a result, you can afford to put a stronger focus on user experience and use a lower keyword volume.
Creating Content For Enterprise SEO
The sections up to this point have all lead up to this. The actual creation of new SEO content. Creating high-performance enterprise SEO content requires a solid understanding of existing content, site structure, and your audience.
Keep Existing SEO Content Alive
A knowledge of site content and site structure will help to keep past articles alive. So they can keep benefitting your site. Two of the major forces to draw SEO juice from past content are content optimization and interlinking.
Content optimization is returning to old content and improving or updating the content. Oftentimes it is more beneficial to go back and add to a past post rather than creating a new post altogether. This allows you to leverage existing content as well as page age and authority. The best search engine optimization services offer programs that contain a split of optimization and new content creation.
Interlinking is putting links into posts that lead to other pages or areas on your site. There are three advantages to this.
- Improved navigation, directing users where you want them to go next.
- Improved SEO score of linked page.
- Gaining SEO value from link anchor text.
To be successful with interlinking you need the link and anchor text to be relevant and useful in the context of where they are used.
Take advantage of interlinking to breathe new life into old or evergreen content. The linked content benefits from this link twice. First from receiving the link. And then from the added readership resulting from the link. With enterprise content, the higher readership amplifies this effect.
Create Unique Content
As a rule, unique content performs better. Smaller companies often put a large focus on scraping content for their SEO strategies. This is because they do not have the same advantages as large enterprises.
For one, they often have much tighter time constraints for writing their content. Creating new, unique content is much more time consuming than scraping content. As well, they do not enjoy the same level of authority as a large company. People put more trust into a company with a brand they recognize, and are far more likely to share content. The most likely content to be shared is unique and useful.
Unique content provides better engagement, draws new readers, and performs better overall.
This content doesn’t have to be limited to standard blog posts. Enterprises usually have the budget to create video content, and this should be taken advantage of. Video gets preferential treatment from search engines and gets more engagement from viewers. Consider how your enterprise might best represent themselves through video content.
Getting The Content Out There
With the content created, all that’s left is getting it out there. Share links to your content in your newsletters, emails, and social media feeds. Create a link building campaign. A good link building campaign drives more readers as well as improving your sites over SEO performance.
Get Your Enterprise SEO Program Started Today
Creating an enterprise level SEO program is a big, but worthwhile task. SEO is the largest driver of traffic to websites the biggest generator of engagement and builds consumer trust. With almost all readers visiting only the first three organic search results, it is an absolute must to be ranking on important keywords and phrases.
The effects of SEO are long lasting and compounding. Contact Pedestal to start your enterprise SEO program today. We will develop a strategy and plan specific to your enterprise needs.