What Is Enterprise SEO + Strategies & Tools

What Is Enterprise SEO + Strategies & Tools

Patrick Stox
Patrick Stox is a Product Advisor, Technical SEO, & Brand Ambassador at Ahrefs. He was the lead author for the SEO chapter of the 2021 Web Almanac and a reviewer for the 2022 SEO chapter. He also co-wrote the SEO Book For Beginners by Ahrefs and was the Technical Review Editor for The Art of SEO 4th Edition. He’s an organizer for several groups including the Raleigh SEO Meetup (the most successful SEO Meetup in the US), the Beer and SEO Meetup, the Raleigh SEO Conference, runs a Technical SEO Slack group, and is a moderator for /r/TechSEO on Reddit.
Article Performance
Data from Ahrefs
  • Organic traffic
  • Linking websites

The number of websites linking to this post.

This post's estimated monthly organic search traffic.

Enterprise SEO is the process of optimizing a large, enterprise company’s website to improve its visibility and rankings on search engines.

Enterprise websites can be defined by the size of the company or website, the complexity of the technology or teams, or by global operations. Some examples of enterprise websites would include many publicly traded companies, large ecommerce websites, businesses with many locations, or businesses with many websites. For example, we see 275 million ranking pages on amazon.com giving them 686 million estimated visits from organic search each month, or microsoft.com has an estimated 516 million organic visits per month.

Enterprise SEO differs from the SEO you may be used to in a few ways including scale, complexity, and competition level. Enterprise sites are some of the largest and most complex sites on the internet, and the scale and complexity of the sites and the teams needed to run the site create some unique challenges. The competition is fierce with a lot of money on the line, and enterprise sites will be going after some of the most competitive head term keywords that exist, while smaller companies may be targeting more long-tail searches.

How do you know if your company counts as an enterprise? I like to joke that you know it’s enterprise when everyone speaks a new language made almost entirely of three-letter acronyms (“Did the SEO SME review the PLP?”), and there are teams of people for everything.

If that sounds like the environment you’re working in, keep reading as I’m going to share insights from my previous experience (four years working in-house for IBM, and many years working for other enterprises from the agency and consulting side) that may help you.

There are many reasons enterprise companies should focus on SEO. These include:

  • Credibility. With every new touchpoint you have the opportunity to be seen as the expert and dominant offering. This helps with the perception of your brand and makes your product an easier choice.
  • Growth. SEO brings you increased visibility and brand awareness.
  • Revenue. Every touchpoint is a chance at a conversion or sale. You’ll increase customer lifetime value and reduce customer acquisition costs.
  • Supports other marketing channels. For instance, you can use paid advertising to retarget an audience based on the content they consumed on your website.

Making your content marketing successful takes a lot of work. Here are some things you can do.

Create new content

There are many different types of content you can create, but with limited resources, it’s usually best to start out with informational content and videos since they provide high ROI. After you’ve got more resources, you can create things like virtual events, courses, e-books, case studies, white papers, podcasts, or even magazines or books.

The sales process for enterprise companies is typically longer. Many companies want to skip top-of-the-funnel and informational content and focus more on the end-of-funnel traffic that converts. In doing so, they narrow their pipeline and give their competitors opportunities to be seen as experts instead of them.

Starting with bottom-of-the-funnel content makes sense, but eventually, you’ll want to create that top-of-the-funnel content and expand your pipeline.

Enterprise content funnel

When creating content, you have to find a process that works best for your company and content creators. That will change depending on who is creating your content.

What content should you create?

I like to start with my competitor’s top pages rather than starting research with a list of keywords. If you export and combine this data, you end up with a list of your competitor’s most successful content, and you can start with the content you know already works and is likely driving value to a competitor. I talk about my process for this in our article on how to create great content.

Every team I ever worked with, whether product-focused or marketing-focused, loved to see this data. You may want to keep track of your content creation in Google Sheets or Airtable.

Alternatively, you can use the Content Gap tool to find these opportunities, but you may see some repeated opportunities because of similar keywords. We will update this to add clustering and help reduce this extra noise.

The Content Gap tool helps you find opportunities based on what your competitors rank for.

For now, you may want to export the keywords from the Content Gap tool, paste them into Keywords Explorer, and go to the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab. This should give you actual content opportunities you may not be covering.

Cluster your keywords by Parent Topics to reduce the noise

SEOs creating content

For SEOs writing the content, I recommend you talk to the experts or interview them to get their insights. They may have papers, presentations, podcasts, or webinars you can repurpose. The sales team is another great source of information. I’ll also look at what people search around a topic and what other pages cover.

A lot of organizations create copycat content, but that’s just more content that’s the same as what is already out there. This isn’t future-proof. I encourage you to do better. If you can put in a bit more work and add to the information that already exists, your content will be more successful.

Writers creating content

You likely have a team of people who create the content, and you may be able to empower them to do this process themselves.

One of the things that I liked to use with content teams was a card-sorting exercise. Take the data you’re looking at around what people search and what the top pages talk about, and put them on index cards.

Have your content writers organize this in a way that makes sense to them. They’re going to be grouping your data into topics and subtopics and coming up with the content sections or pages they should write.

This helps train people to do this task themselves, and there’s no right or wrong answer as to how it should be organized. You can also show how top pages cover this information as confirmation that it works. As long as you’re writing about what people are looking for, you’re likely to be successful.

Alternatively, your SEOs can provide your writers with an easy-to-digest outline or content brief that covers what should be talked about in the article.

To see how each author or team is doing, you can create Portfolios. This will help identify star performers or writers or teams that might need some additional help.

Portfolio of pages by an author in Ahrefs

Experts creating content

If your employees want to write content, you need to find a way to empower them to do so. These are your experts, and while the content they create may require some editing, the insights from these employees are valuable and may not be anywhere else.

If your experts don’t have the time to write content, another option is to interview them or have them review the content you create. Most people are usually happy to give quick insights verbally, which you can then use in your content.

Improve existing content

Making your existing content better can lead to quick wins. Here are some things you can look for.

Content with declining traffic

Apply a filter for “Traffic: Declined” in the Top pages report in Site Explorer and set your time period for the last 6 months or a year. Take a look at pages that lost traffic to see which ones are important to you and that you think you can improve.

Filter showing content with declining traffic that you may want to improve

Low-hanging fruit

One common way to prioritize content improvements is to check for low-hanging opportunities, like pages ranking in positions 4-15 for their main keyword. You might be able to quickly improve these pages’ content to rank higher and get more traffic. Use Google Search Console or the Organic Keywords report in Site Explorer to find pages that fit the bill.

Filter showing low-hanging fruit keywords. You may want to improve this content.

Optimize for featured snippets

For informational content, targeting featured snippets can skyrocket you to the top of the SERPs.

Here’s how to find the easiest opportunities:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your domain
  3. Go to the Organic keywords report
  4. Filter for keywords in positions #1–5
  5. Filter for keywords that trigger featured snippets “where target doesn’t rank”
  6. Look for keywords where your page is missing the answer, then add it

Finding the best featured snippet opportunities in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This is arguably the most important section that you can write if you want to rank for informational queries. You can see what is already eligible for a snippet and the kind of things that these snippets mention, along with why one may be better than another. Now you just have to make something that’s better.

Here’s an example: For “how to create content,” the main snippet is from inc.com:

Search for "how to create content" showing a featured snippet

If you append “-inc.com” to your search, you’re removing this site from the results and can see the second eligible featured snippet from hubspot.com:

Search for "how to create content -inc.com" shows additional featured snippets

You can repeat this process, removing more sites from the results to see more eligible featured snippets. Also, you can glean insights into what it takes to get featured snippets and figure out why one may be considered better than another.

For some head terms that are more informational in nature, you may have to refine the query as “what is [head term]” for this to work.

Translate successful content

Most enterprise companies operate in many countries and in many different languages, and their enterprise SEO teams will have to work on international SEO. If you have content that’s working well in one language, it’s likely going to work well in another language as well. You should translate successful content for those other languages

We’ve had success with this at Ahrefs despite allocating minimal resources to this process. It’s one of the areas where I expect massive growth as we start to focus on it more.

GSC data showing when we started focusing on translating Spanish content

Create branded content, sometimes

You’re probably going to run into content that is too brand-focused, too product-focused, or even too keyword-focused. People will ask you to rank for terms with pages they control that don’t align with search intent. A good example is someone wanting to “sprinkle some keywords” into their product page to rank for an informational term.

You can use the “Identify intents” feature in Keywords Explorer to show the main intent of each term and the percentage of traffic to each result. A product page for “enterprise content management” isn’t likely to rank for this query as the main pages ranking are informational intent.

Identify intents feature in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Sometimes, there may be one product page ranking for terms like this where you have a shot at ranking, but it’s usually the most popular product in that position.

There are times you may want to optimize and even create content for branded terms, but this shouldn’t be your usual strategy. Nor should you “sprinkle some keywords” into brand-or-product-focused pages to try to rank for informational terms. These pages may be full of marketing or sales jargon and not have the content you actually need to rank.

Many enterprise websites get a lot of their overall traffic from branded searches, and they may not rank well for unbranded terms. Branded traffic is a good thing. It’s high-quality and converts well, but you should be getting it even without SEO help.

The exceptions to that may be for terms related to companies that were acquired or products that were renamed. You may still need content or documentation to help you keep traffic for those terms and direct people to new versions of the product.

Syndicate content

Content syndication is when one or more third-party sites republish a copy of content that originally appeared elsewhere. It frequently happens with news content, although, to be honest, any popular site is going to have scrapers and enterprise sites may have a paid syndication strategy.

There are a lot of benefits to syndication, including increased reach. Check out our article on content syndication to learn more about it and how to follow best practices.

Redirect relevant old content

In many cases, your old URLs have links from other websites. If they’re not redirected to the current pages, then those links are lost and no longer count for your pages. It’s not too late to do these redirects, and you can quickly reclaim any lost value and help your content rank better.

Here’s how to find those opportunities:

I usually sort this by “Referring domains.”

Best by links filtered to 404 shows pages with links that aren't redirected

Build and improve internal links

I’ve always found internal links to be a powerful way to help pages rank higher. Even these links may be difficult to get in an enterprise environment.

Sometimes different people are responsible for different sections of the website or even different pages, which can make internal linking time-consuming.

On top of the political hurdles, the process for internal linking can be a bit convoluted. You either have to know the site well and read through various pages looking for link opportunities or follow a process that involves a lot of scraping and crawling to find opportunities.

At Ahrefs, we’ve made this simple, scalable, and accessible so anyone can find these opportunities with our tool in Site Audit. We look at what your pages are ranking for and suggest links from other pages on your site that talk about those things.

Internal link opportunities in Ahrefs' Site Audit

I’d also recommend watching out for opportunities to use better link anchor text. It’s common for page creators to overuse generic link anchor text such as “learn more,” “read more,” or “click here.” You can look for usage of this kind of generic copy in the Internal anchors report in Site Explorer.

Filter for generic anchor text that shows link text you should improve

Create “vs” pages

Creating content that compares you against competitors can be difficult to create in an enterprise environment because of all the legal hurdles. I still think it’s useful to push for these kinds of pages so that you can control the narrative.

There are ways you can do this without having giant tables comparing each feature. Those are always biased anyway. For instance, on our vs page, we show what users think of us and talk about the quality of our data and unique features.

This page has done well for us, and I believe we will create more pages like it in the future.

Traffic of our "Ahrefs vs" page

Create free tools

If you can create free tools around your product or data, you can use it as a lead-gen tactic for your main products.

We use this strategy at Ahrefs, and some of our most trafficked pages are from free tools. We even created a bunch of free writing tools, which we are starting to monetize.

Estimated organic search traffic to our free tools, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Create programmatic content

If you have the ability to create good pages programmatically using your data, it can be a great way to scale quickly.

We had some success with a small amount of effort by re-using components to create “SEO for x” pages, where x is different types of business. Most of these are ranking well already, but at some point I believe we will put in more effort and pull more data to make these pages even better.

The success of our programmatic "SEO for x" pages, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

We’re working on some additional programmatic plays that showcase our data even more, and I expect will drive a lot of leads.

Create video content

Video content can work extremely well for businesses. Sam Oh drives tons of leads for Ahrefs.

Ahrefs YouTube has over 500k subscribers with less than 300 published videos. Many of those videos have over 1 million views!

Subscribers and video count on our YouTube channel

In my past jobs, I’ve always treated videos the same way I would blog content and structured the talking points around the things people are searching for and want to know. This worked extremely well, even for industries where people were convinced that folks in the industry didn’t watch videos.

A lot of link building happens without SEO at the enterprise level. Companies are usually really active and doing different things. You may see TV commercials, hear radio ads, have a lot of new content. Then there’s public relations, social media, paid advertising, content syndication, events, corporate partnerships, influencers, celebrity advertising, affiliate programs, and more.

Most links will probably happen without you, but you can help guide many of the teams in charge of these channels with best practices.

Build links from other websites

If you’re going to have link building projects, you may have some easy wins. One of my favorites is to simply reclaim links that already point to your site by redirecting pages that currently 404. Site Explorer > yourdomain.com > Pages > Best by Links > add a “404 not found” HTTP response filter > redirect these pages to relevant current pages.

use redirects to reclaim lost links for your enterprise seo website

Unlinked brand mentions, or even mentions of top employees, are another easy win. Enterprises tend to get talked about a fair bit, and each one of those mentions offers a chance to get a link. Even if there’s not initially a link, it doesn’t hurt to ask for one. You can use Content Explorer to find these mentions on the web, and the inbuilt filter for highlighting unlinked domains to hone in on unlinked mentions.

Enterprise SEOs have a lot of link opportunities by finding unlinked brand mentions

You may also end up working with external sites like review platforms or aggregators. Many of these cost money, and the links don’t always pass value. But they can be incredible for exposure.

These sites rank for many relevant terms, and many other enterprise professionals will likely view their reports. In many cases, if you’re not in these roundups, you may not be in the consideration set for purchasing.

You can use Site Explorer to check your competitor’s links and referring domains as well. You can look at their overall link profile or even their recent link profile to see how they are getting or creating their links. With this data, you can also determine if there’s anything else you may want to do for link building.

Look for new link opportunities by seeing what links your enterprise competitors are getting

You have an almost unlimited amount of link building opportunities as an enterprise company. Everything depends on your budget and your imagination, but when people ask me the most significant difference in link building at the enterprise level, I usually tell them it’s acquisitions.

The easiest way to rank for something new is to buy a company that already ranks well for your target terms. You add not only a product/service or new features to your products, but you also inherit the existing content, which was likely part of the reason the acquired company was already successful.

With these acquisitions or other websites that your company may control, you also have opportunities for more links. Where it makes sense, you’ll want to add links between these websites. Ultimately you may want to consolidate the content into one site, but that’s not always feasible. Even if it is, it may not happen within a reasonable timeframe, so you may want to add links between the sites in the meantime.

Build internal links

I’ve always found internal links to be a powerful way to help pages rank higher. Even these links may be difficult to get in an enterprise environment.

Sometimes different people are responsible for different sections of the website, which can make internal linking time-consuming. On top of the political hurdles, the process for internal linking can be a bit convoluted. You either have to know the site well and read through various pages looking for link opportunities, or you can follow a process that involves a lot of scraping and crawling to find opportunities.

At Ahrefs, we’ve made this simple, scalable and accessible so anyone can find these opportunities. We have an internal link opportunities report in Site Audit that will recommend internal links where appropriate. There’s a tutorial in the report itself explaining how it works.

internal link opportunities report can help you build links in an enterprise environment

I’d also recommend watching out for opportunities to use better link anchor text. It’s common for page creators to overuse generic link anchor text such as ‘learn more,’ ‘read more,’ or ‘click here.’ You can look for usage of this kind of generic copy in the Internal backlinks report in Site Explorer.

look for and replace generic anchor text to help with your enterprise SEO results

Check for penalties

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a big website that doesn’t get at least a couple of penalties a year. While this may be surprising to some people, it happens because many of these sites have people abusing uploads or user-generated content sections where people are spamming links.

It’s not usually a concern because the penalties usually only impact parts of the site. However, some websites experience more significant issues. When this happens to a well-known brand, it usually makes the news.

Enterprise sites can have complex infrastructures and a lot of legacy systems in place. There may even be many different teams responsible for maintaining everything, which means the technical environment and the political environment can be tricky. Sometimes pages or sections of the site will have issues that never get fixed because doing so is too expensive.

One mistake can keep millions of pages out of the index or remove an entire site from search results. There are so many moving parts, so much that can go wrong, and so many times that you’ll need to choose the least bad option.

You won’t have control of everything. Just do the best you can and when you have the opportunity, make the most future-proof decision you can.

When focusing on technical SEO projects, you’re likely to have an unlimited number of things fighting for your attention. You must learn how to prioritize tasks and focus on the most significant issues. While it would be great if you could get everything technically perfect, it’s simply not realistic. One of the things I like about Ahrefs’ Site Audit is that you can choose to ignore issues that you don’t find important.

11 site audit warnings

In the world of enterprise SEO, you’re likely going to rely on many different teams to get work done. You’re going to have to be opportunistic and help many of these teams on their own timeline, when they are ready to go, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for them ahead of time.

You’ll want to find out how these teams work, their processes and tools, and opportunities you may have to interact with them like scrum calls, team calls, or office hours you may be able to join. If you can be very clear in your communication with the team, it will make the process a lot easier. Learn to write tickets in their project management system that communicates the problem, expected outcomes, and the value of implementing the changes.

One final tip is that if you don’t seem to be making progress on projects, try to sell the changes you want to make as A/B testing. Many companies want to do more testing, and you can “test” your SEO changes to see the impact they have. With a measurable impact, you can argue for a more permanent fix, but in the meantime it’s technically fixed.

Technical SEO project ideas

I wanted to cover some projects to help you get started with technical SEO in an enterprise. Of course you may want to start with a technical SEO audit first.

  1. Indexing. You probably have some pages indexed that shouldn’t be, and many pages noindexed that should be indexed. Canonicalization is another issue to check to make sure the correct version of the page is indexed. You can also help identify security issues and data leaks by looking at what pages have been accidentally indexed.
  2. Redirects. Find broken pages on your site that have links pointing to them, then redirect those pages.
  3. Future-proofing. Anything you can do that will keep something from breaking in the future or will keep processes or systems from changing again in the future is worth looking into. For example, you may want to make sure your URL structure allows for future expansion. You don’t want to be changing this and doing redirects every couple years.
  4. Broken links. Find them and fix them.
  5. Pagespeed. Make your website faster.
  6. Implement schema markup to gain more presence in the SERPs.
  7. Add sitemaps. I would make sure this is automated. Manually creating a sitemap is rarely a smart use of your time.
  8. Create guidelines, checklists, and decision trees. Basically, anything that will help people make the right decisions will save you time in the future.
  9. Automated testing and site monitoring can help catch issues before they make their way into the system or quickly after.
  10. Log file analysis. I always say this is a big maybe. Log files can be political, technically complex to pull and store, and costly. You’ll have to estimate the time and resources needed to see if your use cases justify the resources. You may want access to make sure things you want index are being crawled and to see any broken pages you may want to clean up.

Whether you are working in-house at an enterprise company or you’re an agency working with enterprise clients, navigating the corporate landscape can be complex. You may know exactly what your company needs to do to be successful, but getting it implemented can be a challenge. Here’s what you need to know to be successful in enterprise SEO.

Getting buy-in for SEO

If the company you’re working with doesn’t see the value of SEO, you’ll lose resources and prioritization to whatever the company considers more important. That’s why it’s crucial to “sell” the importance of search. The easiest way is to prove value and equate everything back to revenue, or at least as close as you can get to revenue.

Using simple SEO facts in your presentations and messaging can help you sell the value of SEO to an enterprise. Here are a few examples:

  • There are [x] monthly searches for [y]. Most people don’t realize that SEOs have data about what people search for. Simply telling people how many searches an important term gets will create some serious FOMO.
  • 90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from Google. (Ahrefs). Some people think that SEO isn’t necessary and that they’ll rank either way. This proves that isn’t the case.
  • The average top-ranking page also ranks in the top 10 search results for nearly 1,000 other relevant keywords. (Ahrefs). This can help sell the idea that content should cover a topic in-depth and shows that pages rank for more than one keyword.

Beyond these, I also like to include some stats for the company. Metrics like the percentage of traffic from organic search, number of conversions, revenue, or Year over Year (YoY) growth all help to show how SEO is important to the organization. It’s also useful to remind folks that SEO is a continuous process since many people view it as a one-off task.

Bottom line: you need sticky messaging if you want people to remember you and care about SEO. Repeat what you said as many times as it takes.

Enterprise resources and planning

Resources are never unlimited. That’s true whether you’re part of an enterprise team or are an agency working with an enterprise company. There will be big budgets, but there’s also a ton to do, and enterprise SEO teams are likely to be pretty strapped for resources overall.

It’s going to take longer to get things done, and you’re unlikely to be chasing the latest SEO fad. For the most part, if you get the SEO basics right at the enterprise level, you’ll be doing better than most. Boring = $$$ when it comes to enterprise SEO.

You’ll have to do a lot more planning for resources and projects. You’ll have yearly planning or maybe even quarterly planning to align with company goals. Show them how SEO helps achieve company goals, and you’ll have more success. You’ll probably have to make SEO forecasts for where you’ll be a year from now and even forecast where you’ll be relative to competitors.

You’ll want a mix of enterprise SEO projects to be successful. Some may be company-wide initiatives or collaboration projects with other teams, while others may be specific to your team or even individuals.

You may have some enterprise SEO projects to focus on top pages, individual sections of the site, top products by sales, or any number of other things. Part of your job is to prioritize everything. However, you can’t focus on everything because if everything is important, nothing is.

You’re likely to see different prioritization methods that involve calculations such as Potential Importance Ease (PIE). I like to use an Impact Effort Matrix like the one below because it’s more visual. Anything high-impact and low-effort is a quick win, so tackle those tasks first.

Projects like reclaiming links to your website or adding internal links will likely fit this description. Content creation is usually always a long-term project. Less important things go into your backlog for when you have more time, and projects where you can’t justify the resources because they are high effort and low impact will probably never happen.

an impact effort matrix can help you prioritize your enterprise SEO projects

One of the mistakes many SEOs make in an enterprise environment is getting caught up in ‘busy work.’ Yes, the more things you’re involved in, the more things you can catch and influence. However, it’s easy to find yourself in a position where you’re just ticking off boxes and not strategizing. The result is micro gains while still having macro problems. 

Enterprise is all about scale, and that includes how you work. You have to focus on what will have the most impact, which means that you really shouldn’t be involved in every task or process.

Data/reporting

Reporting can be a colossal time sink at the enterprise level, but it’s a necessary evil. If you can’t prove your work’s value and how it contributes to the company, nobody will see the importance of enterprise SEO.

Two ways I usually go about getting buy-in are to report on revenue or to compare vs competitors. Money talks, and no one wants to lose to their competition.

You’re probably going to have reports in PowerPoint, dashboards, and maybe even in internal tools. The main thing to remember is to adjust your report to include what your audience finds important. You may have SEO KPIs that are important to your team, but other teams will likely focus more on conversions and revenue.

It’s likely that the higher you go, the more people will want simply one number that tells them how things are going and if you can make that number revenue, you will be golden.

You will probably have to adjust reporting frequency too since some will want real-time reporting, and others may only want monthly, quarterly, or yearly reports.

Numbers can be memorable and help sell ideas in presentations, but you’ll want to focus more on visualizations that are easy to understand when reporting. The easier to understand these are, the more memorable they will be. For example, a quick pie chart showing branded vs. unbranded traffic is likely to show that most organic visitors come from branded terms, and you should be more focused on unbranded terms.

You’ll also want to do an overview with teams of different tools and data you have access to. You have to remember that they likely don’t know about the tools, metrics, or data you have, and you may not know what data they need to make decisions.

Meet with various stakeholders and find out what they need. Some of the things SEOs consider simple, like keyword data, can be extremely useful to other teams and help them make informed decisions. Share of Voice will be useful for executives and product teams to let them know their market position. Paid and product teams may want to see the distribution of Organic, Paid, and no-click searches like we show in Keywords Explorer.

1 keyword clicks

One final tip for reporting is to use the success from initiatives with one group to promote and roll out company-wide. Tell the story of how you worked with the team, what went well, lessons learned, and how you think the process should change going forward.

Storytelling goes a long way in helping to drive adoption. You can also win brownie points by making others the hero; write them good feedback and peer reviews, and they’ll be more likely to work well with you in the future.

Check out our guide on enterprise SEO metrics and reporting to see the types of reports you might want to create.

Organization

Enterprise organizations tend to be complicated. You’ll likely have many chains of management and a lot of complexity to learn before you can make progress on some projects. Just finding your way around to the right teams and the right people can take time, and external teams may have to rely on the internal team for a lot of this knowledge.

Enterprise SEO team organization

Enterprise SEO teams can and do sit in many different organizations—marketing, Analytics, Product, Development, Content, Digital, etc. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answer to where SEOs should be, and a lot depends on the company organization itself.

No matter where you sit, you will probably work with all these teams and more. Where your team sits may even change over time as companies reorganize or merge with other companies. You’re likely to break into different specialties like content, links, or technical SEO. You also may just have representatives that coordinate with other teams or business units.

Other teams

For every task that an SEO agency may be responsible for, there’s likely to be a team doing that at the enterprise level. You’ll probably run into teams you’ve never heard of like taxonomy/ontology, and work with teams you wouldn’t have thought of like events, branding, or legal. In many cases, you’ll be working with these teams on various projects, or to get permissions you may need to be successful.

You’ll want to have as much visibility into what’s being worked on at the company as possible and make sure these teams know you exist and loop you in when needed. You’ll find that many of these teams have weekly meetings, office hours, networking events, and even ‘lunch and learns.’

All of these are great ways to learn who does what and what they’re working on. You should probably have all of these things for your enterprise SEO team as well. Donuts, pizza, and beer will help you meet people, but the educational components and sharing of information will help you be memorable.

I was always opportunistic in my SEO approach and tried to work with teams when they were ready to go on projects. Miss this chance, and it might be a while before they’re willing to work with the SEO team again.

External agency services

You’re likely to have an agency for additional SEO services or possibly multiple agencies for different needs. It’s often easier to get these additional agency services than it is to get another full-time employee because of the way budgets typically work.

The way I’ve seen this work best is to have agencies fill in the gaps from your team. Maybe that’s doing more grunt work, specific tasks your team might not have much experience with, or just providing additional resources to enable your team to do more.

They’re also useful as a second set of eyes for identifying problems, opportunities, and providing solutions. You may want your agency partner to do an enterprise SEO audit and present the results. This will often include the same things you and your team have been saying, but coming from an outside service agency it reinforces what you’ve been saying and you’re more likely to get buy-in from leadership.

If you are an enterprise SEO agency, my best piece of advice is to be flexible and do whatever the in-house SEO team needs you to do at the time. Your job is to make the in-house person or team look good, get them promoted, and get them more resources.

If you’re shopping for agency services, ask around for who others recommend. There are some great enterprise SEO agencies. Many in-house SEOs tend to avoid the SEO services packaged with the tool providers. These are often expensive for the quality of the provided services, but occasionally you might have a good consultant on your account that stays for a while.

Ahrefs provides some services, but they’re more focused on the tool and onboarding, not professional services. Our services include:

  • Dedicated Ahrefs account manager
  • Tailored onboarding
  • 24/7 multilingual chat support
  • Access to monthly webinars and workshops
  • Access to our expert SEO team in our Ahrefs community

SEO training & evangelism

The more you share with and empower others, the easier your life will be at an enterprise company. Remember, you have resource constraints, so train people and find your evangelists who believe in and help promote SEO in you enterprise organization. It’ll help you scale your impact.

All of the things I mentioned earlier, like weekly meetings, office hours, networking events, and ‘lunch and learns’ are great for training and evangelism. But you can also do individual team trainings, group trainings, workshops, and internal courses that focus on different topics or tools.

Look for opportunities to add an SEO session to company events/workshops/training other teams may be hosting. There are likely to be events targeted towards marketing, development, analytics or any number of opportunities where SEO can be a relevant topic. Maybe even start an email newsletter with company and SEO industry updates people would find useful. Any chance to show your expertise will help your enterprise SEO program be successful.

Some popular enterprise SEO tools include:

ProductReviewsPricingCustomers
AhrefsStarts at $14,990 / year50,000+
ConductorNo public pricing450+
seoClarity
  • Starts at $3200 / m
    (1 domain)
  • Starts at $4500 / m
    (multiple domains)
3,500+
BotifyNo public pricing500+
BrightEdgeNo public pricing1,700+

With so many different tools and so many different needs, how do you know what’s right for you?

I’m obviously biased towards Ahrefs, but we’re really in a league of our own with 44% of the S&P 500 choosing us. Look how we compare to other enterprise SEO tools in the market.

enterprise seo tools market share 

And our organic search share of voice (SoV).

enterprise seo tools share of voice

Final thoughts

There’s so much at stake in enterprise SEO and so many opportunities. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not making progress. Just try another way and never give up, and eventually you’ll make progress. When a company and its people finally get behind SEO, they can dominate an industry.

In this article, I wanted to communicate some of my experience in the enterprise world, and some things that I thought would be helpful. I hope it’s valuable information to some of you that are reading.

If you have any tips, enterprise SEO experiences you’d like to share or questions, let me know on Twitter.

Article Performance
Data from Ahrefs
  • Organic traffic
  • Linking websites

The number of websites linking to this post.

This post's estimated monthly organic search traffic.