[Note from Lee: While Susan, Jolina and I are in Miami at a private client conference for one of the largest companies in the world, it seemed particularly relevant for Jolina to write a quick post about enterprise SEO. Jolina's presentation today to roughly 30 different business units as well as corporate communications, PR and IT simply kicked ass.]
While the vast majority of search engine optimization projects performed by search marketing agencies are for small and medium sized businesses, SEO for large and complex organizations takes a unique combination of finesse and consideration.
For example, small and medium sized companies are typically much more nimble, make changes quicker and are often more open to leveraging new online marketing channels. Within large corporations such as the Fortune 100, this is not usually the case. Sometimes the pace of change with multiple stakeholders, layers of approval and strict messaging guidelines can seem counter productive.
However, the slow moving approach is not without reason. Corporations that have invested considerable time and money at building their brand need to make sure the credibility marketplace reputation that they have spent so much time to achieve doesnâ€™t get a black mark after moving too quickly on an idea or tactic.
This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make significant progress in a reasonable amount of time with an enterprise SEO project. With the right mix of planning, communication and agency expertise, large organization web sites can get the various departments or business units that make up a the corporation’s web presence working and moving in the same direction at a much faster pace. They key is to empower the client side contacts responsible for work flow, approval and implementation.
5 Tactics for Empowering Enterprise SEO Projects:
- Education – “ There is no substitute for an informed SEO client. Explain overall how search engine optimization works and the benefits to the individual you’re working with. Help them understand more about the process along with the benefits to the overall organization and their area of responsibility.
- Advocates – “ Leverage those individuals that catch on quickly and are excited about the program to help “sell” SEO to the rest of the organization. As evangelists for corporate site optimization, give these client staff members tools to spread the SEO message within the organization. Doing so helps create excitement and an accurate understanding of expectations.
- Results – “ Show results at multiple stages in the program. SEO within large organization can take time, so it is important and motivating to share milestone results along the way to keep individuals engaged. i.e. “Your CMS templates used to say â€˜insert content hereâ€™ in the title tags and are now optimized by dynamic keyword insertion.” and then show the before and after search results. There can literally be hundreds of SEO improvements with a large site. Showing progress from small steps will help create momentum and buy-in from others in the organization.
- Availability – “ Be available to client contacts in various mediums. For example, being available to the main point of contact via IM or text messaging so when he/she needs information about search engine optimization RIGHT NOW, you can provide that information and answer questions on the fly. This not only makes your point of contact an internal SEO champion, but helps proliferate the right SEO messages throughout the organization. It can be very demanding and time consuming performing as an on-demand SEO resource, so such client engagements are not for everyone.
- Content Creation – “ Be prepared to create content specifically for the enterprise. This can include the creation of images to be used in internal presentations to C-level executives that want to know more about the SEO initiative or creating on-going education materials and content to be leveraged in newsletters, on intranets and during company training.
It takes considerable resources and talent to execute and manage a successful enterprise SEO project. Not many SEM consultancies are prepared for the demands in communication, education and patience. Large scale SEO takes an equal measure of search engine knowledge as it does the ability to navigate complex organizations. By empowering client side advocates with education, tools and ongoing resources to promote SEO processes and results, large company optimization projects are much more successful.