Questions to ask before you buy an enterprise SEO platform?
Making sure your company, products or content can be found by the right people at the right time is incredibly important for enterprises, which is why many of them rely on software suites to help them execute effective search engine optimization. But deciding whether your company needs an enterprise-level SEO platform calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any martech adoption, including a comprehensive self- assessment of your organization’s business needs and resources, staffing, management support, and financial resources. Here are a few questions companies should ask themselves before exploring a purchase.
Do we have the right human resources in place?
Employing people to implement and use SEO platforms is a prerequisite to success. If you have marketing staff, utilizing SEO toolsets can make them more efficient and effective. The vast majority of organic search marketers struggle to justify their SEO budgets. SEO platforms and tools are a key component of helping to keep overall costs down while getting the required work done.
Their analytical capabilities can also help SEOs prove the impact of their work on the bottom line.
Do we have C-level buy-in?
Enterprise SEO software can be a five- or six-figure investment annually. It is critical to demonstrate the value of SEO to C-level executives by running pilot test projects and agreeing to a definition of “success” in advance.
Do we have the right technical resources?
Successful enterprise SEO needs dedicated technical resources deployed to it to act on the recommendations and opportunities surfaced by the analytics and reports.
Who will own enterprise SEO?
Enterprise SEO is commonly placed into marketing, editorial or IT, depending on the nature of the business. Unfortunately, in large companies, it usually ends up with either whoever has the budget, or whoever can best articulate the business case. In a best-case scenario, it should be both.
Can we invest in staff training?
It is vital to provide training to technical, design, content, and marketing teams, and reinforce it on a regular basis. A successful enterprise SEO implementation will find ways to inject SEO knowledge into existing training programs and identify internal evangelists to broadly distribute the messages. Training needs to be comprehensive, consistent, and continuous. Some tool companies include or offer training for an additional fee, so be sure to ask about this.
To what extent do we need to share reports with non-SEO staff?
Some tool providers focus significant development resources on simple interfaces that can be utilized by people in other organizational roles — such as writers or C-suite executives. If this is important to you, make sure you specifically look for this when evaluating possible platforms.
Have we established KPIs and put a system in place for tracking, measuring, and reporting results?
It’s important to know up front what you want your SEO to achieve. Do you want to improve SERP rankings or the time visitors spend on your site? Is conversion – whether a product purchase or whitepaper download – your key objective? Having goals will help you decide if you’re ready to put an enterprise platform to good use, as well as help you decide which tool will best meet your organizational needs.
How will we measure success?
Depending on your site’s monetization strategy, make sure you know how you’ll determine if the rollout of the platform and the successful execution of the established KPIs actually increased sales, conversions or page views.
Do we have realistic expectations?
It is not uncommon for enterprise SEO efforts to take at least six months to generate tangible results. If SEO is a new initiative within the organization, there are cultural shifts and workflow processes that will need to be implemented and refined. Setting realistic timelines and goals will help build support at all levels of the enterprise.
Do we have an SEO culture?
Many organizations begin to invest in SEO but find that a lack of understanding of SEO across the organization cripples its progress. Broad educational programs are often required to provide consistent performance and results.
About The Author
Pamela Parker is Senior Editor and Projects Manager for Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces Martech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and Digital Marketing Depot. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing.
- ^ Enterprise SEO Tools For Content Marketing, Search Intelligence, UX And More (downloads.digitalmarketingdepot.com)
- ^ Pamela Parker (www.pamelaparker.com)
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