SEO. While this is a strategy we've been aware of for a while, did you know that 89% of marketers say SEO is successful?
However, what do upmarket companies, with thousands of web pages and keywords, do when they're in the maturation phase of implementing SEO?
Instead of focusing on the small business and mid-market SEO strategies, they'll need to begin focusing on enterprise SEO.
In this post, let's review what enterprise SEO is, what tools to use, and what it looks like in practice.
What makes enterprise SEO different?
The main difference between small business/mid-market SEO and enterprise SEO strategies is that the tactics for larger organizations need to be scalable for thousands of web pages.
While a small business or mid-market company might have a few pages, or a couple hundred, larger organizations have thousands of web pages on their site. And it makes sense that the strategies that work for a small number of pages might not necessarily work for larger sites.
Why is enterprise SEO important?
Enterprise SEO is important because strategies that work for smaller businesses won't work for larger ones.
One of the main strategic differences between the two is that small businesses usually aren't targeting highly competitive, short tail keywords, while larger enterprise organizations are.
Additionally, larger companies need a specialized enterprise SEO team to keep track and maintain organic rankings. At smaller companies, the person in charge of SEO is usually also the content marketer and might even be in charge of social media.
When you're targeting more competitive keywords, and have thousands of pages on your site, you need a dedicated team working on your SEO, instead of one jack-of-all-trades that's spread too thin.
If you've worked at companies and felt like SEO just wasn't working for you, it's probably because you didn't have a dedicated team with experts when your company needed it.
Enterprise SEO will benefit large organizations because their SEO issues will be more complex due to the number of web pages on the site, the number of backlinks already acquired, domain authority already acquired, etc.
As a larger site, enterprise companies usually have great brand authority. But that means you can't undermine that authority by deleting or redirecting pages that have acquired backlinks and high page authority. You also need to keep this content up to date and fresh. And as you can imagine, the larger the company, the harder that is.
Ultimately, enterprise SEO needs to be smarter, scalable, and more sophisticated.
Now that we know why enterprise SEO is important, let's discuss some of the more sophisticated strategies you'll need to implement as a larger company.
1. Maintain page speed.
One of the technical SEO elements that becomes more complex with larger sites is maintaining page speed.
First, you'll need to test your website speed with a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to see how quickly your website loads for users.
Then, to improve the page speed of individual pages you can compress images, reduce redirects, and cache your web pages.
2. Group content in subdomains.
Another strategy for enterprise SEO is to group your content into subdomains.
A subdomain is a type of website hierarchy under a root directory, but instead of using folders to organize content on a website, it kind of gets a website of its own.
This subdomain is still closely associated with the root directory, but it will usually have a separate content management system, template, analytics tools, and more.
See the image below to get an idea:
This is helpful for enterprise SEO because subdomains can house a lot of content that would be difficult to manage all on one website.
While some SEO experts believe that Google's crawlers could confuse a subdomain for an entirely different website from the main domain, others say its crawlers can recognize subdomains as extensions of parent domains.
Essentially, subdomains lead to a better user experience, which could result in better engagement rates, therefore improving your SEO. Ultimately, you'll have to decide what works best for your company and have your enterprise SEO team discuss what would be best.
3. Refresh old content, but protect domain authority and backlinks.
One of the challenges for enterprise SEO teams is keeping content up to date, accurate, and refreshed for current industry standards.
However, you don't want to delete old content that has high page authority and backlinks. Instead, you'll want to refresh your content, while balancing the line of adding new information, without taking away secondary keywords that content is ranking for.
With an enterprise company, refreshing content is a delicate process. But it also needs to be scalable for your SEO team to find out which pages need to be updated and what would make them more competitive. The entire point of enterprise SEO is to have a process that's scalable.
4. Quality content creation at scale.
Of course with SEO, quality content creation is one of the most important components of your site.
Again, on an enterprise level, this needs to be scalable for your SEO team to find new keywords to rank for and handoff to a content creation team.
Usually, your enterprise SEO team will choose target keywords and give writers guidelines on how to make the post competitive, whether that's including secondary keywords, tips on image alt-text, including snippets, etc.
To implement enterprise SEO, you'll need a team that is dedicated to creating content instructions and doing keyword research at scale.
5. Strategic keyword selection.
As we've been talking about, keyword selection becomes more difficult the more you've written about a topic. Sometimes it can feel like you've said everything there is to say.
That's why you need a dedicated enterprise SEO team to conduct regular keyword research and content gap analysis to find new topics to write about.
So we've talked a lot about doing things “at scale.” But how can you do that? One of the best ways for an enterprise SEO team to scale its processes is to use automation.
Automation can help with SEO tasks like keyword research, identifying problematic areas on your site, monitoring the quality of backlinks, analyzing title tags and meta descriptions, and more.
Additionally, you can use workflows to simplify project management. With larger organizations, you might have several locations with distinct websites and SEO needs. This means that your SEO teams should be using the same workflows so the process is scalable.
7. Don't forget about technical SEO.
Besides page speed, there are more technical SEO elements that your enterprise SEO team will need to manage.
This means that your SEO team will need a scalable process for using 301 redirects, eliminating technical issues that hamper crawlability, etc.
8. Link building.
Again, one of the most important elements of SEO is link building. On an enterprise level, this becomes more complex (as does everything, I suppose).
The more backlinks a page has, the more organic traffic it gets from Google. You can use outreach strategies to find unlinked mentions and request to turn the mention into a backlink.
Additionally, you can always do cold outreach as well if you find articles where your site naturally fits. As a larger company, you'll have the benefit of already having brand authority and recognizability.
9. Internal pillar/cluster content linking.
Another SEO task that will need to be done at scale is internal pillar and cluster content linking. Your enterprise SEO team could either find these internal links for your content creators during the keyword research process or could advise your writers to link to the pillar and any necessary internal content.
10. Create templates for your pages.
When creating new pages for your site, SEO plays a large role. That's why your team can create templates that your developers can replicate over and over again in line with enterprise SEO needs.
So, now you might be wondering, “What does this look like in action?” Let's look at some examples below.
Enterprise SEO Examples
HubSpot is a great example of enterprise SEO because while we might not have the same amount of employees as other big tech companies, we have over 35,000 pages on our site.
Additionally, our site ranks on the first page of several hundred thousand keywords, and in position 1 for over 30,000 keywords.
Because of the number of pages and keywords we target, this means that we need a highly specialized, dedicated enterprise SEO team to focus on backlinks, comarketing, technical SEO, and to protect our domain authority.
With enterprise SEO, we need to be careful about updating keywords on content that has high domain authority while keeping our content fresh and updated.
GitHub has an estimated 81 million pages on its site. And the impressive part is that it ranks in position 1 on Google for over 80,000 keywords.
This means that the company is able to manage its site in bulk and focus on maintaining old pages, while still earning links to reinforce its organic rankings for hundreds of thousands of keywords.
Enterprise company Microsoft has more than 8 million pages on its site. With several varying products, it's no surprise that the company ranks on the first page for over 1 million keywords. Additionally, it ranks in the number 1 position for over 450,000 keywords.
A major difficulty with Microsoft's enterprise SEO is that the team is targeting very different types of keywords because of the variety of products. And they need to protect their domain authority across several industries from business tools to video gaming consoles.
The Future of Enterprise SEO
For large organizations, enterprise SEO is the future. To protect current domain authority and backlinks, while keeping content fresh and updated on thousands of pages, you'll need a dedicated, sophisticated team of experts.
This means an enterprise SEO team will focus on strategizing how to enhance content, working on comarketing, attaining backlinks and protecting those backlinks, and more. The more pages your site has, the harder and more complex it becomes to maintain your SEO.