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A Year-End Checklist For Evaluating Your Enterprise SEO Program
As the year comes to a close it is a good time to evaluate your enterprise SEO program and ensure that needed adjustments are made.
The best time to do this is actually during budget season so you are able to make a case for additional resources as necessary. But, since budget timing varies from company to company, we’ll stick with a year-end approach to keep things simple.
I’m going to focus on the way that SEO is managed and executed within the organization rather than the performance of specific campaigns, but it is important to note that the two are intertwined.
In-House Team & Outside Support
There are plenty of different models that work, but you need to be properly staffed and supported.
- Is the size of the primary in-house team sufficient?
- What roles and duties are currently underserved?
- Can you justify additional headcount?
- How can you increase productivity without overwhelming the team?
- Does the SEO team sit in the right place in the org chart?
- Are you utilizing an outside firm for additional help with strategic support, auditing, training, validation of your efforts, etc.?
- How can you get the most value from outside relationships?
Enterprise SEO Tools
When you are dealing with millions of pages across a multitude of domains you need some help with the heavy lifting.
- Do you have an enterprise SEO toolset?
- Is your chosen toolset the right fit? Can you customize it further?
- Are people actually using it? How can you increase engagement?
- How can you make the data more actionable?
- Are you supplementing your main suite with additional tools for crawling, page evaluations, competitive analysis, domain and link data, etc.? Smaller tools do not scale to enterprise well but they are still helpful when applied in limited, targeted ways.
- Are you taking advantage of the Google Webmaster Tools API to get access to all of the data from your profiles?
- Are you paying attention to Bing Webmaster Tools?
Site Audit Process And Execution
Strategies and tactics continue to evolve, but comprehensive site audits remain a core component of any good SEO program.
- Do you have a clearly defined auditing process?
- Does the output achieve a balance of depth and detail with being easy to digest and act upon?
- Are you correctly prioritizing the recommendations based on impact and level of effort?
- Have you implemented a system to ensure that all properties are audited and reassessed at regular intervals?
- Are you using the right intervals? Auditing too often is just as unproductive as not auditing enough.
- What can you achieve at a network-wide level, and what needs to be customized to specific properties?
- Have you established realistic timeframes for execution?
- How many of the key recommendations are being implemented within the agreed-upon time frames? How can you improve this and overcome roadblocks?
SEO Training & Feedback
It is vital to provide training to technical, design, content and marketing teams, reinforcing it on a regular basis. Oversight is also needed to ensure proper execution.
- Have you established an SEO training curriculum for all key departments?
- Is there a set schedule for mandatory and optional trainings?
- Have you experimented with different lengths, settings and formats to find what works best?
- Are you providing a sufficient range of trainings on the fundamentals as well as in-depth sessions on specific topics?
- Are you balancing the theoretical with the practical and actionable?
- Are the trainers themselves good at it?
- Do you have mechanisms in place to ensure that best practices are incorporated into the daily workflow in all relevant departments?
- Particularly for content teams, have you established a system for periodic monitoring and feedback?
Integration & Coordination
Search efforts cannot succeed in a vacuum. SEO needs to be integrated into nearly every aspect of the business.
- Do you have sufficient contact points in all departments and business units?
- Are you effectively communicating SEO objectives and results to all levels of the organization?
- Are you guarding against poorly defined goals and unrealistic expectations?
- Is there a system in place to ensure SEO feedback is provided on all new technical and design initiatives prior to launch?
- Are other marketing efforts (both in-house and from outside vendors) being properly coordinated with SEO?
- Have you delegated enough responsibility to key members of each team, department, etc., to make the SEO program self-sustaining?
- Do they have the knowledge, resources and credibility to make things happen?
You can’t know how well things are going if you don’t have a proper system in place for tracking, measurement and reporting.
- Have you set appropriate, realistic goals?
- Have you identified the right metrics for evaluating performance? This will vary quite a bit by industry and objectives.
- Are you customizing measurement and reporting in the most appropriate way for each site, project, department, management level, etc.?
- Are you cross-referencing search and social data with other business and marketing analytics?
- Are you able to clearly demonstrate the value of what is being done, and the missed opportunity of what isn’t?
- Do you have a ninja-like analytics person or team that lives for crunching numbers and making Excel dance? (If you don’t, you need one).
Hopefully this gets you started on developing a thorough process for evaluating your own enterprise SEO program.
What else do you evaluate at your organization?
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.