Enterprise SEO: What You Need to Know
What Is Considered An Enterprise Level Company
Enterprise level companies are major corporations that provide services around the world, a large geographical area, or multiple areas. More often than not these enterprise level companies are to be found exclusively in the Fortune 1000 or Global 2000, as there really isn’t much room in the world for more of these gargantuan-sized companies.
However, though such huge corporations are considered enterprise level in the real world, online enterprise status is given only to those companies with appropriately sized websites. In fact, in the arena of enterprise companies versus enterprise websites, it is exclusively the size of the site that matters. A company may be mid-level or even small, but as long as their website is large enough they will be considered enterprise level for the purposes of enterprise SEO.
Websites generally fall into the enterprise level when they possess a few defining characteristics. Namely the website must (of course) be large, often containing ten thousand to ten million or more pages within its intricate and hierarchical organization structure. Its architecture will be suitably complex in order to support all these pages in a large number of silos.
Common Issues With Enterprise Websites That Affect SEO
The issues that commonly stand in the way of enterprise websites achieving optimal SEO are many and diverse, but more often than not they come down to bad content management, slow site speed, unhealthy link profiles, clumsy website structure or just an overabundance of thin content in general.
Because of the high amount of pages inherent to an enterprise website, it is often the case that duplicate pages will be found within. This seriously affects the website’s standing in SEO as search engine algorithms are constantly crawling websites to find duplicates. The problem with such duplicate content is that the search engines will not know which version of the page is the original and will thus dilute all of them in their indices. This means that the original page (the one in which all the authority, anchor text, trust, etc. is invested) will get lost in the shuffle of duplicate pages.
A page with no authority due to its, as Google calls it, “appreciably similar” content will not be found to be as relevant in search engine queries as those with no existing duplicates. Duplication is an issue that is very common with some content management systems and can result in a significant loss in SEO ranking and traffic. Interestingly enough, it has been found that nearly 29% of the Internet is made up of duplicate content—be it copied content, printer friendly copies, session ID duplicates, or URL variations—most of which is created automatically by subpar CMS and is labeled in the world of SEO as “thin content”.
Thin content is not just made up of duplicate pages, but all the automatically generated, low quality, content-farmed pages the Internet is overburdened with. Enterprise websites are often the breeding ground for such inane pages as their large sizes can support a bulk of thin content (much of which can go undiscovered by the website owner, though it won’t escape the notice of Google’s Panda algorithm!). A good way to know if your enterprise website is full of thin content is to look at the amount of time users will spend on your pages. If they are quickly bouncing from pages it is because the content therein is not satisfying their needs and is therefore to be considered as “thin”.
Back when SEO was simply about packing a page with keywords, these pages were very much in vogue. Now though, as algorithms for every search engine advance, such pages are easily identifiable and will drag you down in the rankings. To stop this from happening it will become essential that enterprise website owners crawl their own pages to root out the thin content or pages with no content at all. Once again, these may be automatically generated by your CMS or just be holdovers from an earlier age of SEO, but they do pose a real risk to your enterprise SEO ranking.
Related: What is Quality Content?
Slow Site Speed
The grim truth of enterprise sites is that their largness inevitably makes them slower than smaller, more streamlined sites. Slow website speeds are usually due to the time it takes for both Front-end and Server-side components to load. Inefficient code and processes on both ends can make for an aggravating user experience as they wait for your homepage to coalesce. This affects SEO in a number of ways, the most important of which is search engines identifying visitors leaving your site after a few moments of frustratingly waiting.
Site speed is a definite factor in enterprise SEO ranking as the time it takes to get to the meat of your site is essential to establishing user trust. Google, Bing and Yahoo! algorithms heavily take into account visitor experience and functionality. Tackling slow site speed can mean a serious overhaul of your site’s Front-end ( which affects the time it takes to download and render a page). However this may not entirely solve the problem. More often than not it is the Server-side (the way an HTML page is generated by your server) slowdowns that are the root cause of slow site speed, and these are usually due to overloaded and bottlenecked servers.
Optimizing your server speed may just come down to buying a more powerful server, but the problem can also be due to an overload of thin content and empty pages as well as bad coding. Enterprise SEO can and will fall by the wayside if the site does not perform up to the expected standards of average users, making slow site speeds a huge mitigating factor in maintaining and gaining search engine rankings.
Building Your Link Profile and Keep Your Link Profile Clean
One of the most important (if not the most important) factors in Enterprise SEO is building a good link profile. Many people know that backlinks (links in other websites that refer back to your site) help to establish your site as authoritative and quality in the eyes of the search engines and their users. An enterprise site’s link profile is the overall look at these backlinks, what types of links they are, how they were acquired, and the anchor text (or the words used in those links).
Many enterprise sites have worked with traditional PR companies in the past to build large link profiles, however this doesn’t mean that those links are necessarily beneficial to SEO. Building a solid link profile requires backlinks to pages in your site other than your homepage (traditionally the most linked page). Expanding your linking strategy to include internal category pages will help focus your users attention, drive traffic to other pages on your site and thus, improve your SEO.
Keeping your link profile clean is another huge factor in maintaining and building a good link profile. Spammy, low value, and low authority link backs can destroy your link profile and make the search engines take notice (and not in the way you want). Knowing exactly what websites are back linking yours is incredibly important to keeping a clean link profile.
Chances are that if you are an Enterprise site then some unsavory and spam-ridden websites are using links to your site in order to gain authority in the eyes of SEO. Running constant analysis of your link profile and enforcing strict linking rules will help to mitigate any spammy or bad connections. After all, the last thing an ecommerce site desires is to incur a penalty for bad linking.
Enterprise SEO is also heavily determined by the structure of your website. The size of these sites and the number of pages that consistently get added can make it difficult for search engines to crawl if they’re not properly structured. Indexing your pages in an efficient and SEO-minded manner can take time and expertise but is essential to allowing search engines to effectively crawl the site. This can mean restructuring your website or, at the very least, optimizing it in order to allow for more streamlined crawling and, therefore, SEO. If a website is not structured in a SEO-minded fashion then it will inevitably suffer in the rankings system.
Related: Website Structure Best Practices
The world of Enterprise SEO can seem daunting. After all, such titanic and cumbersome websites are already difficult to maintain, not to mention optimize. The hefty nature of these sites and the many factors that go into pushing their search engine rankings should not keep enterprise site owners from pursuing SEO. Enterprise SEO is a constant, grinding battle against the spam winds, content corruption and server failures that plague websites everywhere, but you don’t have to fight alone.
Digital marketing agencies that specialize in Enterprise SEO are out there and ready to take on these challenges for you. They will know through long experience within the SEO space, the best ways to structure your site, build you a clean link profile, improve your site speed and root out your duplicate pages and thin content.