For marketers looking for the most impactful and cost-efficient way to understand consumer behavior and reach customers in key moments that matter, SEO has become imperative.
The SEO industry has indeed matured and spread its wings.
Building scalable, efficient, integrated, and effective enterprise SEO strategies is reliant upon the sharing of data, skillsets, and mindsets across multiple business units.
In this column, you’ll find few key areas of focus to drive a better understanding of your opportunities, and tips to help elevate the role of enterprise SEO with your C-suite.
How to Communicate SEO Wins to Each Member of the C-Suite
It is no surprise that the demand for SEO, especially across large and global enterprises, is soaring. However, without C-Suite buy-in and support for tools and budget, your campaigns can fall flat.
As an SEO professional at heart and CTO, I can tell you how important it is to balance both the communication and collaboration sides.
Not every C-Suite member has your professional background, experience, and domain of expertise. Some will have knowledge in IT, and others will have a background in customer success, professional services, press and media, or recruitment.
It is essential to showcase the value of SEO to others in conversations with the C-Suite and critical stakeholders in your organization.
So who are these people and how can you best evangelize SEO in your interactions with them?
Chief Executive (CEO)
CEOs want to know all about overall performance and understand SEO’s top-line contribution to the business.
They like to view sales figures, returns on spend, and market share.
Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
The CMO is focused on how well SEO leads convert and the role SEO plays across other marketing disciplines. This can include awareness, demand generation, events, retention, and customer experience.
They need this information for budgets, comparing performance across channels, and seeing where synergy and discord lie.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
The CFO is interested in budgeting, forecasting, and overall performance.
They want to know where savings can be made and how to best allocate and justify SEO budgets and technology spend for the coming year.
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
The COO looks to see how SEO contributes to other aspects of the business.
In some companies, the Chief Operating Officer will also want to know about additional costs, the SEO professional’s role in multiple channel marketing strategies, and how SEO works with other departments for retention and customer experience.
Chief Technical or Technology Officer (CTO)
The CTO is pivotal in modern-day SEO as IT is essential to data, insights integration, and product development.
CTOs sit at the helm of research and development and want to know about product adoption, roadmaps, and insights into how to develop future products, technical developments, and innovations to meet customer needs.
Ultimately, the C-Suite wants to know the market’s value, how well they are doing, what is happening with the competition, and the current return on investment compared to the maximum return possible.
It is your job to communicate your SEO wins and needs to each individual in a way that best appeals to their role and how they plan to use the information.
How to Share Insights & Inspire Action Across Your Organization
The data and analytics you use and the insights they derive enable you to control and build efficiency across many organizational variables. CRM, workflow, and task management are a significant part of Enterprise SEO campaigns – especially those for huge brands with multiple departments, sites, and reporting structures.
However, in this era of real-time opportunities and dramatic swings in demand, insights need automation to maximize their value.
Enterprise SEO now involves managing search, content, and digital marketing campaigns holistically.
From a technological perspective, it takes a platform with a fully integrated set of tools and features. Look for solutions that enable you to:
- Report based on role. Enterprise SEO means working with different departments and reporting success across many business units in an organization. For example, marketing is interested in leads and opportunities revenue, SEO pros are looking at rank and position, and CS is looking at the customer experience. From marketing through to the CEO, custom reporting is essential.
- Build a process that facilitates moving from understanding to action. Your campaign now has all the data; you have worked out how to present it in formats fine-tuned to different audiences. Now is the time to extract fundamental understanding and take action.
- Ensure you have critical mechanisms in place to quickly call out what actions to take. Ideally, this mechanism should list possible and different actions that people and managers can see across your organization. Make it can provide control to the SEO manager to target any of the SEO goals and provide insight on which variables should be controlled to achieve these goals.
Enterprise SEO and People
- Ensure that your Enterprise SEO team is supported, and campaigns are supported by executives and key stakeholders across your whole organization.
- Build an SEO Center of Excellence and ensure that drives sand supports business-wide objectives and goals.
- Invest in people and the development of your SEO team and develop certification and training programs for your community of customers.
Incorporate these tips to improve understanding of your SEO strategy all the way to C-suite, as well.
Enterprise SEO and Process
- Builds and documents best practices for the development of large-scale campaigns that include everything from site migration through to content development and digital channel activation.
- Ensure all customer-driven programs are driven by insights and decisions are backed with data.
- Invest in ensuring SEO, paid search, content, social, and digital advertising are tightly integrated.
Enterprise SEO and Platform
- Standardize on platforms that offer business and real-time insights that are backed by reporting from multirole data sources. Ensure they allow you to automate where possible and scale campaigns as near to real-time as possible.
- Ensure technology is enterprise-grade and that real-time insights, intelligent automation, and all core SEO activities are integrated within one platform.
- Ensure any insights are followed with automated action. This can dramatically improve performance with up to and over 65% immediate uplift.
Tips for Elevating SEO by Emulating Product & Sales
When product marketers or a salesperson (although the pitch content varies) pitch a product, it usually starts with the industry, market, or competition. They then insert an original thought framework.
Consider, for example, the customer decision cycle or the sales cycle and show where SEO drives success. Then position your SEO tactics in that context. This can help you to hold the reader’s interest.
Use analogies. Product marketing avoids deep technical overload by using analogies and hypothetical scenarios to create interest. Most executives do not want to know how the watch is made; they just want to know the time.
Use case studies and varied voices. Pepper your SEO report with customer stories, pictures, and quotes. Case studies should follow the familiar format of Problem/Solution/Result. A varied voice could include input from adjacent marketing channels such as content marketing, PR, and inside sales.
And remember to weave in other important high-level SEO benefits:
- SEO is the most extensive channel, with 51% of trackable revenue.
- SEO is the voice of the customer.
- SEO builds residual long-term equity for companies and site traffic.
- SEO enhances the user experience with speed and proper navigation.
- SEO is involved throughout the buying cycle and customer lifecycle.
Enterprise SEO, product, and customer success should be at the heart of everything you do.
Constantly promote your achievements, reporting and presenting on the successes, strategies, and tactics that tie to your organizations’ key goals.
Utilize business and search insights to showcase how SEO impacts company performance.
Invest in yourself. Build new skills that will help you better communicate with the C-suite.
Anything you can do to help them better understand how SEO supports the organization’s goals and make the most of opportunities benefits your entire program — and your career, as a result.
- What Is Enterprise SEO?
- The 4 Pillars of Enterprise SEO Success
- Enterprise SEO Guide: Strategies, Tools, & More
Screenshot taken by author, April 2021