<< by on September 13th, 2011
The perfect follow up to my early morning session, Marcie Baetcke, Barbara Coll, Warren Lee and Michael Martin spoke about the other side of enterprise search engine marketing, SEO. This session covered the unique problems that face enterprise-level SEO, and the best practices for overcoming those challenges.
Warren Lee – SEO Manager for Adobe
Mr. Lee started off by pointing out 3 critical areas for SEO team involvement:
- New content / new product offerings / planning future changes
- Redesigns / fixing / updating to current best practices
- Developing new SEO projects / measuring results / reporting wins
By looking at these three areas and seeing how they fit, or don’t fit, together you can find potential holes in your SEO program.
One solution to this, especially when developing new content, is staying ahead of new changes. Developing integrated processes can help prevent problems with your SEO program before they occur. Make sure everyone involved with the development process are connected, not necessarily directly, but in a flow chart type way across the organization.
Mr. Lee also said that there are 3 pillars for SEO best practices:
Together, these pillars support your SEO efforts. All three are needed to help give your SEO project the best chances for success. Mr. Lee also mentioned that creating a culture of SEO within your organization is essential. Being transparent with your metrics can help create this culture.
To summarize and put emphasis on a few points, Mr. Lee ended by saying SEO should be involved early and often across the areas mentioned earlier (new content, support, and development). By taking these proactive steps you can keep your SEO project ahead of the curve and prevent coordination issues before they occur.
Barbara Coll – CEO of WebMama.com Inc.
Ms. Coll explained that the methodology of WebMama.com is “Never leave it up to the search engines. Tell them exactly what you want to see in search results”. She went on to say that your goal is to dominate.
- Tactical Goals
- Be present when needed
- Online sales
- Lead generation for direct and channel sales
- Strategic Goals
- Category ownership
- Keep the customers happy
- Solve a problem that new customers need a solution for
VMware is the example client Ms. Coll chose for her presentation. They have a fully optimized and indexed website, all of their media and activities already have written guidelines, and they are keeping up with changes as they occur. In addition, VMware uses 15 different platforms to manage their virtual properties.
Despite all of the guidelines listed above, rigid SEO plans do not work. You must be flexible. If you try to write guidelines and structures as new trends occur, you can’t react fast enough. Let people be creative. Write guidelines along the way, and continue to educate all departments within the organization about changes.
Support in VMware’s industry comes in different flavors. People need support for many different reasons. VMware’s support content can be found a lot of different ways. To handle this problem, VMware uses many subdomains. All of them must be fully optimized in order to dominate the results page for a search for “vmware support”.
- Influencing Search Results
- Internal linking – most important
- Keyword distribution decisions
- Content writing
- Webmaster tools
- What VMware did to optimize:
- Infrastructure optimized for search friendliness
- SEO components present for keywords
- Content optimized for relevant keywords
She also put a lot of stress on the fact that one great link can make a bigger difference in ranking than random link building.
Marcie Baetcke – SEO and Alternative Media Director at Gannett Digital
Ms. Baetcke pushed a “scope and resources drive approach” to enterprise SEO.
- Ask yourself:
- How many sites are you responsible for?
- How large and complex are the sites?
- Do you have a staff?
- Is there a generous budget?
- This will dictate your approach:
- Do it yourself
- “Teach to fish” (the approach used by Gannett)
Create urgency with executives. Numbers talk, make it simple. Show that SEO is about the bottom line, and that it is achievable. Why? High-level executive buy-in is critical for enterprise SEO. They might not understand it. Don’t talk about SEO, just use real numbers. “x% increase = $xxx increase”
Find and grow your champions. These champions are people who support your SEO efforts and want them to succeed. Look for them at these levels of the organization:
- Corporate level
- Senior executives – these guys have to be happy in order to move forward
- Division executive – VP’s who make decisions on a more specific level
- The glue – project management
- Team members – product managers, developers, designers
- Local Level
- Local executive – allocate resources and prioritize
- SEO Ambassadors – these are the people within the client’s organization who will really help you move the SEO program forward
Ms. Baetcke also pushed the importance of establishing guiding principles:
- Create a culture of search
- Create a scalable solution
- Develop an organic system
- Place heavy emphasis on community
- Create dispersed expertise
She also stressed developing an overall strategy:
- SEO Best Practices
- Address the “3 C’s” of SEO
- Measure and Improve
Show that you have a plan in place, and make it visual. No high level executive wants to read a huge SEO plan. It may help to develop a separate plan for yourself, and a simpler one for the person you are presenting to. This will help get people on-board at all levels of the organization. It can also be helpful to show some “quick win” examples. Create a list or chart of items you can fix quickly, even if they won’t necessarily change results that quickly.
It can also be helpful to dispel myths about SEO. Stress SEO fundamentals with examples. Train the right people, and target your training to the audience. Communicate often, and to all levels.
Michael Martin – Sr. SEO at Covario
Even some very large organizations have very small SEO teams, and sometimes even just one person tackling the effort.
Enterprise SEO has a large breadth. It isn’t just about getting people to the site, there is a lot more to it, including awareness, consideration, purchase, service, and loyalty.
Mr. Martin pushed the idea of “Katamari”, which basically means starting small and building yourself up. Find a niche in your SEO project. Once you are successful in one area, you can build out to cover more. It is all about scale.
How do you build up in scale? SEO is a process, not a project. Enterprise often involves multiple projects. This requires agile project management. Being able to react and adapt quickly is key to this process.
The justification process is also hugely important for enterprise SEO. CEO’s don’t buy into things without numbers. Again, show success in one area and you can build out later.
- Pre-support all initiatives with monetary and numerical business opportunity
- Scale with Katamari and agile project management
- Justify enterprise efforts with RIO and funnel breakdown