Author: Shei Wah, TAN
As the famous saying goes, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The same can be said for your business website: if it’s buried on page two of Google’s search results and no one clicks on it, does it even exist? The answer is a resounding no.
Imagine spending thousands of dollars on an enterprise-level SEO strategy only to see little to no increase in website traffic, conversions, or revenue. This is a nightmare scenario for any business owner, marketer, or SEO project manager. Unfortunately, it’s a reality for many organisations that don’t have a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to succeed in today’s ever-evolving digital landscape and competitive organic search engine rankings.
If your enterprise SEO campaign is struggling, there may be a simple reason. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the top 7 reasons why your enterprise SEO strategy might fail and how to fix it.
What is an Enterprise SEO Strategy?
Enterprise SEO strategy is a comprehensive and strategic plan of action designed to enhance the visibility and ranking of a large and complex website in search engine results pages (SERPs). This specialised form of search engine optimisation is tailored to address the unique needs of larger organisations with a wide range of products, services, and web pages to optimise.
Moreover, enterprise SEO strategy involves a more data-driven and strategic approach, encompassing thorough keyword research, competitor analysis, site architecture, content optimisation, and link building strategy.
The ultimate goal of enterprise SEO strategy is to increase organic traffic, improve search engine rankings, and drive revenue for the business. It requires more resources, including people, technology, and budget, than traditional SEO due to the complexity and scale of the website being optimised.
When we started NEO360 nine years ago, our SEO clients were primarily small and medium-sized businesses. We worked closely with medical directors and doctors in Singapore and Australia to optimise their websites for organic search results. After five years of working with SMBs in these regions, we expanded our services to include enterprise SEO clients. Despite our preparation and experience, the challenges of implementing an enterprise SEO strategy created frustration for our SEO team in the first few months of the campaign.
Imagine spending almost two months researching, auditing, and strategizing to create a comprehensive 100-page SEO recommendation document for our client, only to see less than 25% of your strategy implemented on the website. Seeing your hard work not being implemented can be disheartening and frustrating, especially when our team must submit a report and review our client’s monthly SEO performance.
Although initially discouraging, the experience allowed our SEO team to grow and learn. Additionally, the experience helped us develop a process to help our enterprise-level clients reach their business goals and objectives.
Below are the Top Reasons Why Most Enterprise SEO Campaigns Fail:
Technical Complexity of Enterprise SEO Strategy
SEO involves technical aspects like site structure, page speed, and mobile optimisation. Ensuring that the technical aspects of SEO are implemented correctly can be a challenge.
1. Poor site architecture
Poor site architecture will break your enterprise SEO campaign. But, at the same time, a strategic and well-designed site structure makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your pages, improving your search rankings.
Your website architecture should be organised and logical, with a clear page hierarchy corresponding to your content’s theme. A site’s hierarchy should start with the homepage, which links to the top-level categories, subcategories, and individual pages. If your site is confusing to navigate or has poor website architecture, search engines may struggle to understand what your site is about, and it could negatively impact your rankings.
Additionally, pages closer to the homepage in the hierarchy tend to have better rankings than those buried deep within the site. Again, this highlights the importance of designing a site architecture that is easy to understand and navigate.
Strategic and Well-Designed Site Architecture vs Poor Site Architecture Example
Image Source: www.onely.com
Another critical aspect of site architecture is a clean and easy-to-read URL structure. URLs that include relevant and easy-to-understand keywords can significantly impact your SEO efforts. Conversely, URLs filled with meaningless numbers, letters, or symbols can make it challenging for search engines to understand your site’s content.
Example of a Clean and Easy-to-Read URL Structure
Image Source: https://designpowers.com
Furthermore, having a clear URL structure can make it easier for users to navigate and remember your site. URLs that contain relevant keywords and are less than 60 characters in length tend to have better search rankings.
What are “Orphan pages”?
Poor site architecture can lead to orphan pages in various ways. For example, having a complex website structure can make it challenging to keep track of all the pages on a website, which can lead to the creation of orphan pages.
Orphan pages refer to web pages that are not linked to any other pages within a website. These pages are often created due to poor website structure and can negatively impact a website’s overall SEO efforts.
Orphan pages can harm a website’s overall SEO efforts. We observe that websites with orphan pages tended to have lower search engine rankings than those without orphan pages.
Our recommendation: Include an SEO Specialist in Website migration planning and implementation, especially if you are dealing with enterprise-level websites.
Natalie Mott’s recent Twitter poll revealed that a significant majority (approximately 80%) of SEO professionals anticipate a loss of traffic while handling a site migration. This suggests that site migrations require careful planning and execution to minimise any negative impact on website traffic.
Involving an SEO specialist in website migration planning can help organisations avoid common migration mistakes that negatively impact SEO performance. For example, failing to redirect old URLs to new URLs can result in a loss of traffic and search engine rankings. An SEO specialist can help ensure that all redirects are correctly implemented and that the new website structure is optimised for SEO.
Additionally, an SEO specialist can help organisations maintain their current SEO value, such as backlinks, during migration. Failing to maintain SEO value during migration can result in a significant drop in search engine rankings.
2. Slow Site Speed
Slow site speed can adversely affect an enterprise SEO campaign. According to a study by Google, 53% of mobile users will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Slow-loading pages can also negatively impact search engine rankings. Google has indicated that site speed is a ranking factor as part of their core web vitals and may be penalised in search results by ranking your competitor’s website. Furthermore, slow site speed can negatively impact user experience, leading to lower engagement and higher bounce rates.
To illustrate the impact of slow site speed on SEO, consider the case of Walmart. In 2012, Walmart discovered that for every one-second improvement in page load time, conversions increased by 2%.
Therefore, they set out to improve site speed, and in one year, they reduced page load time by 1 second, resulting in a 2% increase in conversions. This case study shows that improving site speed can positively impact business metrics such as conversions, highlighting the importance of site speed as a factor in SEO.
Multiple factors can contribute to slow site speed and negatively impact an enterprise SEO campaign. One common cause of slow site speed is unoptimised images. Large images can slow down page load times, so optimising images for web use is important by compressing them and reducing their size. Another factor that can contribute to slow site speed is website code bloat. Over time, website code can become bloated with unnecessary elements, slowing down page load times. Therefore, it’s essential to periodically review and optimise website code to ensure it is streamlined and efficient.
We recommend testing your website using Google Pagespeed Insight Toolsto ensure your website satisfies the search engine requirement by ensuring the user experience is satisfied.
By implementing best practices for site speed optimisation, such as compressing images, reducing code bloat, and leveraging content delivery networks, organisations can improve site speed, enhance user experience, and boost SEO performance.
Quick solution: Investing in Quality Website Hosting
Investing in quality website hosting is not an issue for some enterprise-level. However, it’s worth reviewing your existing website hosting to know if it is causing the website slow or if investing in high-quality hosting is worth considering. As mentioned above, if upgrading your website hosting can lead to an increase in your site speed, which leads to an increase in revenue, we dare say it’s a good investment.
3. Is your website mobile-friendly?
In 2015, Google included mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Thus, enterprise-level businesses must prioritise mobile optimisation in their website design to ensure a positive user experience and improve their SEO performance.
Many enterprise-level websites have cluttered designs and unclear navigation, making it difficult for users to find what they want. A Forrester study found that half of all potential sales are lost because users cannot find the information they need on a website. Cluttered designs and unclear navigation can also negatively impact user experience, resulting in higher bounce rates. Moreover, cluttered designs can slow down website load times, negatively impacting SEO performance. Therefore, enterprise-level businesses must prioritise website design that is clean, simple, and easy to navigate.
Apple is a well-known example of a company prioritising clean and simple website design. The company’s website features minimal design elements and a clear navigation menu, making it easy for users to find what they need. This design philosophy has helped Apple maintain a positive online presence and enhance user experience.
Apple Singapore Homepage Website
Image Source: www.apple.com/sg/
4. Failure to Prepare and Incorporate International SEO Strategy
International SEO requires understanding local search engines, languages, and cultures. Neglecting to plan and implement an effective International SEO strategy can result in missed opportunities and limited success in global markets.
One challenge of international SEO is understanding local search engines and their ranking algorithms. Different countries and regions may have search engines, such as Baidu in China, Yandex in Russia, and Naver in South Korea. These search engines may have different ranking factors and algorithms than Google, making it essential for businesses to understand the nuances of each search engine to optimise their content accordingly.
Another challenge is language. Multilingual websites require translation and localisation to ensure that content is accurately translated into the local language and culturally appropriate for the target audience. It can be challenging, as idioms and cultural references may not translate accurately, requiring a deep understanding of the local language and culture to create compelling content.
To overcome these challenges, we recommend conducting extensive research to understand local search engines, languages, and cultures. The strategy includes conducting keyword research in the local language and understanding local search engine ranking algorithms. Additionally, we recommend partnering with local experts to ensure their content is culturally appropriate and resonates with local audiences.
How to Implement Hreflang Tag
Implementing Hreflang in your international SEO strategy is crucial for businesses with a global presence. It ensures that users see the most relevant version of a webpage, improving the user experience and driving engagement and conversions.
To successfully implement Hreflang in your international SEO strategy, you must first identify the target audience and their language and location preferences. Once you have identified the target audience, you can create and optimise the appropriate version of the webpage, adding the hreflang tag to the HTML code.
For example, if you have a website with versions in English, Spanish, and French, you would add the appropriate hreflang tag to the HTML code for each language version of the webpage. It tells search engines which version of the webpage to display to users based on their language and location preferences.
Here is an example of how the hreflang tag would look for the English version of a webpage:
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” href=”https://www.example.com/en/” />
This tag tells search engines that the webpage is in English and should be displayed to users who have indicated that they prefer English-language content.
Example of Hreflang Tag Using Ms. Aleyda Solis Tool
Image Source: www.aleydasolis.com
5. Creating Quality Content at Scale
Producing a large amount of high-quality content can be a difficult task for organisations. In addition, finding the balance between optimising content for search engines and creating content that resonates with the audience is equally challenging.
A survey by the Content Marketing Institute in 2020 found that 58% of B2B marketers struggle with creating engaging content. In addition, 50% of respondents said that producing content consistently was also a challenge.
One way to ensure that content is optimised for SEO while providing value to the audience is to conduct keyword research and develop content that aligns with popular search terms. By targeting keywords that align with the interests and needs of the target audience, businesses can create content optimised for SEO and valuable to the audience.
Additionally, we highly recommend using data and analytics to measure content performance and adjust their content strategy accordingly.
By analysing metrics such as page views, and engagement, we can identify areas of their content strategy that need improvement and optimise their content for better performance.
Another way to create high-quality content at scale is to leverage user-generated content. User-generated content can include customer reviews, social media posts, and blog comments. By curating and sharing user-generated content, businesses can create authentic and engaging content that resonates with their audience while saving time and resources on content creation.
To successfully create high-quality content at scale, we recommend balancing SEO optimisation and providing value to their audience. By conducting keyword research, leveraging data and analytics, and curating user-generated content, businesses can create engaging content that drives traffic, engagement, and conversions while providing value to their audience.
External Factors Affecting the Success of Enterprise SEO Strategy
Working with enterprise SEO for the past four years, we have realised that the success of an enterprise SEO strategy does not rely solely on the SEO strategy itself. Instead, external factors, continuing support from critical stakeholders, and proper implementation of the SEO strategy across various departments, play a vital role in the success of an enterprise SEO strategy.
Below are two external factors that can affect the success of an enterprise SEO strategy.
6. Buy-in from Key Stakeholders
SEO may not be seen as a priority, and some stakeholders may not understand the value of investing in SEO.
One reason for this lack of understanding is that SEO is a long-term investment that may not show immediate results. This can challenge stakeholders who focus more on short-term results and may not see the value in investing in a long-term SEO strategy. Additionally, the ever-changing nature of search engine algorithms can make it difficult for stakeholders to understand the best practices and potential impact of SEO initiatives.
According to CMO Survey, Business-to-business (B2B) services generating an annual revenue of $500 million have an SEO budget of $18 million each year. This shows that SEO initiatives require a significant budget investment, which can be challenging when the organisation has other competing priorities. Moreover, the budget allocation for SEO is usually not a one-time investment, as SEO is a long-term strategy that requires continuous efforts and resources.
Suppose you are managing an enterprise SEO project. Even before the campaign starts, involving and educating key stakeholders in the SEO strategy can help overcome the challenges of getting buy-in and ensure the success of the SEO initiatives.
One way to do this is by providing tangible evidence of the impact of SEO on business success, such as increased website traffic, higher engagement, and improved conversion rates. By aligning SEO initiatives with these business outcomes, you can demonstrate the value and impact of SEO on business success early on. As a result, you do not just get your job done but make the job of your SEO team or the SEO agency easier.
Another way to get buy-in from key stakeholders is to involve them in the SEO strategy development process. By involving stakeholders in the planning and execution of SEO initiatives, they will have a better understanding of the goals, objectives, and potential impact of the initiatives. Additionally, involving stakeholders in the SEO strategy development process can create a sense of ownership and buy-in for the initiatives, making it more likely that they will support and champion the initiatives within the organisation.
7. Managing SEO Tasks Across Multiple Departments
Implementing an Enterprise SEO strategy is not as simple as going to the website, making the necessary changes to make it rank and start generating website traffic. It requires coordination across marketing, IT, content, and other departments.
When asked about their biggest SEO challenges over the past 12 months, survey respondents indicated that alignment with other departments was a major concern, with 10.7% citing this as a challenge.
For example, suppose you are managing an enterprise-level campaign and working with an SEO agency. In that case, you must establish clear communication and collaboration protocols to ensure all teams are aligned and working towards a common goal. One way to do this is by creating a cross-functional SEO team with representatives from different departments. This team can serve as a central hub for SEO strategy development, execution, and measurement, ensuring that all teams are on the same page and working together towards a common goal.
Depending on the complexity and the teams involved, regular meetings and check-ins ensure that all teams are informed and aligned on SEO initiatives and progress.
We understand that there are protocols in each department, and approval of an SEO strategy might take time and resources. However, as a project manager, it’s your job to get things done and implemented. As an SEO agency, on the other hand, it’s our job to give clear instructions on what is needed, be it content resources from the communication team or support on the technical aspect from the IT department. In addition, by providing examples and documentation on the SEO tasks, we can help communicate better the requirements needed for the campaign to succeed.
In conclusion, business owners or project managers must acknowledge that the success of an enterprise SEO strategy does not rely solely on the strategy itself. Instead, it requires a holistic approach that encompasses other aspects of the business, including stakeholder buy-in, and ongoing maintenance and adaptation. Only when all these factors work together can businesses reap the benefits of a robust enterprise SEO strategy.
Moreover, it is crucial to remember that enterprise-level SEO is not merely about achieving high search engine rankings but a sustainable digital marketing strategy delivering value to customers and staying ahead of the competition.
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