Life in the enterprise can sometimes be challenging. Some days there are so many meetings you’d think somebody somewhere makes a commission every time an office worker schedules a new meeting. There are often pre-meetings to discuss a meeting, then a post-meeting to discuss the actual meeting and to schedule the next meeting.
On top of the office life challenges such as meeting fatigue that many office workers face, SEOs in the enterprise are faced with additional challenges such as rallying everyone in the enterprise to pull together towards natural search success. While many SEO challenges require ongoing attention and bear incremental improvements, others can be more easily remedied with the appropriate care and attention.
With that background, we present five common mistakes SEOs make in the enterprise. If you find you are making these mistakes and successfully remedy them, we think you will achieve a significant improvement in your SEO practice.
1) Underestimate the Importance of Evangelism
Solution: Start Using Evangelism to Get the Buy-In You Need
As a general statement, most marketing budget holders have a fairly definitive point of view on their willingness to invest in a particular marketing channel. For various reasons that include its origins as a technical discipline and greater difficulty tying ROI to it than other channels, SEO is somewhat unique in that budget holders can be influenced to invest in search provided the stakeholder does a sufficient job continuously and persuasively evangelizing SEO.
Unfortunately, many SEOs underestimate the impact persistent evangelism can have either because they are convinced the budget holders mind is unchangeable or because they are not armed with the right metrics, statistics and case studies.
For a detailed plan on how to make a strong case to management to invest in SEO see: A 90-Day Plan to Get the SEO Budget You Need. Then, go out and get yourself the executive buy-in you need to succeed.
2) Fail to Identify the Unique Reporting Requirements of the Stakeholder
Solution: Wait for it – Identify the Unique Reporting Requirements of the Stakeholder (Sorry)
In all seriousness, in our experience at Conductor, we’ve found that SEOs most often approach enterprise reporting with a faulty assumption: a one size fits all reporting scheme works for everyone.
Sometimes that’s just not the case. The VP wants X, the Director of e-commerce wants Y, while the content creators want Z. And, to make matters worse, sometimes they don’t yet know what they don’t yet know. That is, they don’t yet know that ‘different’, even if only slightly ‘different’, reporting would make an immense difference in their insight into their business.
That means that it’s your job to:
- Start by asking if the current reporting they are receiving maps to the view they want/need of their business.
- No matter the answer to #1, come prepared with some alternative views of the online landscape for the stakeholder to consider. As a general statement, the higher up the food chain the stakeholder, the higher level view they want. (e.g. an executive wants a ‘high level’ view of search performance whereas an individual contributor may want a keyword level view).
The Vice President View:
The Director of E-Commerce View:
The ‘Practitioner’ View:
For more on how to start taking your reporting to the next level for your stakeholders, see this great resource: How to Guide: 3 Ways to Advance Maturity in Your SEO Metrics.
3) Fail to Involve Themselves Early Enough in the Content Creation Process
Solution: Take a Second Look at How You Approach Content Creators
It’s only natural that when SEOs approach content creators to incorporate SEO early on in the content creation process that content creators feel nervous about what they perceive to be somebody horning in on their turf, telling them how their creation process needs to change. This can be a challenging and persistent hurdle that can put a serious crimp in making headway in natural search.
For the key to overcoming this challenge we turn, obviously, to the world of mathematics. The key formula we need to know is:
Persistence x Soft Touch = Success
Be persistent in not taking no for an answer, but at the same time, have a soft touch by showing content creators you are ‘friend’ and not ‘foe’. Show them that your (early) involvement in the content creation process is in their best interest because it will lead to their content being seen by more eyeballs. Whenever possible, use a case study or metrics that show your early involvement will help them.
If you take nothing else from this section, walk away with the notion that if you are not having success in being involved early in the content creation process take a second look at your approach.
4) Fail to Sufficiently Educate the Organization on SEO Best Practices
Solution: Get your teach on!
Unless you have somehow invented a machine to clone yourself into 17 people (in which case you’d—all of you?–would be on a beach somewhere sipping mai-tais and not reading this blog) you can’t write all the content, you can’t publish all the press releases and you can’t tune all the web servers.
But, you can train content creators how to leverage SEO best practices, you can talk to PR about how to incorporate links in press releases and you can schmooze the tech folks over lunch about the importance of site speed as a ranking factor. Effective training and education multiplies the effect of your own SEO efforts by ensuring the organization is pulling in the same direction: towards natural search success.
5) Fail to Establish an SEO Center of Excellence
Solution: Become the Point Person for Search Related Matters
There are elements of establishing an SEO Center of Excellence we covered in the previous steps, and this step arguably takes the most effort of all, but it is so important it bears risking repetition to repeat it again repeatedly. (Sorry. Again.)
Remember that brainiac in 12 grade calculus everybody flocked to whenever they had a homework question or for help studying for an exam? Sure, during lunch he got stuffed in a locker because he was a bit of a geek but he was known for having the right answers about one particular subject and he was the place people turned to when they needed help.
Now, I’m not saying you should try to get yourself stuffed into a locker (unless both you and your workplace are ok with that kind of thing), but you do want to get the word out that you are the place to go for all things SEO.
For ad-hoc reporting.
For training and education.
For tactical consulting.
This may require developing some latent parts of your personality such as your inner salesperson, town crier, and cheerleader, but the benefits are that there will be a central place for people to turn to for help, and a voice that is getting the word out about SEO.
Our experience at Conductor, working with enterprises of all shapes and sizes, has been that those who have been successful at establishing a center of excellence are those organizations that have generally seen the most success in natural search.
Hopefully even if not every step above is applicable to you, a few ideas have sparked some thinking about how you might improve upon you SEO practice in the enterprise.
To further increase your success in the enterprise, run don’t walk, and download this guide: Your SEO Success is Dependent on Engaging Non-SEOs
As for me, I have to go get ready for a pre-meeting meeting.