On the surface, enterprise SEO isn’t all that different from your everyday SEO campaign. You need to create compelling content, earn quality links, perform keyword research, and integrate your campaign alongside complementary marketing channels. However, when it comes to SEO campaigns for larger, more complex organizations, things can get tricky.
In this episode of The Marketing Remix, “WTF is Enterprise SEO?,” Monique Pouget, Producer, and Ross Briggs, SEO Manager at Red Door Interactive, break down the differences between big (enterprise) SEO and small (traditional) SEO, the marketing agency’s role, and more.
What are some fundamental differences between "enterprise" SEO vs typical SEO?
At a very basic level, a big differentiator is what success looks like. For a small site or a brand that's not very well-known, an increase in traffic can indicate that we're doing our job right. If traffic's down, we know that something's wrong. But on an enterprise level, where the brand is pretty well-known, there can be a shift in branded queries to the site that can be driven by other marketing channels, offline promotional activities, a newsworthy event that happens, etc. So, it's not as simple as just looking at total organic traffic and determining whether we're winning or losing.
In terms of the complexity of an enterprise site, you're usually dealing with just a bigger, altogether more complex site, which means there is a lot more that could go wrong, so you have to monitor it from a health perspective. You're usually dealing with a lot bigger of an organization as well, so there might be a lot more stakeholders that you have to navigate through to get your SEO recommendations implemented. To really understand what’s going on, you typically need an expert in some enterprise level tools in order to be able to distill that down into simpler takeaways.
What should high level executives pay attention to in regards to Enterprise SEO recommendations?
Understanding what high level executives are the going to care about is really important. They don't necessarily care about traffic to a page or keyword rankings, but more of what the final business impact will be. From a CEO's perspective, what they can start to look at to determine whether they fall into the category of enterprise or the general SEO bucket is really just the complexity of operations and whether traffic is always 100% translating to that business impact, or whether they have to dig a little bit deeper to find that connection and the strategy that's going to get them to that business impact.
So, are there tools and technologies that are different from one place to another?
One thing that's exciting for us is the integration of machine learning into our SEO process. One way we're doing that is with a new, innovative tool called Market Brew, which is taking Google's RankBrain algorithm and sort of flipping it on its head. RankBrain is essentially adjusting algorithmic waiting factors on the fly for a given query. So, it's saying that for a search like “funny cat videos,” content may be more important than trustworthiness or authority, but for a financial services transaction, trustworthiness might be the most important factor. A tool like Market Brew can be an expensive investment for a company, but at that enterprise level, you can really see that value translating directly into revenue for the company.
To satisfy the intent-based search component, what sort of things do you need to deliver to the team that's executing on these deliverables?
We first determine the intent of the page and whether there is opportunity to recognize a different intent for the page. From there, we'd work with our client to collect the assets needed to give feedback on that page. Usually for us, this is in the form of a copy deck, where our SEO experts have provided feedback on potential page adjustments.
What does an SEO team for this look like? What kind of people?
I think the best part about Red Door is that we have different SEO experts that specialize in different things. There are certain people that are really technical and love to investigate, and then there are some people that are more on the earned side of things focused on content optimization, audience research, and what's really happening with the voice of the consumer.
What's one of the hardest ones issues you've been tackling lately for enterprise seo projects specifically?
For enterprise level SEO specifically, one challenge that we always run into and always need to find a plan to deal with or mitigate is just the ideation of a great SEO idea. The idea might work great for search engines or drive a lot of traffic, but may not work with the brand's requirements. So, whether that be brand voice constraints or a legal constraint, finding a way to still capture that traffic is an ongoing challenge. And then, just trying to make something work with existing enterprise systems. We recently ran into an issue with a client whose website is not mobile-friendly. We decided to roll out unbounce landing pages that could rank for mobile queries. It worked really, really well, but the issue was that it wasn't integrating within their system that handles data processing, and therefore it was a lot of manual work to process those leads. So, it can be the most successful SEO tactic in the world, but if it doesn't work for that specific organization, it's not going to be a success.
Why should an enterprise-level brand partner with an agency for SEO, instead of bringing (or keeping) that service in-house?
Our approach going into engagements with clients is really to take a look at what their internal team looks like, what resources they have at their disposal, what's already accounted for, and then what are the gaps that we might be able to fill in on our team? We really try to act as an extension of our client's SEO team, and where they have needs for extra capabilities, whether on the strategic or production side, we then attempt to fill in those gaps to make everything come together.
An agency can be really valuable because we're not just looking at one industry and understanding the SEO implications that are happening there, but seeing how that's affecting multiple different industries and clients, and then understanding the intent of Google making this change. Are they looking for something? Are they looking for better content, higher quality content? Are they looking for more authority? And having that sort of 10,000 foot view across multiple industries really helps to paint that picture and we can then relay those insights back to our client.
What do we do in terms of proactive communication? How do we maintain that feedback loop?
It really starts with planning the foundation of everything. We'll look at quarterly plans and annual plans, and even something like a MOSTT framework, where we're looking ahead to five years, so we're able to really align on those types of goals that are important to our clients, and then constantly re-prioritize as needed. It really starts with the planning, then putting the timelines and communication tools into place, providing frequent status updates, and then ensuring we implement repeatable processes.
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