When it comes to search engine optimisation, sometimes a little knowledge can prove rather deadly with many marketers looking to save time- and money- by learning the basics of SEO themselves and then applying their learnings to their website, often causing more harm than good. Whether your website consists of 1000 pages or 50,000, it is important for the long term success of any website to have a clear SEO strategy in place, and with that comes the importance of recognising when to hire an agency to help!
An enterprise website doesn’t need to be owned by a huge company. It’s defined by the number of URLs or pages it has on its website. Unlike a regular SEO strategy for a smaller site that may have a few people working on applying SEO best practises, an enterprise SEO is a collaborative strategy, and can involve a skilled in-house team as well as the ongoing support of a specialised agency, due to the expertise, skillset and workload required.
We explore what it takes to put together and execute a successful enterprise SEO strategy, as well as the advantages and disadvantages faced by many large websites when it comes to ensuring consistency in their SEO approach.
First, let’s cover the topic of enterprise SEO and why it is designed specifically for enterprise companies…
What Is Enterprise SEO?
Enterprise SEO is a digital marketing approach that involves both an in-depth and higher-level approach to optimising and maintaining websites with 10,000’s of web pages at any one time. Typically, the strategy is one part of a much bigger marketing strategy, with SEO being just one of the channels that the company uses to measure success and reach targets with. Enterprise companies are typically brands that have a global presence and feature on the fortune 1000- basically, big enough to invest heavily in their online presence. However, enterprise SEO is less about the size of the company and more about the size of the website.
Companies that use an enterprise SEO approach will have recognised the importance of the channel as its own entity, hiring experts in the SEO field to handle the ongoing organic performance of the website. Unlike the more granular approach behind an SEO strategy aimed at small websites, enterprise SEO tends to blend a heady mix of both granular details as well as a higher-level approach, with attention to detail and data-crunching being a large part of the strategy.
Enterprise SEO is a strategy specifically for all types of larger websites, whether they’re e-commerce-focused or a news publishing site, websites that are continually publishing new content and creating new URLs will need to have a water-tight approach for optimising content.
As with most things, there are both advantages and disadvantages to having a large website, which need to be considered when creating an enterprise SEO strategy…
The Advantages of Having An Enterprise Website
- Domain authority: it is likely that the site will have good domain authority, due to a number of factors including the age of the website, consistent publishing of new content and…
- The backlink profile: one of the biggest benefits to consist and regular publishing of content is obtaining new links from various other websites. Backlink profiles on enterprise websites tend to be huge, assisting the website’s rankings in search engines.
- Huge Potential For Keyword Targeting: with more topics covered, there is a much greater opportunity for ranking in Google for thousands of additional keywords.
- Potential to impact 1000’s of URLs: The potential for 1000’s of pages to be well-optimised and indexed in SERPs is far greater with a large website. Applying an SEO effective strategy with a large website, there is a far greater potential to make small changes that make a dramatic impact on the visibility of a site in search results.
- Search Results Domination: Enterprise websites stand far greater chances for appearing in position 0, or top in search results, dominating their competitors with the featured snippet positions and enhancing their online presence further
As with most things, there are also some disadvantages to having a large website…
Disadvantages of An Enterprise Website
- Expectations vs Reality of 1000’s of URLs: Whilst it may be the ultimate goal for an enterprise company to have as many web pages as possible, with so many live URLs it can sometimes feel like a thankless task applying changes to them – particularly if the change is either so small or doesn’t have the desired impact on visibility. Having so many pages to make changes to is a mammoth task and should only be handled by experts due to the huge impact these changes can have.
- Too many URLs = A Huge Risk: Having so many URLs can also be detrimental to a websites’ performance if the wrong SEO decisions are taken such as putting in place the wrong 302 or 301 redirects. Whilst having maximum potential to change things across multiple URLs for the better, the opposite can also happen, leaving a site vulnerable to poor decisions and badly executed work.
- Keeping track of keyword trends: Whilst it may seem ideal, having the opportunity to target and optimise for so many keywords- it also comes at a disadvantage. With so many keywords to target and optimise for, it becomes harder to manage ranking positions and prioritising exposure for certain keyword phrases becomes more difficult which can lead to keyword cannibalisation.
- Dealing With Data: It is vital to meticulously study the analytics or data side of a larger website, keeping a finger on the pulse when it comes to analysing the ongoing performance, traffic volumes and other areas of the website. If this is ignored, small incremental drops in traffic can go unnoticed.
Whilst most of the disadvantages are factors that can be controlled and even prevented with the right strategy- and team- in place, these mistakes are far too common in older, more established company websites who have yet to invest in their SEO efforts. Aside from hiring an expert agency to help with the workload and initial planning, when it comes to succeeding in enterprise SEO, there are a few things to consider when creating a bullet-proof SEO plan:
First is keyword selection. As we touched upon when it comes to having a huge website the opportunity to appear for hundreds of keyword phrases is far greater. This is where there should be a clear strategy for optimising certain categories or topics across with a clear structure for related, longer-tail and even phrase match keywords. A great example of an enterprise site using this keyword-targeted approach is eBay, as their mega navigation aims to target the more popular search categories made on the site;
The site then goes one step further, targeting category keywords and longer-tail phrases with their breadcrumbs, once a user has started browsing;
CMS Automation For Pages
Leaving no room for human error, if an enterprise company has seriously invested in a custom CMS, then there will typically be an automation process in place that will ensure the meta tags, URL structure, canonical tags, markup data, and even category selection will be automated, leaving minimal room for error when a new page is created. Ensuring title tags, categories and even URL structure are, all the same, doesn’t sound like a hard guideline for editors to stick to but imagine having 15 different CMS editors uploading 100’s of new items every day? Suddenly there is much more room for error when automation is not in place. Imagine having to correct 1000’s of pages that haven’t stuck to the desired structure? For enterprise websites, this is far more common than you may think!
Automation is a great way to create multiple pages at one time, sticking to the desired page template, however, it can leave the site at greater risk for duplicating content which has a detrimental effect on search engine optimisation.
Making sure you have prioritised the tasks that matter most to your overall strategy is vital for making changes rather quickly. Focusing on the tasks that will have the greatest impact to your business an important part of creating a great enterprise strategy that is going to deliver the results expected. If you spend time focusing on tasks that are not going to deliver a longer-term impact, the more important factors will continue to go neglected and may cause further issues.
Communication is key when it comes to working with a team on any kind of strategy, so ensure that every individual involved in contributing to an SEO plan are aware of their own tasks as well as the overarching goal you are looking to achieve. Updating internal and external clients is also imperative for overall buy-in as well as keeping them informed of any work you are planning.
Of course, once the tasks are completed, it should be best practise to make these changes in staging, to ensure accuracy before pushing live. Working collaboratively with web devs, content publishers as well as SEO experts, on an enterprise SEO strategy will ensure not only will the team start to see quick results from their hard work, but it also ensures everyone is working towards the same goals, maintaining motivation throughout the project.
Work With The SEO Experts
Whilst we have touched on a few of the main factors to consider when creating a waterproof SEO strategy, one of the most important parts is hiring experts to help execute the strategy. Most successful enterprise companies will have a team of experts behind the scenes of their website, working with an SEO-specific agency who can impart wisdom and have experience when it comes to creating strategies for websites on a large scale.
Hiring an SEO consultant or SEO agency will not only significantly reduce room for error and avoid making many of the mistakes we have touched upon, but it will ultimately save time and more importantly, money, as the right processes will be put in place from the beginning, removing any margins for error and ensuring the website has the greatest chance for growth in search engines.