Savvy brands know that search engine optimization (SEO) plays a vital role in helping them appear in search results. But large organizations with several business units or different product lines should take an enterprise-level approach to SEO. Let’s take a look at why.
The Dangers Of Operating In Silos
Quite often, SEO budgets are controlled by individual product managers who establish their own goals and success metrics, and work to produce great results for their specific brand. However, they typically operate in silos, with little regard to their sister brands’ or larger organization’s goals. And while they might be very successful with their individual SEO programs, their isolated approaches represent a missed opportunity for the organization. Why? Because they fail to capitalize on the efficiencies and lessons that could be netted from an enterprise approach to SEO.
An enterprise approach to SEO breaks down brand silos and pushes the search decision-making power to where it can be made from a holistic perspective that supports the larger organization’s goals. This shift creates efficiencies that the organization would normally miss out on if its brands continued to manage its SEO efforts on an individual basis. In addition, enterprise SEO also enables the organization to leverage important customer insights from one brand for the benefit of another.
For example, consider a financial institution with several different departments, such as checking, mortgages, and credit cards, each of which managed its own SEO efforts. However, after shifting to an enterprise approach for SEO, the departments were able to gain valuable customer insights that were previously hidden in a department silo. For example, data showed that 50 percent of people who opened a checking account also opened an online account. That finding had serious business implications: It meant that the larger organization was wasting money promoting online accounts since people were opening them anyway. As a result, it adjusted its strategy and redirected those marketing funds to a higher-yield channel.
Suffice to say, an enterprise SEO strategy produces better results than the silo-approach. When an organization taps into it, its whole site starts to get better visibility and better rankings. In short, everything starts to come together, and it begins to see that the results of the total effort are far greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Obstacles To Enterprise SEO
Making the shift to enterprise level SEO is not without its challenges. One of the biggest obstacles an organization might face in the process is the battle for control. Chances are, individual product managers who are used to calling the shots won’t be happy about relinquishing their SEO decision-making power. After all, who better knows their brands than them? If not properly managed, this mind-set can lead to in-fighting and a politically charged environment. To combat it, an organization should ensure its individual product managers that their SEO opinions and recommendations will be taken into consideration, but that decisions will be based on what best supports the larger organization’s goals. To help brand managers adjust to the new enterprise model, advocate that they match their own brand’s goals with those of the organization, and show them how supporting the larger organization’s goals actually benefits their individual brand in the long run.
A holistic, enterprise-level SEO approach can help boost the visibility and rankings for a site, but it also can also benefit an organization in many other ways. Here are a few of them:
1. Better understand your customers: When organizations leverage the consumer insights that enterprise SEO can reveal, it can help them determine and define who their customers are and what their buying behavior is. In turn, it enables an organization to leverage the insights from one brand for the benefit, and enables it to provide its customers with everything they’re looking for.
2. Foster departmental integration: In large organizations, departments typically operate in silos. They have their own goals and objectives, and they pursue them without any regard for their sister departments. This often produces a struggle. However, enterprise SEO can help foster collaboration and integration between departments. It will help each department’s product managers to think about the company’s long-term business goals, rather than just each one’s own products’ goals.
3. Inform organizational structure: Large organizations with multiple business units have a deliberate structure and often include division by vertical. Enterprise SEO offers organizations additional lessons that can influence such structure. For example, consumer insights could very well indicate efficiencies that could be gained by organizational restructuring.
4. Help establish united goals: Adopting an enterprise approach to SEO requires a shift in mind-set. Individual product managers will need to start thinking about the greater good and what will benefit the overall organization. As a result, they will need to match their own brand’s goals with that of the organization.
Overall, large organizations should consider shifting their SEO efforts to an enterprise-level approach and abandon their silos. Doing so will help boost visibility and rankings, and help them tap into important customer insights. Ultimately, the integrated approach will demonstrate that the results of the total effort are far greater than the sum of the individual parts.