Scaling SEO Across Your Enterprise Business – The Human Element

Scaling SEO at your company is not just about SEO. Success is also dependent on leadership, project management, and efficient process. Whether you’re a small business that wants to get serious about efficient search engine optimization, or a marketer who wants to take SEO to the next level company-wide, this post is for you.

Below I have highlighted three foundations that will help you build SEO into your business from the ground up.

1. Create a Collaborative Approach to SEO

Every company will have different needs when it comes to building a culture of SEO. Smaller businesses may need to figure out the most efficient way to implement the highest impact best practices. Larger brands might have to figure out how to scale across business units and geographic locations.

The glue that holds any program together regardless of needs is the approach. Decide what type of repeatable model can scale to meet the needs companywide. There are a few components that will make this a success:

  1. Project management
  2. Workflow
  3. Roles

Project Management

As the leader of this SEO movement, no longer are you just the project manager of your tasks – or your team’s tasks. Building SEO into the business means that you are going to be the project manager of multiple teams (either in-house or perhaps outside vendors), at least initially while you get things rolling.

Decide what your project management process will look like and how you will achieve that. This includes exploring what style of project management you’ll adopt. For example, a popular approach that’s gaining ground in the marketing space is agile project management…is it right for you?

You may even need to brush up on your project management skills by taking some courses and/or gaining some project management certifications and credentials. After all, you’ve got a big job ahead of you!

Workflow

Workflow is different than project management. While project management is a way you’ll approach managing the program on a large scale, workflow is a defined and repeatable process on how aspects of the project will get done, usually supported to best in class technology.

bright-edge-tasks

Image source: http://www.brightedge.com/

You might have multiple workflow processes for different aspects of your SEO program, like training workflow, on-page optimization workflow, website optimization workflow, and more.

The great thing about workflow diagrams is that once they are dialed in, they allow you to create a set-it-and-forget-it process that keeps things moving while you work on more important things.

Roles

One task within the new project management role you’ll take on is creating additional roles with the people in your company or with outside vendors (like an SEO agency) or both.

Sure, you’ll be the “chief” in all of this, but you’ll need to have people in place to be overseeing the minutia, whether that’s by business unit, team, or by expertise (for example, putting in place your technical SEO and your content creators).

Work with each of these people in defining what their role will look like (for some, this will differ from their traditional role at the company, and they may have added responsibility). Doing so collaboratively will ensure everyone has agreed upon the direction, and is more invested in the goal.

2. Prioritize Audits and Early Wins (and Get Buy-In!)

You’re going to want to audit the current state of your SEO, and prioritize what you’ll tackle first. An audit might occur in waves and be multilayered. You might audit in categories like “technical, back-end SEO,” “website architecture,” and “on-page SEO factors.”

Or, you might choose to prioritize the audit based on business motives – either by business goals and department needs, or starting with those areas of the site that correlate to the most important aspects of your business.

Alternatively, you might approach an audit with specific search engine algorithms in mind like Panda or Penguin to attack first what could be the most detrimental threat to your website.

After your audit, you’ll prioritizing what items to tackle first; you might approach this in a couple different ways. If you’re a small business, you might go after the SEO tasks that will make a big impact upfront with a minimal amount of effort.

This could be as simple as ensuring the on-page factors are sound for the most important pages on the site, or the pages that are on page two of the organic search results that could easily move to page one.

At an enterprise-level company, you want to do the same, but also balance this with a little bit of “politics” that will help you gain crucial buy-in. For example, is there a leader in the company whose problem you can help solve fast through SEO? Showing early wins in this way can create a top-down commitment to the SEO initiative.

3. Ask for Help When It’s Reasonable

Any company that’s just starting to be serious about its SEO program may need a little help from its friends. And by friends, I mean reputable SEO and marketing agencies.

As a small business, that might look as simple as an SEO audit to help you prioritize your SEO efforts, so you have a clear path on next steps for your site. As a larger company, that might look like a longer-term relationship that builds strategic consulting in with in-house training.

It’s important to be clear on what those needs are for both the short term and long term. This will be the basis for how you choose your agency. For example, do you want:

  • An educational resource?
  • Hands-on implementation?
  • Auditing and strategy?

And you’ve probably heard this one too many times, but make sure that you set expectations with the agency upfront, and vice versa, so you can both manage them well. Having a clear project scope, defining roles on both sides, and obtaining sign-off on priorities leaves no gray areas moving forward.

With these three steps in mind, you can begin to build the foundation for your organic search program, and start to manage SEO like a pro – no matter what size business you have.

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