Enterprise SEO Isn’t What You Think It Is

Enterprise SEO isn't what you think it is - hero image

If you ever read any of my articles or saw any of my talks, you probably know me as someone who talks about geeky topics like JavaScript SEO, Rendering SEO, and Google’s indexing.

I also regularly try to figure out where technical SEO is headed. Instead of catching up to others, I prefer looking for my own path.

And I like to think I get it right most of the time.

This article is different, but it comes from the same place. The place of passion, deep understanding of the topic, and the frustration that often comes with it.

I’ve built a specialized SEO agency that is different. If you ever worked with us or met anyone from Onely, you know this is not me bragging.

We couldn’t find technical SEOs with enough grit, passion, work culture, and knowledge, and we’ve spent years building an internship program that will filter out people who don’t have *it* and keep and train ones that do.

We’ve built a team that thrives on complex, geeky challenges. A technical SEO agency that is eagerly looking for new paths and new ways of doing things.

We are not chasing competitors. We don’t have any that would focus on the same aspects of website optimization to my best knowledge. We are ahead of the curve.

Watching some of our previous webinars, talks, or reading our articles, will allow you to be the judge of what I wrote above.

This article is not about us, though. Instead, this part was to show you where we are coming from and why I am so passionate about what I’m about to write.

All content about Enterprise SEO out there is missing the point of what enterprise SEO is.

Some by a lot, some by a bit less, but it’s all off. It has been bugging me for a while now, and I want to share my perspective.

What Enterprise SEO isn’t

We are blessed to have worked with tens of enterprise clients. If you think about five big brands you like, we probably worked with at least one of them.

Unless all of our cases were unique (which I doubt), working with those is nothing like what you would find when googling “Enterprise SEO.”

Let’s get to the meat of this. So let me start with what enterprise SEO isn’t.

Enterprise SEO isn’t tied to the size of the website.

Enterprise SEO isn’t tied to the type of the website (eCommerce, marketplace, and so on.)

And Enterprise SEO doesn’t involve any specific SEO strategies.

Here’s the logic behind this:

The word “enterprise” has a well-established meaning in the business world, and it’s used to describe large companies. Enterprise is often contrasted with SMBs because everything from financing to sales works differently when there are tens of teams and thousands of employees involved. And that includes SEO.

To further understand my perspective, take a look at the top of the Fortune 500 list. Disregarding Berkshire Hathaway’s famously minimalistic website, you’ll still find many companies on that list that don’t have large websites, and they don’t need one. But they still need SEO.

So it doesn’t make sense to classify websites as enterprise websites due to their size.

What Enterprise SEO is

Enterprise SEO is about adjusting your team’s workflow to the challenge at hand while also having a deep understanding of the processes and goals of the enterprise you are working with.

And while this definition would loosely fit all SEO work, the thing is: it gets very, very difficult when your work with enterprise organizations.

Everything from onboarding to prioritizing tasks is a different challenge altogether when you’re working with hundreds of people across multiple cross-functional teams.

Sometimes, Enterprise SEO means solving a problem with a complex, client-side rendered JavaScript framework setup for a client operating in 80+ countries while working with multiple teams with different goals in numerous countries. And each of those teams has additional limitations and implements this complex technology differently.

Sometimes, Enterprise SEO is about looking into cross-contamination between two brands one enterprise corporation owns or manages when brand A ranks for queries related to brand B due to a lack of in-depth understanding of the technology they use.

Sometimes, Enterprise SEO means quickly diagnosing why a German version of an eCommerce store ranks in Austria while the Swiss version got de-indexed by Google, causing tens of millions of Euros in loss each month.

Sometimes, Enterprise SEO is about jumping into an ongoing website migration with no proper documentation when a part of the SEO team left or was fired.

Sometimes, Enterprise SEO might be about taking a holistic look at the SEO strategy of the whole network of sites managed by multiple SEO agencies and teams and making a business case to push significant changes to that strategy.

Sometimes, Enterprise SEO might be about finding a way to patch a 3-year long, 100+ domains (all large brands) project launched with a heavy JavaScript framework & client-side rendering, and Google is not picking it up.

All of the examples above are real stories.

A graph of interconnected people working on the same project.

Each and every time, working with an enterprise is about not making the in-house SEO team look bad. Even when they fall short in some areas. This is why they hire you – to help. Not to make them look bad in front of their managers.

It’s also about an in-depth understanding of all the tedious yet crucial aspects of working with enterprise clients, like having multi-million dollar insurance, knowing how to speed up onboarding, and prioritizing tasks so that value is delivered within an extremely constrained environment.

Onboarding might take 14 months, but it also might take 2. Therefore, your team needs to be constantly prepared to jump in, even when it is a logistics nightmare to move things around when handling multiple onboardings.

Enterprise SEO is about you having a great process in place that’s built to deal with chaos.

Enterprise SEO is about understanding the client’s dev teams and speaking their language while understanding multiple stakeholders and explaining geeky problems in the simplest of terms to get their buy-in.

It is also about seeing when they still don’t get it 100% and looking for a new way to explain the problem until they are entirely on board. Data helps; conspiracy theories and assumptions about SEO don’t.

Enterprise SEO is understanding that whoever emailed you to get a quote for your services is often in a hard place. They are taking a risk deciding to hire you. Understanding their KPIs and the challenges they struggle with internally is key to making this cooperation successful.

Hiring an external agency is a painful process. There are hundreds of worries or concerns that I didn’t mention here. Enterprise SEO, as I see it is about understanding those pains and going that extra mile to anticipate and address them.

Enterprise SEO is about building a team and the service they need right now – nothing more, nothing less.

If you want to learn more…

Maria Cieślak, Onely’s Head of SEO, wrote a guide to Enterprise SEO that covers what you just read in a little more detail.

Read it to get our complete perspective on what Enterprise SEO is. If you’re working in an enterprise environment, you’ll gain a better understanding of what you should expect from a competent SEO agency when you decide to get external help with your SEO work.