What is enterprise SEO? It’s regular SEO on Hulk Juice, and it needs a lot of data in order to pack a punch.


We get asked all the time what exactly enterprise SEO is. And indeed, the waters are a bit muddy around a term so frequently used in the SEO community

In order to help make things clearer, we’ll nail down a definition (or try to), explain when you need enterprise SEO and why big data is beneficial, and then outline a few challenges that come with both.

So, what is the definition of enterprise SEO?

Unfortunately, the definition of enterprise SEO is more of an amorphous blob than anything concrete — it’s not as simple as saying that any Fortune 1,000 company or site with 1,000 pages requires enterprise-level SEO.

While the word enterprise is technically synonymous with a business or company, it’s usually spoken about it in terms of big businesses. Its other dictionary definition does a better job of explaining just what “enterprise” means for SEOs: “a project or undertaking, typically one that is difficult or requires effort.”

the Pokemon "Ditto" to represent enterprise SEO definition
the Pokemon "Ditto" to represent enterprise SEO definition

Another amorphous blob

“Ditto,” visually representing the definition of enterprise SEO.

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In other words, enterprise SEO is an endeavour. A big one. And even though the principles of regular ol’ SEO don’t change at the enterprise level, the way they’re applied to a large-scale operation is fundamentally different.

Performing big SEO is necessary when either one or both of these two areas are equally as big: your website and team.

Big site

While there isn’t a specific number of pages that will tip the scale into enterprise SEO, if you’re a company with thousands of products, the chances are good that you’re doing enterprise SEO. Ditto if you’re managing multiple sites or brands.

Enterprise SEO means that everything is happening at a higher volume — instead of building one product page, you’re building tens of thousands.

So, if you’ve got a sturdy content management system (or two) that lets you create mass amounts of keyword-optimized templates to load great swathes of content into, you’re in enterprise SEO territory. At this level of the SEO game, automation is key.

Big team

The other area that sets enterprise SEO apart from standard SEO is when a big team is involved. Gone are the days when you had free reign to do whatever needed to be done. Now, implementing even the most minor change has become your Everest.

Stock image of business people
Stock image of business people

Getting SEO changes approved can be a challenge

(Except Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco probably aren’t in your way.)

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And not only are you managing a large SEO team, you’re working closely with multiple company stakeholders and different departments heads (development, marketing, legal), all who need to give various levels of input and approval. Good luck introducing a line of copy without floating it by your brand police first.

In fact, many times, the biggest challenge that enterprise SEOs face is the multi-touch implementation process that is a necessity of the practice.

Why go big data?

Enterprise SEO is all about ambition. And having mountains of data at your fingertips means more insight, ideas, and opportunity to make the big moves you want happen.

Enterprise SEO is also about scale, and when there are large numbers of people, pages, and possibilities in play, big data becomes a necessity to simply stay on top of everything.

When we talk about “big” data for enterprise SEO, we break it into three different categories: volume of keywords, variety of metrics, and frequency of insight. To track SERPs at the enterprise level, you need to report on every angle of a large number of keywords, every single day.

Here’s what you can do with big data in each of these areas:

1. Capitalize on how people actually search

A keyword list of skookum length should be a priority regardless of whether you have thousands of products and pages to keeps tabs on or not — the longer the list, the greater the SERP scope.

Screen shot of a geo-modified mobile search for poutine in Montreal
Screen shot of a geo-modified mobile search for poutine in Montreal

Track all the ways people search

Don’t forget “where can I get the best poutine in Montreal,” “top poutine places,” “poutine restaurants near me,” etc and so on.

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For instance, tracking 1,000 keywords may seem like overkill at first, but if you carry 25 products, you’re only pulling 40 SERPs’ worth of insight for each. And there are almost countless ways that people search for the same thing, meaning more SERPs that you either are, or are not, appearing on.

Diving into long-tail keywords will give you far more detail into how users are actually looking for you. Those keywords should then be duplicated, with appropriate local search terms added to the new list (cities, neighbourhoods, intersections of the locations you service), and then together they should be multiplied by the number of languages that your site serves.

Suddenly, 1,000 keywords seems like a paltry amount.

2. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the SERP

In order to tackle SEO from every angle, you need to gather all kinds of SERP data from your keywords. This includes tracking multiple devices, like desktop and mobile, monitoring universal results, such as featured snippets and videos, and getting the lowdown on these big two:

Local insights

If you work for a company, small or large, with global ambitions, your SEO can’t keep playing in its own back yard. Each location has its own searching habits and challenges. As a result, it’s not enough to limit data-gathering to your home base and assume those insights apply universally.

Tracking wherever your clients may be — getting as granular as neighbourhoods and boroughs, heck, even zip code — will reveal the nuances in those locations, allowing you to better serve their search interests.

The seven factors that make up a local search
The seven factors that make up a local search

Local search factors

These factors make up seven different local search patterns.

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To help with the intricacies of local SEO and how to track it effectively, we actually wrote all about it in our STAT Guide: Strategies for local SERP tracking.

Competitor intel

Big SEO means big competition on the SERP, so it’s essential to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to.

The best way to do this is by tracking all of your keywords against known competitor sites, however many those may be. And what about the competition you didn’t know you had?

In order to surface true competitors and any emerging threats, you should also track the organic share of voice of each of your keywords and keyword segments. (You can read up on how STAT calculates share of voice here.)

STAT's share of voice Current Leaders and Gains and Losses charts
STAT's share of voice Current Leaders and Gains and Losses charts

Quick competitor analysis

See who you’re up against on the SERP.

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3. Stay on top of change

You don’t see one day’s sunny weather report and then expect it not to rain for the rest of the week. In other words, if you’re only getting a one-day snapshot of SEO data each week, you’re missing out on critical insight and you should be packing that umbrella, Buster.

Daily data provides you with a larger sample size and therefore a more accurate picture of what’s happening on the SERP. One data point a week simply can’t compete with seven.

Plus, this way you can spot issues the day they happen — you’ll know when a new campaign’s pages haven’t been indexed and what havoc a Google algorithm update is wreaking on your site. Daily data also writes a complete history of your site’s performance, letting you understand trends over time.

SERPs change daily and so should your data.

STAT's Share of Voice Top 10 Trending graph
STAT's Share of Voice Top 10 Trending graph

Stay ahead of the curve

In STAT, you can see exactly when you’re gaining or losing ground.

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Challenges with enterprise SEO and large-scale tracking

Handling massive amounts of daily data, from massive amounts of keywords, that are tracked in countless locations, for a big site, with a big team, is not without challenges. Here are just a few issues that enterprise SEOs face on the job.

Unlocking quick insight

Staying organized in order to best leverage your data is a difficult aspect of enterprise SEO. This is where the ability to segment your keywords becomes absolutely critical.

By segmenting your keywords into different topic categories, like country, product type, device, search intent, Google top 10, or keywords with search volume over a certain amount, you can keep tabs on multiple metrics at once, spotting insights with more ease.

With smart segmentation, you can see which pages are ranking well, which are ranking for the wrong keywords, and which products are driving your business. You can also test and experiment with your tracking in order to find new avenues of insight.

Screenshot of the STAT app
Screenshot of the STAT app

Smart segmentation in action in STAT

Standard and dynamic tags tucked into data views.

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Inaccessible data

If your data is held hostage, behind the lock and key of your provider, it makes doing even the basics of your job that much harder. Your data should belong to you.

A provider that allows total data portability (and multiple users at no extra cost) means that you can export as much of your data, whenever you like.

Data freedom lets you integrate with other applications to build the precise SEO strategies and reports you need to convey important initiatives, gain approval for on-site change, illustrate the value of your enterprise SEO team to the organization, and share organic improvements with clients.

You’re also better able to test ideas and collaborate with your team, making sure everyone is working towards the same ambitious goals.

Scalability

Whether you’re in the nascent stages of enterprise SEO or already in the thick of it, your data provider should be able to grow with you — neither you nor it should ever hit a ceiling.

Enterprise SEO can be challenging. But with the right data provider (hint: that’s us), and a childlike wonder of Google’s ever-changing algorithm, you’ll do just fine.