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The Business Case For Enterprise SEO

Insights June 5, 2018

Key Points

    • Enterprise Search Engine Optimization allows a brand to dominate an entire business category
    • It reaches customers at all stages of the customer journey through organic search
    • It incorporates on- and off-page optimization, keyword research, competitive analysis and more
    • It expands and protects a brand’s existing search footprint against algorithmic fluctuations
    • It builds a foundation for effective response in the event of a future reputation crisis

What is Enterprise SEO?

Enterprise SEO is a strategic approach founded on your brand’s goals as a business, your website’s unique position within the landscape of Google search, and the larger context of Google’s current capabilities and evolutionary trajectory.

It avoids the common pitfalls of conventional SEO programs and allows a brand to dominate an entire business category, reaching customers at all stages of the customer journey through organic search. A well-executed Enterprise SEO program also protects a brand’s existing search footprint against fluctuations in Google’s algorithm and builds a foundation for effective response in the event of a future reputation crisis.

Mapping keyword spaces: organic search and the customer journey

In the early days of search, SEO companies focused on optimizing and ranking for individual keywords. Over time, Google’s understanding of search terms has evolved. Between 2013’s Hummingbird query architecture and 2016’s RankBrain machine learning algorithm, the search engine is able to understand semantic relationships between words and phrases and to interpret the intent behind a search rather than simply searching for documents containing the exact search term. While most SEOs are intimately familiar with both Hummingbird and RankBrain, old habits die hard. Today’s SEO programs either target single keywords or small categories directly aligned with specific products, looking through a microscope at the expense of the bigger picture, or they take a holistic approach that may provide some broad lift but is unable to move the needle on more competitive–and more valuable–terms.

Both of these approaches make some sense given the challenges of performing scaled SEO, particularly link acquisition, as links remain one of Google’s most important ranking signals. However, it ends up ignoring larger opportunities to reach customers at all stages of their journey, rather than trying to capture them only when searching for a specific product. Failing to account for research-based keywords gives competitors a window to steal potential customers away before they even encounter your brand. Branded search deserves equal attention, to ensure customers are seeing what you want them to when they search for information about your brand.

Enterprise SEO services treat these broad categories of keywords–research, product/service, and brand–as areas with significant overlap and size that varies depending on the space and brand in question.

While specific searches may be more likely to result in a purchase than others, a search in any category is a chance to showcase your brand to a potential customer, potentially leading to a transaction.

The benefits of Enterprise SEO

Because of its broad, holistic application, Enterprise SEO delivers value to your business in a variety of ways, some obvious and some less so.

Dominate a keyword vertical

The primary advantage of an enterprise-level SEO program is that it presents a brand to searchers at every stage of the customer journey, helping to establish the brand as a trusted, familiar resource for consumers. It’s naturally tempting to focus SEO efforts on product and category pages that directly drive revenue, but that type of narrow focus neglects opportunities to build trust with potential customers–and leaves the door open for competitors to do so. It also leaves a brand vulnerable to reputation issues, such as bad reviews, which may cause consumers to have second thoughts when they’re making a final purchase decision.

Enterprise SEO offers the best of both worlds: a holistic approach to on-page optimization and content creation coupled with the ability to perform highly targeted influencer outreach that can be broadly impactful across the most lucrative pages and most competitive keyword terms. This approach earns a site organic traffic from a wide and varied set of keywords, from large, competitive head terms to lower volume and long-tail keywords that, in aggregate, may exceed the search volume of head terms.

Enterprise SEO as a holistic solution.

[Click image to enlarge.]

Optimizing holistically alongside scaled link acquisition has additional advantages:

  • It ensures no SEO value is lost due to poor on-page implementation. The links earned to your site distribute their value in the most efficient way possible, maximizing the impact of your outreach.
  • On-page and content optimizations can help an article or evergreen resource page rank for a broad array of keywords that may not be as competitive as high-volume product-based searches. Particularly with searches where users are clearly looking for information, it’s often possible to rank a page based solely on quality and relevance of content, without direct links from external publishers.
  • Outreach is provided some flexibility. Not only can informational pages be used as collateral in strategic outreach campaigns, a team armed with the proper technology and expertise can sprinkle targeted links at high-value pieces of informational content, pushing them over the top into prime ranking positions.
Case Study: Share of Voice
Weekly Visibility

Using the core elements of a holistic Enterprise SEO strategy, a newer website in a competitive industry saw dramatic increases in share of voice in the search engines. A concentration on highly-targeted content, high-quality link building, and clean site architecture — timed with a core Google algorithm update — resulted in a surge in visibility (represented in the chart) across 1,574 keywords, 264.28% traffic growth and 263.10% user growth.

Protect your brand

Branded searches are common throughout the customer journey but most concentrated–and valuable–on the tail end, where consumers are performing due diligence and reading up on a brand and its products. Branded searches typically return a mix of different results, including web properties owned by the brand (e.g. website, social media profiles) and by third parties (e.g. reviews, Wikipedia pages, news articles).

Results throughout page one of Google search results receive attention and clicks.

While the top results generally still earn the largest individual share of traffic, positions throughout page one earn clicks. Furthermore, non-click impressions can be extremely valuable for shaping the perception of your brand–just as people may skim newspaper headlines, they may skim the search results before ultimately deciding what to click through and read. Particularly in today’s era of clickbait, even a nuanced article can have a misleading headline that affects how people think about a brand. The more of your brand’s search results you control, the better protected you are.

Shoring up this landscape with owned properties and preferred content from other sites (e.g. positive editorial reviews) is crucial to controlling the message people receive about you and to protecting brand equity against an unforeseen crisis. Enterprise SEO proactively fills out this portion of your digital footprint in order to control as many variables as possible in the landscape of branded search; it also positions you to mitigate sales losses and speed recovery in the event of a crisis.

Case Study: Owning Branded Search
Company A is a well-known financial/investment brand. Relying heavily on their website as a top lead generation channel and with negative articles appearing in branded search results, Company A approached Terakeet to improve their online reputation and increase search visibility. Twelve months of site optimization and link building dramatically improved the sentiment of branded results and seized substantial search market share.

Enhance your other marketing efforts

Organizational buy-in is a familiar pitfall for SEOs, another reason why traditional programs tend to be narrowly focused. The enterprise approach requires buy-in and integration across teams (e.g. PR, branding, marketing, paid search, web development) in order to maximize impact. When properly executed, Enterprise SEO can boost efforts in all of those areas. For example, it can:

  • Enhance the effectiveness of paid ads by increasing coverage in SERPs for key terms
  • Ensure PR efforts pass SEO value, naturally seed relevant keyword phrases, and help build the baseline of a reputation management strategy that protects the reputation of your brand and executives
  • Amplify digital marketing initiatives, such as social media campaigns, to micro-influencers with dedicated followings
  • Establish your brand in a specific industry within organic search
  • Work with your UX/development efforts to enhance the on-page experience, boosting engagement metrics that may help search performance

Integration, in this sense, refers to clear lines of communication and defined workflows, which minimize friction and may actually improve efficiency across departments by helping prioritize and align disparate efforts. Ideally, an Enterprise SEO program operates independently while still complementing the efforts of other departments.

Case Study: Benefits of Holistic Integration

25 additional highly-qualified conversions per month…

Company B is a brand with a rich history in one of the most competitive niches on the Internet. To maximize value in traffic to the site, Terakeet implemented a Facebook retargeting campaign, staying top-of-mind for those who had already visited but hadn’t yet converted on their website. Over the course of the campaign, on average, an additional 1,500 sessions/month have been sent to the website, resulting in an average of 25 additional highly-qualified conversions per month and demonstrating how a quality SEO campaign can increase the potential for all marketing channels.

Preserve share of voice in organic search

Google is constantly evolving its methodology and calibrating existing metrics to deliver better and better search results. At the same time, search behavior is changing, with the rise of voice search and personal assistants like Google Home. Organic search delivers long-term results, but brands must be mindful to ensure their rankings and brand footprint are preserved in the face of evolving algorithms and user behavior. Yesterday’s SEO tactics may cause tomorrow’s problems.

Enterprise SEO takes a long view of search success, with tactics based not on short-term gains but on goals for the future with Google’s history and stated goals in mind. While nobody can predict what Google will do next, the evolution of its search engine has been philosophically consistent. And while Google is frustratingly coy about specific search signals, it’s quite transparent about its aim of giving people what they want when they want it. Thus, a forward-thinking SEO program that prioritizes user experience and content quality over attempting to game the system can simultaneously build for the future and for today.

This is, of course, easier said than done, and requires vastly more integration between the brand and its SEO provider than a typical vendor-client relationship. Google’s search signals are drawing closer and closer to duplicating how a visitor would interpret the page, meaning that SEO now requires a multidisciplinary team of experts to integrate with stakeholders across the customer’s UX, branding, content, and other team members beyond the traditional points of interface on an SEO project. Most SEO agencies are not set up, nor is their workflow designed, to support this high level of integration, but the unfortunate reality is that if your SEO agency is a vendor, not a partner, the cards will be stacked against you.

Case Study: Weathering Algorithm Updates

Google makes hundreds of changes to their algorithm every year, and when it happens, even the most carefully managed websites are at risk of losing organic search visibility. Such was the case for a Terakeet client following an algorithm update widely believed to revolve around site quality. As evidenced in the chart below, a focus on overall site quality, user experience/engagement, and content improvements across the site has proven to be an effective way to recover from these changes. In other words, Google is going to do what Google always does — adjust their algorithm to ensure their users get the information they’re seeking in the most efficient way possible. The best approach for website owners and SEOs is to make sure their site is delivering when called upon.

Traffic Over Time

Maximize content effectiveness

Top-of-funnel content, even for brands devoting substantial resources to its publication, often ranks poorly for preventable reasons. The two most common issues with this content are a failure to keyword target and/or misalignment between content and search intent. Enterprise SEO solves both of these problems without sacrificing the voice or integrity of the brand.

For brands that either aren’t producing top-of-funnel content or aren’t taking search into account during the planning phase, an Enterprise SEO team can help develop a new content production workflow or seamlessly add keyword targeting and optimization guidance to an existing content planning process.

For established brands that have published large amounts of content but aren’t seeing significant traffic, or who have identified relevant keywords but are unable to rank a web page for them, content is often misaligned with search intent. For example, a brand may attempt to use a product page to target users searching for information rather than trying to make a purchase. Likewise, it may publish an article that doesn’t provide the depth of information a user is looking for. Duplicate content is also a problem for many large-scale, enterprise sites that serve multiple versions of the same page.

A smaller site with well-optimized content can outperform a larger, unfocused site.

An Enterprise SEO program systematically works through a site’s existing content, optimizing technical elements and providing guidance to update the content to make sure it provides searchers with the information they’re looking for. For key pieces of content associated with high-volume keywords, targeted outreach can help rank over competitors. In either case, the end result is the same: maximizing the value of content a brand has already put resources into producing.

Case Study: Content Enhancement & Pruning

In a highly competitive niche, Terakeet found Company C had significant website bloat, with thousands of pages containing very thin, low-quality content providing little to no value within the search landscape. By determining which pages to update, which to consolidate and which to remove altogether, they reduced the pages by over 50% which resulted in improvements of ranking positions for priority terms.

Head Terms

Find candidates for paid influencer initiatives and affiliate programs

The world of influencer marketing is an iceberg. At the top, a small group of mega-influencers command the lion’s share of digital marketing dollars. Brands who have invested in influencer marketing come across the same small group of influencers whether they’re connecting through a marketing agency, a platform, or striking out on their own with their in-house marketing team.

Enterprise SEO, by contrast, relies on grassroots, unpaid influencer marketing campaigns to generate the natural backlinks that drive SEO value–looking beneath the tip of the iceberg, as it were. These aren’t mega-influencers who command hundreds of thousands of dollars per post. They’re people who command smaller, but highly dedicated followings. Traditionally, it’s been difficult to find and reach these people at any kind of scale, but an Enterprise SEO program will surface many more of these types of influencers than are actually moved to post about the brand as part of an unpaid campaign. Influencers who aren’t moved to post without payment can easily be activated as part of other paid initiatives or affiliate programs, saving time and adding value.

Case Study: Feeding Affiliate Programs

While performing outreach, Terakeet receives compensation requests from influencers interested in working with the brand, but who require compensation or product to feature the brand on their blog and social profiles. On a recurring or as needed basis, Terakeet compiles influencers’ compensation requests for brands to leverage for their affiliate program. Brands review the influencers to determine if they are a good fit for the affiliate program or even a sponsored post. Terakeet can then respond to the compensation request and introduce the influencer to the brand’s affiliate program or connect the influencer with the brand directly to discuss a sponsored post.

Conclusion

The modern online world brings tremendous challenges alongside tremendous opportunity. Established brands must fend off challengers while coping with rapidly changing consumer behavior. The fragmentation of the customer journey that began with the Internet and accelerated with mobile and now voice technology means a brand must have a presence at all stages, with as many potential touch points as possible. In parallel, search technology and user behavior is evolving just as rapidly, yielding a need for forward-thinking, integrated SEO strategies.

Brands that fail to proactively plan for the future will be left behind. Given the proper partner and organizational buy-in, Enterprise SEO will protect a brand’s existing search visibility while expanding your bottom line.

Is Your SEO Strategy Built For The Future? Effective SEO is not a one-size-fits-all challenge. Give us a shout to discuss an Enterprise solution for your brand.
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