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Four SEO Killers for the Corporate Enterprise

At Pure Visibility, we’ve worked with SEO clients of all shapes and sizes over the years, but more and more of our work is done on behalf of corporate marketing teams. And even though all of the same SEO principles and best practices apply to engagements of this scale, many corporate environments present unique hurdles to successfully delivering “Enterprise SEO“.

Here’s a list of some that are, unfortunately, among the most common and most painful.  If you’re in the ranks of corporate marketing, I’m sure many of these will ring a bell.

Enterprise SEO Killer #1: Necessary Enterprise SEO Resources Are Spread Far and Wide

SEO draws upon a wide array of talent and resources to be successful. Chances are, the larger the organization, the more likely it is that these key ingredients are fragmented across various business units, divisions and departments (each with their own budgets, project calendars, etc.).  Aligning them all in support of your SEO effort is a challenge under even the best of circumstances.

Enterprise SEO Killer #2: The Corporate SEO Project Lacks the Proper “Champion”

In a way, this is really a corollary of Enterprise SEO Killer #1. Search engine optimization is only one of many marketing initiatives that a sophisticated enterprise will probably engage in.

I would argue, however, that few marketing activities draw from as many teams and budgets, when done properly, as SEO.  Consequently, an SEO project needs a champion that has enough influence to assemble the sort of cross-functional team needed to get the job done. Few in a corporate setting have the oversight and clout to coordinate the various moving parts in an efficient, timely fashion (if at all!).

Enterprise SEO Killer #3: Competing Priorities Constantly Challenge Corporate SEO Progress

Unfortunately, a corporation’s website isn’t usually owned by the SEO team (Correction: is NEVER owned by the SEO team). Stakeholders too numerous to mention across the organization have designs for every scrap of digital real estate available.

More likely than not, they probably don’t know (or even care) one bit about your SEO program. Perhaps the IT team wants to upgrade or replace the CMS; or HQ wants to broaden the countries and languages addressed by the website; or corporate marketing has new “messaging” they want to deploy… any one of these could easily unravel every shred of SEO progress made if you’re not careful.

Enterprise SEO Killer #4: Fiscal Year Budgets Aren’t Responsive to SEO Discoveries

Even if you have a fairly mature, stable SEO program going, new and emerging issues arise in this discipline at least every quarter (if not every week), but most corporate SEO budgets are fixed on an annual basis.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to swap or shuffle program funding to get what you need. Otherwise, you’re dead in your tracks unless you can make a compelling case to someone above you with deeper pockets.

In light of the “Enterprise SEO Killers” described above, here are some takeaways for the corporate marketer wanting to keep his or her SEO project alive in the coming year:

  1. Make friends across departmental lines. Get to know the webmaster or IT team, the corporate communication team, product marketing teams, etc.
  2. Earn the trust and support of someone who has sway over the resources necessary to get your SEO project done. This will likely involve “selling” the value of SEO from an ROI perspective.
  3. Always be planning ahead, particularly from a budget perspective. Catch wind of a CMS upgrade or “marketecture” revamp in the coming year?  Defend budget (if you can) so that SEO can make a meaningful contribution.

Got a good corporate SEO horror story to share?  Please shoot me a comment below, but leave out the names to protect the innocent! :-)

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About Jeremy Lopatin

Jeremy was Director of Product Development and head of the SEO team at Pure Visibility until November 2013. You can find him on Google+, LinkedIn, and on Twitter as @jeremylopatin.

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