Enterprise SEO is a complex set of online strategies and tactics that large companies use to generate more leads and sales. Let’s talk about SEO for large businesses in simple terms.
Unlike SEO for small and mid-businesses, enterprise SEO involves a lot more work, planning, and effort to get optimal results. SEO teams within large companies are not limited to 1 or 2 team members. They may include teams of 5 and more people with each team member responsible for a specific aspect of the SEO strategy. The optimization work may range from technical fixes to keyword tracking, from crawl efficiency to topic clustering. With so much complexity involved, let me simplify Enterprise SEO and distill it into the main buckets that businesses use to stay on top of their SEO game.
I worked on Enterprise SEO for 5 years managing projects on several high-traffic websites that were getting between 1-2M to 10-12M monthly users from organic search each month. Our sites had their own dedicated Product people and Engineering squads, but the SEO group was a shared resource. This allowed me to observe how the work gets done across our teams and business units. Based on my experiences, here is a summary about the benefits, main areas, and constraints of Enterprise SEO.
Quick FAQs about Enterprise SEO
If you are here to get quick answers about Enterprise SEO, here are the top questions and answers about this topic.
For more details about the advantages, main optimization approaches and tools, as well as difficulties related to this type of SEO, read on below.
Benefits of Enterprise SEO
Before delving into the day-to-day of Enterprise SEO, let’s talk about the advantages of a solid SEO strategy for a large website. The benefits are numerous: potential to lower ad spending or make it more efficient, promote your brand messaging, expose your products to new audiences, and ensure a stronger omni-channel impact on your business.
More Efficiency with Ad Spending
A full-fledged SEO strategy and its execution can help your site rank high for competitive keywords in organic search results. SEO also does a good job to capture mid-tail and long-tail searches. This may reduce your ad spend as, for instance, your paid search team may spend less budget on phrase match and broad match (aka less relevant) searches.
SEO will not replace your SEM campaign in full, though. Paid search is still needed to compete for searches that are strategically important for the business. Paid search is also a must-have for brand protection and reputation management.
At the same time, paid search (SEM) becomes more efficient with SEO helping the cause. The best results are achieved when an efficient SEM execution meets the fine-tuned SEO efforts. The result is more presence in the prime real-estate in search engine results.
Stronger Brand Messaging
In today’s competitive market, brands need to be visible online. With the help of enterprise SEO, large companies can reach out to customers across various channels.
Optimizations bring about better visibility in organic search, which helps drive more users to your site. Paired up with high-quality content, this may incentivize users to share your content on social media and external sites. That helps drive even more traffic, and creates more awareness about your business.
Expansion to New Audiences
The main goal of an enterprise SEO strategy is focused on growing your site’s reach. An advanced SEO approach will deal with both reach and focus on attracting new leads and prospects for the business. This may be done through new content creation that involves introduction of landing pages, blogging, whitepapers, case studies.
SEO-optimized sites and content are sure to attract more users. This, in turn, helps collect and enrich user data, from emails to qualitative user feedback. Organic traffic is usually at the top of the purchase funnel, especially within the content marketing world. In this multi-touch attribution world, SEO plays an important role to initiate users to brands, their products, new features, and services.
Main Optimization Areas for Enterprise SEO
Now it’s time to take a look at the building blocks of large business SEO in 2022. I have simplified it all to these 7 main areas that are important for a good execution of the strategy:
- website structure and on-page optimizations
- crawl budget
- topical authority
- content marketing
- technical audits
- optimization for voice searches
- external SEO and PR efforts
Website Structure & On-page Optimizations
Your website should be organized so that to provide a great user experience. You need to make sure that users can access every page easily. Moreover, if your site is well-designed, traffic should grow organically due to better engagement levels and higher conversion rates.
Your website should have a clear taxonomy. In other words, the organization of all the sections in well-connected categories and subcategories is a necessity for good SEO. At the same time, try to avoid making too many levels of hierarchy as a complex hierarchy makes navigation difficult for users. Also remember to add internal links to your most important, popular, and frequently visited pages. It’s like funneling both users and search bots to the most important locations on the site.
Proper internal linking improves search engine ranking. Search engines use links to determine how relevant your site is to keywords. Internal links also allow users to navigate more easily around your site. This is why disruptions in your site’s internal links due to migrations or other changes may cause declines in organic search traffic for certain pages or the site as a whole.
In order to achieve success on search engines, you also want to make sure that your website’s content matches up with how well you want to rank in search results. That means that if you want to be ranked for “best meal box service near me”, then you need to ensure that your site has plenty of relevant content about food delivery in numerous relevant geographic locations, quick recipes for busy professionals and families. Relevant content will come with the creation of new pages, blog posts, industry reports, service comparisons.
On-page optimization usually starts with basic elements like page titles and meta descriptions. Meta titles or page titles should be short, sweet, and descriptive. They are usually between 50-60 characters with spaces.
Meta descriptions should be short summaries of up to 160 characters with spaces. They should include targeted keywords and calls to action.
Image tags should include alt text to make them more descriptive and better understood for search engines.
H-tags (onpage titles and subtitles) should be descriptive, but short and clear. They should also be actionable and focus on what your business is selling. In 2022 Google tends to replace page titles with H-tags, esp. H1, in over 60% of organic search listings.
Always think about page titles, meta descriptions and H-tags as short ads for your business that may be visible outside your site.
How easy or difficult is it for search engines to index your site? That’s all part of your site’s crawlability. When it comes to crawling, I usually talk about the crawl budget.
Crawl budget is the amount of time and resources a search bot can afford spending on your site during a period of time. In other words, it is the amount of pages a search bot like Googlebot crawls on your site per day, for example.
There are different theories among SEO experts about whether it’s necessary to set a limit to the crawl rate from the major search engines like Google or Bing. These limits may be needed because of the pressure that a site’s infrastructure experiences because of bot crawling. There are different ways that large sites can cope with that: it can be done via additional settings on the hosting server, or the CDN level, introduction of directives to bots (nofollow internal links, 304s, rules in robots.txt). Sometimes, your SEO manager may recommend to throttle down the bot by using the crawl controls in the site’s webmaster tools, like Google Search Console (but this should be the last resort).
Enterprise SEOs usually monitor their website log files for the major bots. They search for URLs where the bots may be stuck (crawling too often, errors) and finding ways to understand why it’s happening and fixing it. They also check out the URLs of any pages that aren’t indexed by Google or Bing. Then make sure that none of them contain any elements that prevent pages from being indexed, like “noindex” directives.
High Authority Content
Your site should be built around what your business is all about: expertise, knowledge, know-how. There are many ways to become a topical authority by producing relevant content. The content includes articles about topics related to your niche or information about your industry. Having a well-organized website with a good amount of fresh and relevant content helps rank higher in organic searches. This, in turn, helps the site become an authority or a resource about the topic for the target audiences.
Content marketing is about creating useful, relevant, and unique pieces of written or visual material. Freshness of these materials is of utmost importance for better organic rankings. This ensures that the web crawlers see your site as being active and up-to-date. Since content freshness is a ranking factor for search engines, new content helps your site get higher rankings and more visibility in organic search results.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, you need to constantly improve your content. You also want to ensure that the information you provide is comprehensive, well-researched, and true. Be sure to focus on providing great content that helps users solve problems and answer questions. Some time ago Google introduced the E-A-T concept to searches. The idea behind E-A-T came from Google’s Search Quality Guidelines. It aims to improve trustworthiness in search.
In short, with the right content, you’ll be able to increase your website’s E-A-T score. You’ll also get better rankings on search engines.
Optimize for Voice Search
Voice Search Optimization (VSO) is a very powerful tool for large businesses in 2022. By optimizing your site using VSO, you can gain more traffic and increase conversions.
You need to make sure that your site is optimized for voice search. For this reason, you should focus on conversational keywords, structure your content by using lists and subtitles, add only 2-3 lines per paragraph, add FAQ sections, and implement Speakable schema markups on your pages.
Tools to try: Schemaapp
Enterprise SEO involves regular SEO audits. The SEO team divides audits into different sections such as Technical SEO audit, Content audit & Link audit. Each section includes specific tasks that need to be completed during the audit process.
After completing each task, SEOs document the results using a spreadsheet, Google docs, MS Words, or any other similar app. Finally, the team creates a report. Such reports result in a list of takeaways or action points that are turned into tickets and provided to either Product or Engineering for consideration.
The ideal approach to fixing the SEO issues is to start by making small changes. The rule of thumb is to avoid making too many changes at once. The SEO team should document the findings, dates, trends.
PR and External Links
Backlinks are another ranking factor in organic rankings. There are many ways to create quality backlinks. The caveat is that you need to make sure you get relevant links from authoritative sources. Such links are useful signals to search engines. The links help increase traffic to your website. Your SEO team needs to work closely with your PR team to ensure that they both understand what works well together.
Your website should always contain fresh quality content. This content helps PR teams organize new campaigns. In addition, external sites may want to link back to this content as a reliable source. Such actions gain your site valuable backlinks. These backlinks will help Google understand what kind of information users need and how well your site responds to their needs.
Constraints of Enterprise SEO
Throughout my work within several enterprise SEO teams I witnessed two types of constraints to quick and successful long-term execution of SEO campaigns: internal misalignments, and Google’s algorithm updates.
Scenarios for internal misalignments may be different: frequent re-orgs, personnel turnover, product roadmaps not communicated out properly, engineering hardships related to legacy technology or new tech stack. Office politics can get into the way as well.
While identifying the blocker is usually helpful, bulldozing through the issue can only do damage. In my experience, data-supported justifications about revenue potential from organic search work well to sell the idea internally.
Google’s Algorithm Updates
Large websites are always at Google’s mercy when it comes to organic traffic. Why is that?
Generations of engineers poke around the codebase on any large site, changing, adding, repurposing. Stale content may sits on the site for years. Companies fail to boost their sites’ performance in line with Google’s newer demands. These are just a few of cause that may result in Google’s decreased love to your site. Google tends to make core updates to its algorithm every 3-6 months. Bureaucracy and layers of internal processes slow down the execution needed to follow the new requirements for better organic search rankings. As a result, declines in organic traffic may be significant after algorithm changes. It’s easy to point at Google, but the problems are usually internal.
The best workaround is to let the SEO team inform the engineering and product teams about all recent developments and updates, then act fast.
Need a second opinion or a helping hand from our team about Enterprise SEO in 2022, send us a note and we’ll be happy to share our expertise with you.