August 2, 2016
Take even a basic dive into SEO best practices and you’ll discover there are a lot of differences between enterprise and SMB SEO campaigns.
Despite the differences – like how enterprise businesses may have a massive marketing budget at their arsenal – I know from working with clients that there’s still a lot SMBs can learn from enterprise strategies.
Here are seven lessons from enterprise SEO campaigns that your SMB can start using today.
Lesson 1: Solve CMS Issues
Believe it or not, the standard website setup on most content management systems isn’t very SEO friendly.
Evaluate the CMS you use, then customize and fix any issues that are bad for SEO. These can include:
• Slow site speed;
• Poor mobile experience;
• Improper 301 or 404 redirects;
• URL structures that are difficult to index (and discourage clicks due to poor readability).
There are many potential technical issues on your site that are bad for SEO. Either have your site evaluated by a professional (like an enterprise business would), or use tools like Screaming Frog Site Crawler to identify issues, and follow technical SEO best practices.
Lesson 2: Diversify Your Keywords
I recommend that SMBs take advantage of long-tail keywords and avoid optimizing for the highly competitive, ultra-relevant terms that enterprise companies are targeting.
But, like the enterprise companies do as part of their campaigns, remember to diversify your keywords. Use all the long-tail keyword roots people are searching for.
For example, a nationwide auto repair shop might target “auto repair,” while a mom and pop auto shop could optimize for “Toyota transmission auto repair.”
But “car repair” and “truck repair” are other relevant terms that both types of businesses can use to diversify targeting, long-tail or not.
Even if “Toyota transmission auto repair” is your main focus, don’t ignore other relevant terms that people are searching for.
Lesson 3: Make the Most of Content Marketing
Content marketing is a big opportunity for SEO:
• 92 percent of marketers say content creation is effective for SEO;
• Google favors fresh content in SERPs;
• 50 percent of Internet users are more likely to click on a search result for a particular brand if that brand appears more than once in the results.
It’s not only the big brands that can position themselves as a niche authority through blogging and content marketing. SMBs can reap all the same benefits, and you don’t need a massive budget to make it happen.
For a time and cost-effective content marketing strategy, you could:
• Hire a freelance niche writer to blog;
• Enlist your internal team members to contribute content;
• Use social media automation tools to simplify distribution;
• Take advantage of free analytics tools.
In fact, you can affordably outsource almost any aspect of your content marketing strategy to professionals who know exactly how to optimize it.
Lesson 4: Shoot for High Authority Links
Link building remains an important strategy for SEO, but a lot has changed over the years. It’s most important now to garner high authority backlinks, and many enterprise companies publish guest posts on national news sites and popular blogs to get them.
Meanwhile, most SMBs are left grabbing low-hanging fruit like directory sites to get backlinks – and unfortunately, this strategy can do more harm than good for SEO.
In reality, you can shoot for authority sites as well.
You can aim for local .gov and .org backlinks by sponsoring local events featured on these sites or submitting content to them. I also suggest signing up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO), where journalists are often seeking quotes from experts. Respond to these queries to get a backlink from news outlets.
And just because you’re an SMB doesn’t mean you can’t get a link from Huffington Post or Entrepreneur. Many high authority blogs and magazines welcome guest contributions and syndicate great content from smaller businesses.
Just pitch and write something amazing, and a high authority site is bound to be interested.
Lesson 5: Integrate Social Media and SEO
Just like content marketing, social media is starting to have a big impact on SEO.
More and more research is continuing to surface demonstrating the role of social for SEO, including the latest ranking factors report by Searchmetrics, which found correlations between social signals on several platforms and rank.
Like enterprise businesses have done, SMBs should take advantage of social for SEO by becoming active on the platforms relevant to their audience.
Regardless of whether your secretary manages your social profiles or you outsource the task, make sure whoever’s in charge understands your target keywords and incorporates them into your social profiles and posts.
Lesson 6: Take Advantage of Paid and Organic Search
Enterprise companies are more likely than SMBs to take advantage of paid search options, but smaller businesses can reap the same benefits.
Google says having a PPC campaign improves SEO, and external research backs it up as well: Seer’s analysis of their own clients found that brands who had an ad and organic listing appear together in search saw a 522 percent increase in organic click-through rate (CTR).
Neilson research also found that brands with organic and paid listings received 92 percent of total clicks. Organic listings alone only received 60 percent.
PPC analytics in Adwords are also robust, giving you insights into the impact of certain keywords and ad copy on consumer behavior. You can even see which search terms led people to your ads.
This information can be used to inform your SEO efforts as well.
Lesson 7: Analyze and Test
Enterprise companies are known for using advanced analytics for their marketing efforts, but so should SMBs.
SEO isn’t all about getting people to your website. It’s about getting conversions.
Monitor key performance indicators and continually conduct tests to improve the effectiveness of your website elements.
These include landing page design, content types, calls to action, page titles, link acquisition techniques, and more.
Just like enterprise companies, SMBs have a unique audience. Instead of relying on industry best practices to optimize your site, you should determine how your specific audience relates and reacts to your SEO, PPC, content marketing, and social media efforts as a whole.
Know any other qualities of enterprise SEO campaigns that SMBs can learn from? Comment below:
Aaron Agius, CEO of worldwide digital agency Louder Online is, according to Forbes, among the world's leading digital marketers. Working with clients such as Salesforce, Coca-Cola, IBM, Intel, and scores of stellar brands, Aaron is a growth marketer - a fusion between search, content, social, and PR. Find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or on the Louder Online blog.