Most large businesses have multiple assets throughout their business arsenals, mainly other large or mid-sized sites that may have been acquired over the years. Most commonly, these sites are managed by various units within the business and are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to influence remotely.
It would be beneficial to leverage these assets for mutual gain. Listed below are a few ideas on how you can get some collaboration going between your business units.
- Footer Templates. At the most basic level, leverage your footer templates between the sites; that will at least connect the sites together. This allows users to recognize the other sites as part of your network. From an SEO point of view, this is almost useless these days because search engines do not provide a ton of weight to links appearing so far down the page. On top of that, if they are all pointed to your site’s home page they will have almost no positive effect. However, it’s not a total waste of effort.
- Custom Links. From a semi-basic level, you could continue tuning your footer to come up with a tool that allows you and your team to create custom sets of links within groups of pages. This allows for a targeted theme between your pages, creating a positive boost in ranking. But again, since the links are in the footer and so far away, they will only result in limited gains.
- Themed Links. Other common cross-linkings might be through themed links in other parts of the navigation. It could be on the left, right, or even on the top navigation. These links are much higher up and will have an even stronger effect on the destination pages that you choose to work with. Search engines will be able to identify these links as part of the navigation; however, this does not provide as much credit as one would like.
- Article-Based Links. Thus, my best recommendation is to use article-based linking. If you have spec or data sheets that contain themes that may be relevant from one site to the other, link the text within the articles to the destination pages deep within your other sites. The effect from this type of linking can be very beneficial.
Communicate Between Public Relations Departments.
Other types of collaboration between different units that might be effective are press releases. You will find that in most large companies, each unit has its own PR department, and usually these folks only speak to each other once in a while. They will commonly provide information within their releases about the parent company and other units; however, they usually never link to the sites within the press releases themselves.
Be sure to leverage the links from the releases sent out by all your units -- especially if they link to pages deep within your site. From time to time, this can really have an amazing affect.
Bring Your Search Teams Together.
In some cases, there can be multiple SEO/SEM teams between your business units that also never speak to each other. However, if the company is large enough, there are some amazing possibilities to connect and share ideas between these units.
Consider a small semi-annual event where you get all the members of the team together for at least a few days for an idea sharing session. It's amazing what you can learn from other team members throughout the organization.
Yes, you could set up a simple email list to send these ideas around; however, this never seems to stick and people forget to use it. This is why it's so important to have the face-to-face time. Be sure to consider your foreign staff as well; many of the simple ideas that work in the U.S. will have a greater effect in smaller countries with much less effort. Thus, their attendance can be extremely valuable over time.
You can attempt the videoconference idea, but this tends to only have a limited effect over time. Many team members will wind up falling asleep on the other side if the content is not interesting enough.
Get Executive Buy-In.
This also goes straight back to getting executive buy-in for expenses. These trips are not inexpensive since there are so many people involved in the process, but they can be extremely valuable. Make sure you are leveraging all of the departments around you to get this process going. You might be surprised how many organizations are actually participating in these types of internal events.
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