Search engine optimization experts who have tried to make a direct jump from working for smaller websites that cater to modest audiences, to trying to create and implement an SEO strategy for a large site of a multinational company, can easily attest to the fact that this process doesn’t really seem to scale linearly.
The difference between these two types of SEO is not just in the fact that you’ll have to do more of something, it’s in the strategies you’ll choose, skills you need to have, amount of risk you’re willing to take, etc.
If you are about to take on a project that is much larger in scope than you are used to, here’s what you might need to get prepared for.
There are very few disciplines that rely on exact data as much as SEO that are at the same time this resistant to forecasting. Even though SEOs can often confidently stand behind a certain approach or technique, assured that it will bring results, quantifying those results upfront is almost impossible.
While the cumulative effect of these tested strategies usually results in significant improvements in search visibility of smaller websites, and the exact lines between actions and consequences are allowed to stay blurry, this kind of approach is rarely tolerated in the enterprise environment.
Creating an SEO strategy for large websites is not just demanding because of the scope of the work, but also because each of your moves is under heavy scrutiny. When proposing a strategy, you need a clear outline of the expected costs and benefits, with very little room for any kind of vagueness.
Different kind of communication
Working on search engine optimization for smaller websites is not undemanding when it comes to communication skills, but at the enterprise level, you are entering a completely different and more convoluted world.
While SMB clients also need KPI reports and have to be consulted before you take any drastic steps with their campaign, working for a multinational company with tens of thousands of dollars in monthly budget for SEO, you have to keep selling your initiatives and justifying your costs on a daily basis.
One of the most critical factors for the success of enterprise SEO is management buy-in, and that is not something that you can get without absolute transparency and consistently impressive performance. You need to be able to gain their respect and support, while at the same time securing enough independence to actually do your job the way you know it needs to be done.
While in the darkest ages of black hat SEO, automation used to be connected only with the worst kind of spam, it has since found legitimate application in numerous areas of search engine optimization.
Even if you are just working with a couple of smaller clients, having a tool to benchmark their rankings, or template documents to help you with content and technical audits can save you hours of work. However, when it comes to enterprise SEO, automation is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity.
From tracking the much higher number of KPIs and monitoring the behavior of a much larger audience scattered across a wider region, to worrying about volumes of content being produced daily across your various assets, this is not an activity where wasted steps are permissible.
A good enterprise SEO strategy will take this into account, which means that you can’t just stick to your old tactics and hope to scale them by simply doing more of the same. When formulating a strategy, you can no longer afford to only be interested in whether it will work, you also have to think about how easy it will be to replicate.
No room for error
Leaving a “noindex” tag on page you want indexed doesn’t have to be such a big deal if you are dealing with a smaller website. However, if you do the same on a dynamically created page, potentially serving content to visitors from all over the world, when that page is just one of many you’ve made recently, the error is not just much more severe, it is also more difficult to detect.
Consider the potential complexity of the infrastructure of online assets of major enterprise websites. These networks often consists of sites with different TLDs and languages for different countries, numerous subdomains on those sites, and a host of associated social network pages. Since most of the processes involved, like we established, have to be automated, the threat of content duplication and other negative ripple effects is constant.
A demanding enterprise
While the main focus of the post was on the challenges that come with taking on a large client, that is not to say that this kind of SEO doesn’t come with unique advantages as well.
While you have to deal with constant scrutiny and somehow manage to tread lightly while taking sweeping action, you also get a chance to see a much broader picture than you once were, and to make much more of an impact. Despite all the potential headaches, that still seems like a good deal.