What is Enterprise SEO?
Enterprise SEO (or Corporate Level SEO as it is often referred to) is really a description of scope, scale, complexity, reach, involvement, communication and process. Even modestly sized companies can benefit from enterprise level SEO. To take advantage of SEO at this level, a company usually will have several separately managed departments that are regimented with a high level of processes and accountability…and typically a lot of red tape. It takes a broader range of proficiencies to be an Enterprise Level SEO Director than it does a small business SEO consultant. Usually, great deals of management skills are needed also.
I work these days primarily as a corporate, Enterprise SEO Director and it would be impossible for me to be successful at this level if it were not for my prior experience working within the corporate infrastructure in development, support and marketing. There is a higher measure of diligence, patience, communication, transparency and delegation needed at the Enterprise level than working at the boutique, agency or client level. In particular, I heavily rely on my experiences as a Director of Internet Marketing for my success. At the corporate level it’s no longer enough to create thorough plans for optimizing company websites and running sophisticated link building campaigns. Enterprise level SEOs have to work closely with other departments on strategic and tactical plans and work within the corporate framework of processes, policies, branding, budgets, etc.
Enterprise level SEO directors largely have a diplomatic role. Our main objective is to create and work on SEO initiatives that benefit the entire company, across all properties and have clear goals for ROI. We have a responsibility to make sure everyone understands our needs and that each employee and department is on board with visions and goals. We have to work towards getting key personnel and departments excited about the SEO expectations that are set and often we work as liaisons to other departments in order to accomplish goals.
Enterprise SEO means being part of the team
At the Enterprise level, SEO Directors are no longer in control of site assets. While working with clients, small businesses and agencies it was typical that I either outright owned or had carte blanche access to social media accounts, websites, source files, PPC and other marketing resources. Often the budget for SEO and social campaigns came out of petty cash or I was handed the company AMEX card or Paypal email address and told to submit a PO or receipt. At the corporate level this is typically not the case. Enterprise SEO Directors don’t have the reins. There are policies and procedures for getting changes made to a website, getting analytical reports and access for site traffic, sales, purchases and PPC. There are usually many hoops to jump through to get approval on most things.
As the Corporate Director of SEO I am responsible for yearly SEO plans that require expected costs for the entire year. I must plan appropriately and factor in expectations on company growth, market changes and potential impact from Google shifts and updates. I am also responsible for getting each department the individualized and personalized reporting they need. Each department in a corporation is different and needs reporting formatted to meet their requirements.
Transparency is critical to a successful corporate SEO strategy as well. The Corporate Director of SEO is tasked with ensuring each department works together, uses the same branded strategies and established vision and values are consistent across all marketing endeavors. Coordinated execution is critical. Promoted marketing initiatives that forego social, PR, partner or other elements can severely hamper the effectiveness of a dedicated SEO campaign. The Corporate Director of SEO is responsible for ensuring each marketing push contains all the necessary SEO elements and that each push is launched in approved and planned stages or scheduled times.
Enterprise level SEO necessitates that I act as a director and hold accountable members of other departments to deliverables, budgets, reporting, etc. I simply cannot accomplish the company’s SEO goals without getting each department to commit and deliver. Marketing, development, ecommerce, finance and IT can all have responsibilities that ultimately ensure the execution of a successful corporate SEO plan. It is my responsibility as the Enterprise Director of SEO to make sure every department is aware of their responsibilities to the overall corporate SEO plan and to hold each one of the departments accountable. In that sense I help to manage each department to minimize errors, confusion and delays.
Lastly, at the Enterprise level I am accountable for ROI. Do the forecasts and projections from the campaigns and marketing promotions meet expectations? Have the clearly defined goals been established and tracked accurately? Was the projected increase in social signals and/or back links met? What was the overall result? Was there an increase or decrease in rankings? How far off were projections? Did each department adhere to the branding guidelines and use approved verbiage, taglines, slogans, titles, descriptions, etc? If not, why? Did the dev team execute appropriately and produce error free, properly coded creatives? At this level I am responsible for reporting that details as much of the ROI as possible.
Is enterprise level SEO needed for your company?
This is definitely not an easy question to answer. There are numerous factors to consider, as explained in the sections above. Most of the time enterprise level SEO involves very competitive keyword phrases. It also usually involves several web properties, each with their own competitive phrases. However, even if a company only has one website and a small number of keyword phrases to compete for, if that company is large or has many departments then it could be ideally suited for an enterprise level SEO strategy and execution. It’s important to keep in mind that management plays a key role in SEO at the enterprise level.
Finding a qualified person to fill the role of Enterprise SEO Director can be difficult and expensive. Most Directors at this level have years of management experience and a solid portfolio of websites and companies they have worked with in the past. They also tend to be compensated at the very high end of the pay scale for SEO. Corporate Directors of SEO demand six figure salaries and many will ask for rev share.
- Some questions to ask when deciding whether Enterprise level SEO is needed are:
- Does your company have several departments that work independently?
- Do you have several websites or is your keyword phrase list you are working on very large?
- Does your business plan consist of projected major expansion and growth?
- Do you need to educate your employees on SEO best practices and be there to review changes, additions, social strategy and marketing execution?
- Do you have numerous high profile, competitors that need to be monitored?
- Would your company benefit from someone with the ability to report to the different departments on forecast models of trends, revenue, areas of growth or improvement and corporate wide analytics?
Got questions or comments? Feel there’s more to the Corporate Level SEO picture? Your feedback is valuable.