What the hell is ‘Enterprise SEO’? Most people use the phrase when:
- Angling for a raise.
- Selling me their SEO widget.
- Trying to re-define their now-banned content spinning service.
Those aren’t good criteria. So, I’m tackling the question: What is enterprise SEO? Are you an enterprise SEO professional?
1. You Don’t Control Site Changes
Your site recommendations shuttle between at least 3 e-mail inboxes before implementation. You say a silent prayer every time you submit an SEO tweak. And your last three title tag changes came back rejected because the game of SEO telephone morphed ‘title tag’ into ‘tidal hag’.
If you read this and then nodded in agreement, +20 points.
2. Content Changes Have To Go Through A Branding Team
Most of the time, branding teams make great SEO partners. They know what makes folks buy. They research little turns and twists of phrase that can turn a one-time customer into a loyal community member. And they’ve probably fought a lot of the battles over wording and content that you’ll face.
But now and then, they run amok. Ever heard something like this?: Never mind what folks are buying. We make bicycle stabilization and traction surfaces, dammit, not tires.
Nurture your relationship with the branding team, or you’ll live to regret it.
If you report to a branding team, +10 points.
If you take the branding team to lunch once a month, +5 point diplomacy bonus.
3. The Legal Department Is Watching
This is a uniquely American issue, I suspect. Americans are sue-happy. Presidential candidates might start suggesting National Lawsuit Month as an economic stimulus strategy.
OK, that last bit isn’t true. But in the USA, companies get sued. A lot. So they hire lawyers. A lot.
If your content, social media and linking strategies are subjected to legal scrutiny, +10 points.
4. You’re A Diplomat
Here’s a little role play:
You: We should change our home page title tag to start with ‘Bicycle tires’.
Other: No can do, sorry.
Other: Our CEO likes to see the company name first.
You: But our CEO also likes profits, right?
Other: Yes, but this won’t help profits.
You: But… we rank #2 for ‘bicycle tires’. If we change the title tag, we might move up. The extra traffic…
Other: Sorry, but you can’t prove that. Until you can, we can’t make the change.
How would you handle this?
- Scream, grab a beer from the fridge, pop the emergency slide and leave. -10 points
- Nod quietly, while imagining how it’d feel to shove someone out a 10th story window. -5 points
- Laugh, thinking the person is kidding (I did this once). +0 points
- Explain, calmly, why the title tag change would help. +5 points
- Write a detailed 2-page explanation of clickthru rates vs. ranking, the title tag’s importance to ranking, and the potential earnings impact. +10 points
- Produce the above report, since you knew this would happen and already wrote it. +20 points
Note: Do not come to me for advice on this topic. On a diplomacy scale, I rank somewhere between a manic wolverine and Joe Biden.
5. You’ve Got Complex Infrastructure
If your site uses a content management system (CMS), +5 points.
If your site uses two content management systems, +10 points.
If your site uses:
- Multiple CMS’s;
- An e-commerce platform;
- A discussion forum;
- Three different blogging packages set up by the last three CMOs (all with an average 2-month tenure); and
- An undocumented custom store location tool that was written in PERL 1 in 2000 and crashes if a store address has a space in it.
6. There’s Content Everywhere
Enterprise SEO isn’t just about challenges. There are some huge advantages, too. Big companies spawn heaping mounds of content:
- Sales training;
- Product documentation;
- Technical specifications;
- Knowledge bases;
- Marketing copy; and
- All other content imaginable.
Harvest all that stuff and you’ve got an SEO powerhouse.
If you’ve got more content resources than hours in a year, +20 points.
7. Size Doesn’t Matter (As Much As You Think)
Note what I left out of this test: Site size. Here’s why: I’ve seen plenty of 2-person companies with 100,000+ URL websites and none of the challenges/advantages I listed above. And, I’ve worked with many corporations that had anemic 50-page websites.
Enterprise SEO isn’t so much about big sites as it’s about big teams, big resources and complex challenges.
If you already knew this, +100 points. You’re an enterprise SEO.
Check my handy-dandy scoring matrix:
- 0-30 points: No enterprise SEO for you!
- 31-60 points: In the ballpark. Chances are, you’ve started the enterprise thing.
- 61-100 points: You’re a battle-scarred enterprise SEO veteran.
- 100+ points: Boba Fett gives you a respectful nod. You are an enterprise SEO machine.
Where This Post Came From (I Go Edgar Allen Poe)
Once a month, I write this column. My topic selection goes something like this:
- Have I written about this SEO challenge/problem/bugaboo before?
- Is it unique to large organizations?
- Does it make me grind my teeth down to small, flat, domino-shaped nubs?
Then I type furiously until done.
But every time, there’s a teeny voice in the back of my head. And it keeps getting louder, saying:
“Why is this ‘enterprise’ SEO?”
It’s my own personal Telltale Heart. Louder and louder, until finally, this week, as I sat and stared at my keyboard, I shrieked, “Enough already! I’ll tackle the question!”
And so, I wrote this list.
Leave your comments below, as always.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.