Enterprise SEO comes with many challenges.
Larger organizations often have many people working across many offices that aren’t on the same page.
Even when these individuals have aligned their goals, past optimization may become problematic.
It’s not uncommon for legacy systems to be in place, old micro-sites eating up resources or simply not having the right friends in the IT department to make crucial changes necessary on the enterprise level.
Several issues and challenges can – and will – pop up over time.
What follows are 11 of the most common SEO challenges – and solutions – you’ll come across when working with large enterprises.
1. Enterprises with legacy or proprietary CMS systems in place
Old CMS systems cause major headaches. You’ll find some departments don’t have access to these systems, some will have SEO services while others do not, and the learning curve for these systems is high.
Learn what the system can do and start outlining how to perform these tasks. A few things to learn about that come to mind are:
- Structured data
- Redirect options
- Internal link options
- Template designs
- Sitewide edits
- Plugin options
- Ability to edit <head> data
If you can’t perform these tasks, you may want to consider a system update or maybe even migrating to a new CMS.
Enterprises may be using the wrong tools for the job, which is often due to false promises from sales teams. However, many tools cannot offer the refinement necessary to work well across multiple teams.
First, you’ll need to analyze all of the tools in use to find those that benefit the organization and those holding you back. Then, sit down with vendors, discuss enterprise options and eliminate tools that don’t offer the functionality enterprises need for search engine optimization.
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3. Improper content deployment leads to lost opportunities
Content is only useful when it’s deployed correctly. A major issue with enterprises is the lost opportunity to capitalize on news and trends because of bad deployment strategies.
Find ways to get everyone to align their content goals. A few things you need to do here are:
- Build out a content calendar for the entire organization
- Put governance models in place
- Create and update workflows
Finally, outline who the content needs to go through: editors, writers and final approvers. Once you have workflows built out, you can begin deploying content faster to capitalize on timely news and trends.
Also, don’t forget to have procedures to avoid duplicate meta titles, keyword cannibalization and other issues.
4. Micro-sites eating up resources
It’s not uncommon for enterprises to have microsites that they build over time. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to manage all of these sites.
Microsites are an excellent opportunity to gain links and provide focused information, but they eat up a lot of resources. Ideally, you’ll consolidate these sites to your main site and ensure that all stakeholders are part of the transition process.
5. Lack of communication and cohesion among groups
When multiple teams and groups are involved, your job as an SEO is a lot more difficult. Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to find cohesion among groups.
Enterprise SEO requires you to have deep relationships with people in the organization, and this means that you need to engage with managers and teams that go beyond your own. A few things you’ll want to do here are:
- Network with others in the enterprise
- Begin forming common goals
- Engage with others about changes
- Use communication and collaboration tools
Your goal is to get everyone on the same page to make the integral changes the organization needs to reach its SEO goals.
6. Development teams not buying into SEO strategies
Development teams must buy into your SEO strategy, but it’s an uphill battle to ensure that they do. Thankfully, a few tips can help you get IT departments to buy into your strategy.
First and foremost, these departments and teams are crucial to the enterprise’s technical SEO. You’ll need to work alongside multiple stakeholders every day, but some of the most important will be those in the development and IT departments.
You’ll want to:
- Become friends with these teams
- Discuss your plans and issues
- Work through solutions that these teams can offer you
Working closely with development teams is one of the best things you can do to help an enterprise reach its SEO goals. Also, one thing that works exceptionally well to stress the importance of working together is to share your “wins” with the development team.
For example, share these wins with them if they helped you scale-up servers and make speed optimization tweaks to better rankings and results. Explain what their work helped you accomplish and praise them during meetings.
7. The “it works” mindset
Sales are going up, and when the company continues to grow, management is often reluctant to change or add to their marketing budget because what’s in place already “works.” This mindset is problematic when trying to get teams to buy-in.
If you want to get people to buy into your strategy and push your strategy further, everyone needs to buy-in. You’ll need to take a unique approach with everyone involved here, but it should include:
- Showing results
- Creating charts and graphs on how changes are impacting business
- Sharing user stories when their experience improves
Teams want to know that the work they’re doing is effective and helping the business grow. People buy in when they see results, and if you can’t show these results just yet, run projections on how these changes will positively impact the enterprise.
8. Lack of governance
A lack of governance can quickly lead to chaos for current and future SEO teams. If the enterprise lacks governance, it’s up to you to make key changes.
Businesses need rules to help them maintain the highest level of quality and meet standards. You may have governance for multiple areas of the enterprise, including step-by-step rules and procedures that must be followed by:
- Content teams
- Publishing teams
Governance includes policies, standards and processes that must be followed with precision. When you have the right governance in place, it ensures that everyone is following the “rules.” If future teams are brought in, they can continue following the governance principles you have in place.
When done properly, governance will help create a cohesive digital strategy, promotes web accessibility, reduces errors and bugs and helps the enterprise maintain consistency.
Enterprises expect to make a return on their investment. And SEO is an investment that needs to be tracked to show its effectiveness. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t have tools in place to track the results of their campaigns.
Managers and owners want to see results. If you’re unable to show them how your work impacts business, you will quickly find yourself out of a job. Use tools to track:
- When changes are made
- How changes are impacting business
- Run reports on effectiveness
If you can show that SEO provides value, it’s a lot easier to have everyone in the organization buy into your plans and strategies.
10. Lack of redirect control
Redirects for an enterprise can quickly get out of hand and cause more harm to an SEO campaign than good. This is a topic I’ve discussed quite often in the past in my other articles on redirect mistakes, and it must be addressed early on.
Redirects need control, and a few things to do immediately to get them under control are:
- Run crawlers to locate all redirects
- Fix broken redirects or loops
- Create a redirect database
- Create governance over redirects
Finally, you’ll also want to have one final person approve redirects that can double-check to ensure that they’re not causing any potential issues.
11. Overlooking technical SEO issues
Technical SEO is a huge part of working with enterprises because there are just so many moving parts of a large corporation that you’ll be exposed to. While technical aspects of SEO may not be fun or exciting, they are crucial to address.
If technical SEO has been ignored, it’s time to get things in order and work on:
- Improving site speed
- Creating an internal link structure
- Scanning and correcting crawl errors
- Fixing any issues with duplication
- Putting canonical tags in place
- Lowering server response time
Often, the “small” issues with technical SEO go overlooked and pile up over time. If you correct these problems early on, you’ll have a much easier time reaching your optimization goals.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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