There’s a common assumption that search engine optimisation is easier for bigger brands. Sadly, simply throwing more money at SEO doesn’t guarantee results and enterprise businesses face their own unique set of challenges with search optimisation.
Above all, the competition intensifies as your business grows and more of your budget gets spent on hosting and enterprise grade software. The same general SEO principles apply but you have to implement them on a much larger scale. Here are eight enterprise SEO challenges you’ll have to face from day one.
1. Building a custom website
Creating a custom-built website comes with a lot of benefits. First of all, you get full control over the design, development and maintenance process. It’s more work but it means you can create a lighter, faster and more secure website for your users.
It’s important that you ensure you’re choosing the right CMS to suit your needs and not just going with the most popular. WordPress alone powers more than 75 million websites around the world – from personal blogs to business websites and eCommerce stores – small and large.
But a default theme from a CMS like WordPress or Magento may not always be suitable for your needs as although time effective, these aren’t fully customisable so your brand needs might get pushed to one side to accommodate limitations a default theme places on you.
2. Maintaining thousands of pages
It doesn’t take as long as you might think for an enterprise website to reach a thousand pages. What does take a long time is managing all of those pages once they’ve gone live – particularly when you need to make site-wide changes.
Decided it’s time to redesign that header? Fine, no problem. Just go ahead and recode your header across thousands of pages and see how consistent your results are. Or try running a link audit across each page to make sure all of your internal links are pointing to the right place.
Thankfully, managing a large website doesn’t have to be so painstaking. Build your website the right way from the beginning and you can make site-wide changes from one place. For example, instead of copying and pasting your header code onto every page, you create a single header file and call it with a PHP include function. So you make any necessary changes to your header file and they apply to everywhere it appears across your website.
As for link audits, a nice fix for this is to create an algorithm that runs across all of your pages each month and flags up any broken links. So instead of manually running these audits, they happen in the background and you get a notification if any errors come back.
Related content: How Apollo Insights prevents link penalties
3. Managing all of your digital assets
While small businesses can often get away with having one website and a few social media accounts, enterprise brands generally have a much larger collection of digital assets to manage – all of which need optimising for search.
Perhaps you’ve got dozens (or even hundreds) of websites to manage or a large collection of subdomains to optimise. In many cases, enterprise brands require multilingual websites; this is essentially linking multiple versions of the same site together with translated pages, multilingual keyword research and search optimisation for audiences (and possibly search engines) in different markets.
If you’ve got mobile apps, you also need to create organic search campaigns to promote them, optimised listings in app stores and localised content for different markets.
The longer your list of digital assets, the more complex your SEO strategies are going to be to manage. The strategy that works for one asset isn’t necessarily going to work for them all. The technical process of managing ongoing search optimisation across all channels is a major challenge.
To achieve this, you need SEO talent with experience in managing enterprise, multi-asset strategies and the right tools to manage campaigns centrally.
4. Monster development lists getting in the way of SEO innovation
The more digital assets you have, the more development work is required to build and optimise them. The problem with this is that your development workload can become overwhelming and leave you in a state where you’re constantly wrangling with code, just to keep up with SEO basics and fix technical issues.
It’s a vicious cycle that means you’re always playing catch-up, leaving you little room for the SEO innovation that could give you the edge on your competition.
As mentioned in point #2 of this article, streamlining your development process with dynamic code will help you make changes at scale, faster. However, you can also supercharge your SEO innovation and competitor insight efforts with the right set of analytics tools.
We use our own Apollo Insights platform to automate reports and spot new search opportunities. Its machine learning algorithms run billions of checks across our clients’ websites each week, spotting technical issues that need fixing, new content and keyword opportunities and gain in-depth insights on their competitors.
This not only maintains our clients’ performance in search, but also gives them a consistent edge on their rivals.
5. Handling large volumes of traffic
Yes, more traffic means more leads, but it also means you need to be ready to deal with them all. The first thing this means is having a higher grade of server hosting – one that can cater for large volumes of traffic without slowing your site down.
Forget about shared hosting plans; you need a dedicated server all to yourself. You want a package that doesn’t set a limit on the number of monthly visits to your site (unmetered bandwidth) or at least sets a higher limit than you’ll ever need. Just consider how much you aim to increase your traffic over time.
There’s a lot more to consider with enterprise web hosting, but the key thing is to make sure you’re ready to handle large volumes of traffic without impacting performance.
Moving away from hosting, something else you need to be ready for is handling data from all those visitors you’re expecting. You’re going to need to automate your data collection and attribution process so that traffic volume doesn’t become an issue. No matter how much your traffic and lead count spikes, automation will mean you’re ready to scale up when needed.
6. Managing data collection and user tracking
Data collection and management is important for every business but enterprise brands with large and complex datasets need particularly robust systems in place.
With data coming in from a large number of channels, you need a place to house all of that data and the means to clean, segment, visualise and analyse it all – collectively and at more granular levels.
You also need the right data collection protocols in place, which can vary from one source to another – especially when it comes to privacy regulations like GDPR.
7. Technical SEO audits
Technical SEO audits assess the health of your website and other assets, in terms of search indexing and visibility, at the code level. It’s crucial to run audits periodically to ensure issues like broken links or recent development updates aren’t getting in the way of your search presence.
A technical SEO audit involves dozens of checks, including:
- Identifying crawl errors
- Checking HTTPS status codes
- XML sitemap status
- Check robot.txt file
- Test page speed
- Mobile-friendly tests
- Keyword cannibalisation audit
- Duplicate content detection
- Duplicate metadata detection
- Meta description length check
- Checking for broken links
- Assessing inbound link profile
The list goes on. Your technical SEO checklist multiplies for every website, subdomain and asset that needs to maintain search presence.
Doing these audits manually simply isn’t practical so you’re going to want to automate as many of these tasks as you can.
Automated technical SEO audits will make your life much easier but you also need to be able to deal with potential issues that come up. For example, if your sites are suddenly targeted with a batch of low-quality links (a common negative SEO tactic), you need to get your link profiles cleaned up quickly.
Related content: Technical SEO – does it work?
8. Automating reports
Reports, reports, reports – these things are essential for keeping track of monthly objectives, gaining valuable business insights and pinpointing new opportunities. They’re also crucial for proving that your marketing efforts are having the desired impact to shareholders and the key decision-makers.
Modern businesses have access to more data than ever but too many are drowning in more data than they can deal with. Datasets need to be cleaned and visualised before insights can be extracted and reports compiled – all of which takes time to do.
Manually compiling reports isn’t an option for today’s enterprise brands, but this is another area where automation can make a huge impact. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more capable of spotting patterns in data, and extracting insights and automation tools are more than capable of compiling these insights into reports.
Enterprise SEO is changing
Traditionally, enterprise SEO has been handled by large in-house teams or agencies but their roles are gradually changing. We’re now automating more of the technical SEO process to free up resources for more creative tasks, such as content strategy. So less of our time is being spent on manually running website audits and more of it spent on creating the kind of content that engages users and moves them along the consumer journey.