Enterprise companies are realizing that to be successful at SEO, they shouldn’t only be heavily focused on the technical stuff or at identifying opportunities for growth to build content around.
Companies know that they need people who can communicate to executives effectively as well as with a mix of teams (technical, creative, some who know SEO and some who have no clue), all in the same room at the same time.
In addition, companies are looking for more deeper-level analytical abilities with expectations of understanding SQL, large data sets, and issues that arise from dynamically built sites such as:
- Duplicate content.
- Thin content.
- Products or content coming and going.
- User-generated content on a massive scale.
Throughout my years working in enterprise-level organizations, there are four critical aspects of SEO to balance in order for SEO to be successful.
These are the four pillars of SEO within an enterprise organization.
1. SEO Mitigation: Error Management & Technical SEO
I use the word “mitigation” as I have found that a good percentage of an SEO manager’s time in larger organizations is spent identifying issues after a project has been launched.
For instance, having to go back to the engineering teams and request that bugs be filed to make the necessary corrections.
If only the issues had been identified before the launch, then the company could have saved time, effort, and money.
The SEO responsible for mitigation works with the engineering teams as well as project and product managers during the indoctrination of a project and remains involved.
Education is also key as those involved understand the nuances of SEO enough to either ask questions before making decisions or make the decisions themselves, saving the company the time and effort in the long term.
2. SEO Analysis/Reporting: Calculating Assumptions & Reporting on Successes
Every company needs to understand how much SEO plays a part in key performance indicators like traffic and revenue.
When it comes to reporting, there are complexities to SEO that other channels don’t have.
Google does not provide referring keywords to a site from organic search like they do for paid search, which makes reporting difficult as data scientists and analytics experts need to stitch data from Google Search Console and other analytics reporting tools to complete the story.
Understanding that organic traffic from Google is x percent of all search traffic and result in $x revenue, pulling clicks from Google Search Console from specific keywords, and then calculating the percentage of all clicks to get the estimated revenue for that keyword will allow companies to have better insight into:
- How their SEO is performing.
- Which efforts are working.
- Where there might be opportunities.
An SEO who can make these calculations and report on the performance to key stakeholders is an important part of the larger SEO piece.
3. SEO Project Management: Determining Growth & Managing Projects for SEO
While making corrections and reporting on the successes of the work on SEO is important, so is growth.
Identifying upward trends in searches and gaps that might be present on current or past efforts for SEO is imperative to the success of a good enterprise SEO team.
A project manager is tasked with initiatives identified on a larger scale that impact a large portion of the website, including:
- Overhauling design and content on a set of pages.
- Driving initiatives for an internal linking plan that affects many aspects of the site.
The project manager in SEO would focus all their time and energy getting teams to commit to delivery dates and keep it all organized throughout multiple teams.
In the end, resulting in revenue growth from SEO.
4. Relationship Building: Championing SEO to Stakeholders & Other Teams
The final piece to the SEO enterprise puzzle is the ability to build and engage in relationships across the organization.
I usually recommend that the SEO team begin with the first three aforementioned, and follow through with the relationship-building team members once those are in place and the team is working well.
While the other aspects are being built out by the team, the relationship-building part can come from the SEO team’s manager or director, or instill this into each team member as they engage with others in the organization.
In some cases, one of the SEO team members might be more inclined to work with other teams than the others.
If that is the case, then this person can be tasked with engagement and education until a full-time person is needed in the role.
The goal is to build relationships in engineering, creative, legal, and public relations, among others.
SEO touches every aspect of the organization and will, at some point, require support from one or more of these teams.
Having a good solid relationship with the members of those teams will get buy-in for SEO initiatives faster with more efficiency, ultimately leading to the overall growth of SEO and the company at large.
In 2018, I met with REI and got to understand how they structure their SEO. The team at REI had openings for several positions on different teams within the organization.
The interesting part about these positions is that rather than placing SEO in marketing with the paid search, social media, and email teams, these positions were as program managers.
The roles are defined by the core strengths every enterprise SEO should have. These include:
- Communicating effectively across channels and teams.
- Evangelizing SEO through education and documentation.
- Working with teams to prioritize SEO initiatives.
- Reporting for SEO to key stakeholders and identifying opportunities.
- Managing vendors (tools, agencies, consultants, etc).
- Staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends.
In a sense, these roles were covering the four pillars in one role as an individual contributor.
As the person in the role becomes successful, teams would then be built out to support each strength.
In the end, this will develop a strong team and presence for SEO that would drive the success of the business.
It seems that some companies have SEO roles and teams that are moving away from marketing and splitting up to subject matter expert (SME) roles, or individual contributor (IC) roles sitting on engineering, content/creative, reporting, and marketing then coming together to communicate from time to time.
Lastly, being able to report revenue, prioritize projects, and communicate that up through the chain.
This is all such a big shift in recent years of how corporate is structuring and visualizing for SEO which is beneficial for the company and the industry as a whole.
Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita