Jolina Pettice

Industrial Strength SEO: Enterprise Do’s and Don’ts

[Note from Lee: This is a perfect session for Jolina because she manages one of the largest enterprise SEO projects for any agency our size – over 2o different business units for a Fortune 20 company.]

dsc00478.JPG SEO for the enterprise requires a very different approach, than SEO for an small or medium business (SMB).

Deploying the same approach at the enterprise level, as you would for an SMB, would be like trying to clean a wine spill with Windex. You’ll end up making a bigger mess.

The Enterprise SEO panel at SMX moderated by Detlev Johnson of SearchReturn and Matt McGee of Marchex provided excellent insights into what you should and should not do with these types of search marketing projects.

Speakers for the session included:
Martin Laetsch, Senior Director of Search Strategy, SEM Director, Inc
David Roth, Director of Search Engine Marketing, Yahoo!, Inc
Marshall D. Simmonds, VP of Enterprise Search Marketing, The New York Times

dsc00475.JPGHere are the Do’s for Enterprise SEO:

Cover the SEO Basics

Covering the basics is important, but don’t think because these are the basics of SEO that they will be easy to implement. In my experience, they aren’t.

Here are few the panel referenced:

  • Template Optimization
  • Fix broken links
  • Crosslink between business segments

Be ready with the business benefit of each and solid work arounds in case you run into snags.

As well, spend some time getting to know the CMS system the company uses. More often than not the CMS will be limiting in its SEO-friendliness.

Manage Until You Can’t Manage Anymore

The bigger the company/project the more it needs to be managed both in detail and in planning. Make sure to manage both the people and the work to reach the program goals.

Try these tips for making sure nothing falls through the cracks:

  • Document everything
  • Create a monthly audit schedule
  • Monitor pages for specific keyword phrases
  • Build checklists for team members to follow (before content can go live)

In addition, be sure to spend a good amount of time training groups on both the benefits of SEO and how to integrate best practices into daily content creation.

Create easy-to-use reference tools you can lessen the time spent fielding the same questions over and over.

Communication Loudly & Proudly

Communication is key across a large organization and it’s incredibly important to communicate frequently.

Be sure to repeat messages over and over to ensure groups are buying into the program. Get them saying the right things about search and they’ll become internal advocates for you.

The best advice I can give to someone managing SEO at the enterprise level is to identify a key contact, get he/she evangelizing your message and do everything you can to make he/she look like a rock star.

As well, make sure to spotlight results and accomplishments. It’s not bragging, rather it’s making sure the company understands the value you bring to the organization. If they don’t value the program from its inception, you will have an uphill battle the rest of the way.

Tips from the panel, which really do work, include:

  • Monthly communications to all stakeholders
  • Continually craft messages that stakeholders can use within their own circles
  • Keep the team up to date with the latest industry news

Here are the don’ts of Enterprise SEO

Do not assume that because a company is engaged in SEO, that everyone is bought into it as a strategic business decision.

Reiterate the benefits often and to everyone you come across to ensure SEO isn’t a blip on the radar that eventually fades.

The IT guys need to be as bought in as the marketers.

Other Don’ts include:

  • Under communicate success
  • Not checking in with design/IT/production/ad sales

I love Enterprise SEO and the tips above are those which implement, refine and execute every day. If you take nothing else away from this post, then at least take this:

Do make SEO education a staple of the program mix
Don’t be afraid to create training, processes and content just for enterprise clients. That’s what it takes.

If you would like more tips on Enterprise SEO, check out my previous blog post on the topic.

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  1. It’s funny (and a definite reminder) that buy-in is key to making your SEO succesful. I worked for a company that is continuing it’s stead growth, but their online activities were lacking. As a firm believer in SEO, I seemed to be the only (or at least the main) proponent of optimizing the site, and while some decision makers were showing enthusiasm for it, I basically got no traction. Flash forward a few months after my departure, and guess what? They’re looking to hire an online manager (to include SEO), when I not only could do it but also knew the company intimately (yes, some bitterness here). Sometimes, companies learn the hard way–