How to pick the right SEO solution for your large enterprise

 

By now you know Search Engine Optimisation is important for organisations of all sizes. But unless your website only consists of a couple pages, you may quickly realise keeping up to speed with SEO and constantly improving your pages cannot be done manually - at least not in a very efficient manner. If you are researching options to go pro for your company, this blog is for you.

There are a number of technologies available to assist with your search engine optimisation, of course. There are even some free tools that might work for simple websites. But the larger your organisation, the more of a structured and strategic effort SEO will take. Some of our clients run hundreds of websites in various markets with thousands of keywords.

Only a handful of enterprise level technologies are capable of managing that level of complexity. We looked at some. Here’s what we found.

Insights into customer journeys linked to search behavior and website performance help manage your online presence for B2B, B2C, ecommerce and informational product pages. By addressing content gaps, technical issues and related SEO fundamentals - which improve the customer journey - the expectation is to sustainably increase visibility, traffic, leads, and sales for your products and services across your brand(s). Instead of utilising (and paying for) a multitude of tools, technologies or agencies, we recommend a company-wide SEO solution that lets you compare and report on common metrics by product group, website category, geographic etc. on global HQs level in one platform.

Reminder: SEO technology helps you…

  • Optimize your website(s) to best perform on search engine result pages

  • Research best keywords to target in search marketing efforts and content strategies / campaigns

  • Stay up to date with search engine algorithm changes

  • Get comprehensive reports on website performance and ranking

  • Conduct research on competitor strategies and keywords


The case for an enterprise SEO solution - unification, simplification and a framework for constant improvement

Why should you consider deploying an enterprise level SEO platform? Here are some highlights.

  • Manage multiple tasks in one system. Comprehensive dashboards help monitor rankings, trends and competitors. Integration and prioritization of tasks, reporting, and user permissions offer substantial benefits.

  • Benefit from built-in diagnostics invaluable on global scale to identify site-wide issues across languages, countries or regions. Uncover macro and micro issues with pages and infrastructure (sometimes even before Google).

  • For companies with high numbers of websites, the cost of individual SEO tech/agencies is considerably higher (while also being less transparent and likely with fewer features) than a leading SEO enterprise solution deployed on headquarters level.

Considerations before you go all in

Let us briefly revisit what it takes to make enterprise SEO successful. Even the most useful SEO platforms do not fix issues by themselves - you need people to define & manage workflows, assign tasks to appropriate teams, and execute on opportunities accordingly and consistently. Choosing a capable technology is one thing - leveraging it to maximize your ROI is quite another.

Enterprise SEO platforms are also a significant investment, particularly for larger brands with hundreds of thousands of SKUs or product pages. Companies typically spend upwards of USD 10k /month in licensing fees, in addition to paying for installation and staff training to maximize value and utilisation.

Understanding your current marketing processes, knowing how to measure success, and being able to identify where you are looking for improvements, are all critical pieces of the SEO platform decision-making process. Enterprise SEO efforts take weeks to set up and months to generate tangible results. If SEO is a new initiative within your organisation, expect cultural shifts and workflow processes to be implemented and/or refined.

If this sounds like a lot of work and commitment, then you are right. However, expect the long term benefits to outweigh the initial efforts. Here is a simplified breakdown of tasks and corresponding groups of people you need to have available to run your program.

  • Enterprise platforms have integrated task management tools, but you need to provide the manpower to prioritize, manage and monitor tasks.

  • SEO tools mimic Google’s crawl of sites and find technical errors, but you need the IT resources to continuously address and correct them.

  • SEO tools identify content opportunities by analyzing content against competitors’, supporting keyword research, offering suggestions etc., but you need resources to review those suggestions, edit existing content and/or create new content.

  • Enterprise SEO is commonly placed into marketing, editorial or IT depending on nature of your business. You need to decide on an ‘owner’ and come up with a strategy to share the benefits and responsibilities across your entire organisation.

Picking the right vendor is no easy task

SEO landscape.JPG

There is not one best solution out there, unfortunately. But there are tools and technologies that fit individual organisations’ needs better than others. The landscape is vast, more than 100 vendors are competing for your business. When it comes to enterprise level SEO solutions however, your winning pick will come from a selection of maybe a dozen or so providers, all depending on your individual requirements and business goals.

Let’s look a some common platform features first. Most enterprise level SEO platforms offer the following core capabilities: Keyword research and rankings, Page-level SEO analysis and optimisation, Content optimisation analysis and writing assistance, Link (back-link) analysis and acquisition/removal, Social signal tracking,  Site error detection and alerts, Organic search traffic market share, Various levels of competitor analysis, International search results and rank tracking, and APIs for third-party data integration and management.

More advanced capabilities may also include: Daily site crawls, Search intent-based analysis, Universal search rankings: Featured Snippets, Knowledge Panels, Review, Local Packs, Images, Top Stores, Video, Tweets, Related Questions, Carousels (AMP), Content marketing analysis & performance tools, On-page content quality analysis, Competitive intelligence and benchmarking, Mobile/local analytics, as well as Cross-device attribution.

Since leading solutions typically have similar capabilities, factors that might influence your decision to pick one tool over the other will likely include things like: Quality / type of support, Ease of setup / ease of use, Number of users / global scalability, and Pricing structure / value compared to contenders.

Here are top rated SEO solutions based on G2 Crowd & TrustRadius customer reviews and recent Forrester research in the mid-to-large company segment. If you are representing a sizable organisation with large number of websites, spread across different markets, countries, languages etc. and are looking for a single solution to help you manage SEO, your future provider will likely be featured in one or more of the below graphics.

It would be somewhat irresponsible of us to single out specific ones without knowing more about your business setup, background and individual challenges. Feel free to contact us and we will help you by conducting more research, contact contenders, schedule demos and negotiate terms on your behalf. We maintain profiles of (and connections with) some of the most popular and capable solutions available in the market today, incl. but not limited to Searchmetrics, Conductor, Brightedge, SEMrush, MOZ, Ahrefs, Siteimprove, seoClarity and others.

Again, what you have learned so far is applicable if your goal is to combine the SEO efforts of your organisation in one tool, with roll-up reporting and global level of comprehension. But what if an enterprise solution is not (yet) an option for you?

Well, you could always start of small, inexpensive and without long term commitment by availing of SEO tech with limited internal resources. Some solutions offer free trials and even free - though very limited - starter plans. For a couple of basic projects/campaigns/domains budget for about USD 200 / month. Starter plans do typically not include client services or on-boarding training, but many offer quite extensive online resources including training paths (with or without certification) and user communities.

If you end up having multiple technologies and/or agencies managing SEO within your organisation, you should at least agree on universal KPIs in order to be able to compare performance for same time frames and metrics (e.g. traffic, traffic acquisition, visitor engagement, landing page performance, unified goal conversion, domain authority or keyword ranking). You can then use data visualisation tools (data studio, klipfolio, etc.) to track progress, comprehend, report and display data.

Keep in mind you will still need project champions who own the program, and a network of contacts to execute on opportunities (IT for technical SEO, content creators, etc.). Some additional disadvantages with the lower end setup are limited scalability, absence of strategic vendor support, limited functionality and difficulties establishing a unified company-wide way of working incl. training, sharing best practices etc. This solution is also only really economical for limited amount of trial runs, not company-wide rollout.

As always, we are looking forward to your feedback and questions.

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