Big companies usually have millions of pages or a lot to do in order to make an impact. With this in mind, it’s important to understand that modern enterprise SEO is more than a one-size-fits-all approach. One hundred pages of Content Recommendations can be impactful for a small website, but a site with over a million pages needs those adjustments as well as programmatic solutions for scalability.
Even more than programmatic solutions, to scale across the organization you need to develop strategies that can be used across multiple lines of business. A lot of this is Content Strategy. A lot of it is technically-driven or programmatic fixes. But most of it is organizational.
Enterprise companies and SEO agencies should work together as grand architects. Large organizations need partners that understand their scale of operations—internally and externally. And SEO agencies need clients who are willing to drive initiatives and provide a clear lay of the land. When the right partnership is formed, SEO success is the result.
At iPullRank, we know that there are many steps that need to be taken in order to produce quality content that performs in Organic Search, including:
At iPullRank, the first step we take in enterprise SEO is opportunity discovery. This is essentially finding the best areas to build the foundation of our overarching plan of action to achieve a sound SEO strategy.
This is the moment where the SEO agency should dive into any company branding guide, ask probing brand questions, and obtain a deep understanding of the company’s audiences by sourcing as much historic user information and campaign data as possible to ensure all resources are focused in the right direction.
Since opportunity discovery involves so many important pieces, there are several detailed tasks that should be completed in this early phase. They include:
This is often neglected when it comes to Organic Search but a highly valuable piece in any SEO campaign. Audience personas can provide detailed insight about who your content is written for and why they are searching for it. It is important to remember that your website is for the user first as well as the search engine. Even though Google makes it easier to find your content, it’s the user that you need to focus on, and audience personas will help you with this focus.
In-depth keyword research and analysis of your existing portfolio is another important step in opportunity discovery. This is more than simply exporting a list of keywords and selecting search volumes that you believe you can rank for. You need to be proactive and find keywords that are strategically aligned with your business and what your audience is searching for and the stage in the user journey that they are in when they perform that search.
This is why audience personas are an important piece of keyword research. Keywords you will realistically be able to rank for on the first page of search results, but that also relate to your specific audience are the most important. So, be sure to keep in mind what content a user would want to find in Organic Search for this keyword.
One of the most beneficial aspects of opportunity discovery is comparing your standing with that of your true competitors in Organic Search. What are they doing right? Where do they fall short? What can you add to your strategy? Are they out-performing you, and if so, how can you surpass them? Not only do these questions help provide an initial benchmark, they can also help you find areas to target in the upcoming phases of your enterprise SEO campaign.
And though your audience may stay the same for a longer time, new keyword opportunities emerge almost daily – and your competition is constantly changing and evolving. So both your Keyword Research and Competitive Analysis should not be considered a one time job, but rather continuous (at least quarterly) work.
Opportunity discovery is not a task that is completed once and quickly forgotten. True opportunity discovery is ongoing and will help adjust the SEO strategy as business goals shift, new audiences are targeted, and initial SEO work has produced results.
Once you have gone through the Opportunity Discovery phase, you should have a general idea of what you need to do in order to improve your presence in Organic Search results. But how do you move forward?
By taking a two-prong approach: optimizing existing content and creating new content, your agency will help bolster existing rankings and strategically go after new Organic opportunities.
You also need to be sure to keep your audience in mind when creating the overall strategy and development of the content. Start by asking four simple questions:
• What are users looking for?
• Why are they looking for it?
• Can they find this same piece of information somewhere else?
• And If so, then what makes your company’s piece unique?
Once you have an understanding of the why of your content, you need to understand the what and the how. The What of Content Strategy includes content planning, content modeling and the subsequent development of
content. Here is what each entails:
A strategic roadmap of your content creation efforts that aligns with business goals and operational resources.
A model or structure for your content that can be rolled across multiple content types and contributors.
The process of taking content from planning to publication.
Enterprise websites are typically operated by multiple stakeholders, lines of business and content teams, each responsible for their portion of the website. This can make content development a cumbersome and bureaucratic process.
A level deeper, each content team works with multiple contributors including strategists, creators and analysts. The How of Content Strategy looks at the governance and workflow and maintenance of content to ensure that content creation is operational and scalable.
The assignment of roles and responsibilities for the creation of content.
The defined process and necessary governance to create content.
The regular auditing, updating and pruning of content to keep the website fresh and accurate.
These are all questions to keep in mind throughout the content strategy and development process.
Content and links can only go so far, the technical aspects of your site need careful attention as well. Technical SEO is incredibly broad and covers a multitude of issues that can impact your site in various ways.
For example, site load speed. Users are accustomed to fast loading sites, and the vast majority will not wait longer than 2 seconds for your site to load before going back to the search results. Google is also crawling mobile-first, so having an optimized mobile site is key. In fact, Google expects above-the-fold content on mobile devices to load in less than one second.
Read our founder’s “The Technical SEO Renaissance: The Whys and Hows of SEO’s Forgotten Role in the Mechanics of the Web“ article on Moz.
Site speed is just one technical factor that can impact a site’s SEO. Enterprise websites, with a large number of pages, have to be aware of best practices in coding, server load speed, and response codes. Additionally, launching and retiring pages can cause indexing issues that need to be proactively addressed.
GOOGLE DOESN’T TAKE SIX MONTHS TO REACT TO YOUR CHANGES. ENTERPRISE COMPANIES TAKE SIX MONTHS TO MAKE CHANGES
More often than not, large companies have to send content revisions and technical recommendations through several teams and departments before changes are approved to go live. Streamlining processes and gathering feedback from every department early on can help speed up the implementation of recommendations so improvements are seen quickly. It’s not Google that takes six months to react; it’s that it often takes six months to get something through an enterprise company’s processes and then see the results.
A/B testing should be considered during the implementation phases a mechanism for proving something will work before rolling out at scale. With so many moving parts to SEO, A/B testing is the most effective way of measuring the impact of a SEO recommendation. It’s worth noting that SEO split testing is widely different from, say, those done to improve conversion performance for paid/social media.
Creating a series of different-but-extremely-similar pages can be problematic for the Organic Search performance of a website.With SEO A/B testing you’re splitting similar pages into control and test groups.
SEO A/B testing differs greatly from conversion-rate-optimization A/B testing and it’s important to understand this distinction. With CRO A/B testing, you are testing user experience aspects that will lead to more conversions, like the location of contact forms and you’re showing different versions to of a given page to different sample sets of users SEO A/B testing is related to making technical and content changes to improve Organic Search visibility.
For larger sites with a number of technical SEO issues, the implementation portion of an enterprise SEO campaign can take months to ensure everything is working properly. It’s best to practice patience throughout each portion of the campaign, but especially during the implementation phase since results can be slow moving depending on the speed of implementation.
Once the recommended changes have been made to the site, it is time to track the success of the campaign. This is where web analytics services, such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, are crucial.
But before measurements can begin, key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics and goals must be identified. A good measurement plan allows for the entire team to get buy-in into what the business goals are and what organic efforts are needed. When identifying areas of opportunity and
making content and technical SEO recommendations, it is important to keep the end goal of each change in mind.
During each phase of an enterprise SEO campaign, ask yourself the following four questions:
In order to have an accurate measurement plan you will want to identify the KPIs that are most important to your site and will show the most insight into your user base. This will play a vital role when it’s time to measure the success of the campaign.
And, no, rankings are not supposed to be a KPI. More of a vanity metric, being the first is not necessarily proof of visibility anymore (let’s consider the amount of ads and other features before the first Organic Search result) and with the constant changes on SERP, that are more and more focused on personalization, the odds of your result being the first thing that users see is becoming lower.
For years, SEO’s were eager to gain featured snippet rankings in addition to their page one rankings to take up more SERP real estate. In January 2020, Google made a major change to Featured Snippets. This made Featured Snippets the first position rather than the coveted “position 0” and now a single URL can only rank for either the Featured Snippet or a page 1 organic result.
Some examples of common KPIs for an enterprise SEO campaign are:
• Increased order conversions or leads
• Increased organic sessions or users
• Decreased page load speed time
• Improved user engagement (pages/session
and average session duration)
But those KPIs vary based on your company’s understanding of success. At iPullRank we always make our own recommendations of KPIs based on the initial opportunity discovery phase of the campaign (and on the conversations we have with our clients).
Content creation is important, but this is not the end of content work. In order to get the most value out of your company’s content, you need to put together a content promotion strategy.
Not only can other traffic channels help increase your site’s visibility, but content promotion’s end goal, in terms of SEO, is to build high-quality, relevant links to your site. Backlinks are incredibly valuable to the strength of your site, but many of the link building tactics used in the past (and in some cases, in the present) are against Google’s guidelines and will cause more harm than good.
To truly gain quality backlinks, you need to focus on some of the most popular content promotion and distribution strategies including:
• Email Outreach Campaigns: By using targeted emails, you can reach bloggers, website owners, and journalists to see if they will link back to a piece of your content in one of their blogs.
• Syndication: If you have high-performing quality blog posts or infographics, republishing these on other blogs can help broaden your audience and also gain quality backlinks to your site. Be careful when doing this to avoid duplicate content, however.
• Repurpose Content: Don’t stop with a blog post alone. If it is an evergreen piece of content that provides value, use this to make a video or a series of share worthy infographics or even an interactive that will help drive traffic and build powerful backlinks through guest posting or building off your original topic.
• Leverage Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all provide companies the ability to interact with the customers and followers. Regularly posting to these platforms fosters engagement and can help expand your audience by identifying users who would be open to outreach.
• Paid Campaigns: Not every piece of content should be used in paid campaigns, including paid search or paid social media campaigns, but highly engaging content can be used here to get in front of bloggers, PR managers, or journalists who may write about your topic and link back to your content.
Even after an enterprise SEO campaign has gone through each phase, from opportunity discovery to measurement, there is still work to be done. No matter how well a campaign or overarching enterprise SEO strategy has performed, and no matter how impressive the results have been, there are always areas and opportunities to improve upon.
For example, if the initial campaign yielded impressive Organic traffic, but the conversion rates remained steady at the pre-campaign level, conversion rate optimization might be a logical next step.
It is easier to identify areas to optimize during the ongoing measurement and reporting phase since you are constantly keeping your eyes on analytics. However, it may not be until after months of data has been compiled that you realize exactly what you need to optimize, or the next steps that are needed to continue the upward trajectory going forward.
There is always more to do when it comes to SEO, and taking time off between campaigns only gives your competition the chance to catch up to where you have improved during the initial strategy. In short, this is where you go back to the drawing board and do it all over again.
A popular global marketplace needed help restoring their SEO efforts after a long period of focusing on product. Organic traffic was steadily declining, and with an increasing global demand, visibility was more important than ever. In addition to Organic Search issues, this e-commerce giant needed to focus on keyword targeting, content creation, and removing pages that were no longer useful. This brand partnered with us to uncover the Organic Traffic stall.
Through a large-scale SEO Site Audit, we developed a three-stage approach to fix major SEO issues and then proactively executed SEO strategies. Through an extensive Content Audit and Content Plan, we developed strategies to create compelling, keyword-rich content targeted toward their specific audiences. Additionally, we provided in-house Project Management working with the client’s SEO team, ensuring that the technical implementations were on-track.
This project resulted in over $24 million dollar net increase in transactions YoY, over 34% increase in Organic Traffic Revenue YoY, and 30% increase in Sessions YoY. In this case, identifying the factors that were affecting their Organic Visibility and improving the Organic Traffic with the help of a consistent Content Strategy.
Since all eyes are on both you and the SEO agency’s work, it is imperative to first take a macro approach and establish an understanding of how your project fits into the bigger picture. This should relate to your brand, goals, and of course the bottomline—a.k.a. Revenue growth.
Without a firm understanding of the company’s brand, it is easy for the SEO agency to fall prey to assumptions and provide an industry-generic solution. The name of the game is targeting and optimizing, so this is not what we want.
Your goal as an enterprise company will most likely be to overcome some invisible ceiling that you have encountered, which may be due to competition, a lack of expertise internally, or other external factors. Often this comes in the form of lead generation or customer retention.
When competition is the cause, understanding direct competitors is always a great place to start for the SEO agency. By researching competitors in the landscape, you can get a baseline, and potentially some answers as to why they aren’t achieving their market share or revenue goals.
The SEO agency supplements or complements your marketing team, and the processes that they outline will be key to your company’s success and impact many levels.
While an in-house marketing team is essential, an agency like iPullRank allows for a team of experts to assist with audience and keyword research, content strategy, creation and promotion, unmatched SEO knowledge, and recommendations to implement the necessary changes.
At iPullRank, one of the fundamentals we focus on are our three C’s: Customers, Content, and Components. Each is equally important and every strategy that we create focuses uniquely on all three.
• Customers: A main focus of each of our strategies is marketing segmentation in relation to Organic Search. Understanding your customers is paramount in a successful SEO campaign.
• Content: At iPullRank, we aim for nothing less than 10x content every time. This means each piece of content, be it a blog post, infographic, or even interactive, must provide 10x the value of what can be found elsewhere.
• Components: Finally, the technical aspect of each of our deliverables is unmatched and everything is backed up by data.
We have worked with dozens of enterprise companies and have helped drive more than $1 billion in incremental revenue since iPullRank was founded in 2014.
If you feel ready to make an informed decision on the importance of SEO and its value for enterprise businesses, contact our team of expert SEOs, Content Strategists, Analysts, and Marketers to find out how we can help you get the results you need.
iPullRank is an agile, results-focused digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, Content Strategy, Solutions Architecture, Marketing Automation, Social Media, Measurement and Optimization. We are based in New York City and work with local and international clients to create
work we can be PROUD of.
For more insights on the future of SEO, take a look at the other resources we offer including our Top 50 SEO Techniques and Forecasting and Prediction ROI on SEO or contact iPullRank for expert SEO advice on how to reach your business goal.