“How can we grow and scale SEO across our entire organization?” It’s a question many enterprise clients and prospects ask me regularly. It’s a good question, too.
I always respond with the truth. I say, “SEO is hard. Scaling enterprise SEO is harder.”
Like it or not, it’s a fact. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done. On the contrary, not only can you do it, but you can get started right away, regardless of the current state of SEO in your company.
What you need is a way to simplify, structure and scale your efforts.
The Proven Way Enterprises Can Simplify, Structure and Scale SEO
Enterprise SEO is faced with many challenges. The biggest are:
- Many users and stakeholders, each with different levels of knowledge and experience as well as different roles and objectives.
- Different technologies used at different sites around the globe, resulting in multiple, fragmented technologies that don’t work together.
- Constant change. Organic search evolves fast. Technology does too. These tax the resources of every organization.
- Finally, what I call the many versions of “truth.” Different processes, different reporting systems and different approaches to analysis make it almost impossible to get consistent, clear facts and insight from data.
Generally, when speaking with clients and prospects, all the questions I get asked can be categorized as one of these challenges.
Any one of them, and especially a combination of them, make it hard for companies to produce SEO results that are consistent, measurable and repeatable.
Working with enterprise clients across many industries, we’ve found the solution is to:
- Simplify SEO, not only for SEOs, but for everyone in the organization.
- Structure the SEO effort, with a proven methodology that can be customized to each enterprise’s needs and culture.
- Leverage technology and services that enable your team to scale your efforts.
We’ve codified the methodology that does just this.
We call it the SEO Center of Excellence.
It combines strategy, a proven framework and tools and services that make scaling your SEO program not only possible but simpler.
With clients who have implemented the SEO Center of Excellence methodology, we’ve seen SEOs who once spent a majority of their time on data collection and analysis completely transform their world.
Instead of spending more than three-fourths of their time on collecting, sorting, and analyzing and data, they shifted to spend the majority on strategy and execution!
SEO Success Starts with Strategy
How you think about SEO matters.
Years ago, tactical thinking worked. It enabled a talented SEO, or a small team of talented SEOs to manipulate the search engines for rankings and traffic which translated into conversions. Remember keyword stuffing on a page? Or creating one-off landing pages that would rank in a matter of weeks?
It’s not like that anymore, is it?
No, today, search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo prioritize the search experience – all focused on the user. This requires a new way of thinking.
Think of it this way, while you could try to manipulate the many different algorithmic factors that contribute to search results, there’s simply too many teams that need to be involved. There’s IT, content, marketing, product managers, and more. A tactical approach is simply inefficient and not sustainable for consistent, long term results.
How do you think about SEO differently?
Consider a 404-error, for example. A 404-error is a serious SEO problem, but if an SEO tells someone on the IT team that this page error is going to affect rankings, the response is probably something like, ‘I don’t care about rankings.’ We all know IT departments have a long list of tickets that are prioritized for them. A 404-error that effects your ranking? Not their priority.
But, as you know this page error doesn’t just affect the search engines. It’s a sales/marketing/customer service nightmare!
An enterprise’s website is its sales/marketing/customer service face online. And, every web page has (or should have!) a purpose. This means when one is missing, some segment of the customer or prospect audience can’t find the information they want!
That’s the shift in thinking that I’m talking about.
All the elements of SEO need to be viewed, not as a response to search engines, but rather how it affects the users’ search experience
This changes the conversation, doesn’t it?
Now, if your team approaches this issue with, ‘Hey, we’ve got a 404-error on this page which is impacting the customer experience,' as a customer service issue, then the IT team must prioritize it.
When viewed like this, conversations don’t just change. The entire SEO strategy changes.
A Solid Framework that Defines SEO Activity is Needed
With so much data and so many different stakeholders, SEOs could spend all their time:
- Collecting and analyzing data
- Communicating with stakeholders
- Hunting down technical problems
- Training employees involved with an SEO effort
There are a lot of elements to manage and address from content to technical issues to analysis. The framework addresses the problem of what to do when by:
- Prioritizing every task
- Establishing and defining Standard Operating Procedures for all users to follow
- Determining KPIs for a single “truth”
- Guaranteeing meaningful data analysis
- Providing training for stakeholders
We’ve developed just such a framework. We call it the URA framework and discuss it in more detail in our latest e-book, “Building an SEO Center of Excellence: A Practical, Proven Way Every Brand Can Simplify, Structure, and Scale SEO."
You Need Tools and Services that Make it Possible to Scale Your Effort
Let’s be honest, resources are finite. The most finite resource is time.
In one survey we did, 77% of the SEOs we talked to told us they spent their time on data acquisition, reporting and analysis!
Only 20% spent their time on execution of strategy.
It doesn’t make sense to dedicate more resources to data collection and analysis. Yet, you need that data to guide strategy and inform decision-making.
In my experience, data collection and interpretation are the biggest factors that makes scaling SEO so hard for enterprises. There is simply more data than any person or team can process!
Technology is the solution. The challenge with technology is finding the one that actually makes the job simpler and doesn’t just patch solutions into place.
Single platforms built on AI and machine-learning eliminate extra steps, support and training needs. Plus, these technologies can process and find connections between billions of data points in seconds.
Scaling isn’t all about technology, though.
Oftentimes, scaling also involves working with specialized resources to provide support and services outside the core competencies of the enterprise team. It could mean working with an agency to do the data analysis.
There are a lot of different ways to arrange the resources, the key is to use the ones that make it easiest for the most people to get the most done.
How to Build Your SEO Center of Excellence
The principles behind the SEO Center of Excellence can be implemented by any organization, at any level of SEO. They must be adapted based on the enterprise’s experience with SEO, but it can be done.
The first step is to think about SEO differently, viewing it as focused on the user’s search experience rather than appeasing search engines.
Second, you need a framework that prioritizes the work. This gives focus to what’s important and helps organize the efforts of all stakeholders.
Now, every enterprise will have to develop its own standard operating procedures to meet its own organizational structure, but regardless of how the work gets done, what gets done must follow a specific plan for it to work well.
Finally, tools and services must be used that make it possible for the most work to get done with the least effort.
To dive deeper into concepts behind building an SEO Center of Excellence for your organization, check out our new e-book, “Building an SEO Center of Excellence: A Practical, Proven Way Every Brand Can Simplify, Structure, and Scale SEO."
Here are more resources and information on how to operationalize SEO across your organization: