4 Signs Your Agency Is Ready to Take on Enterprise SEO

In your SEO career, there may come a time when you feel like you are doing a lot more than you did before.

What made you start to think about that?

Has your 600th local customer improved and realized it wasn’t a challenge anymore?

Or perhaps you feel that your business or independent agency has grown employed and matured to the point where you are no longer exercising your full potential.

If so, it may be time to move downstream.

It might be time to move from traditional SEO to enterprise SEO.

This is by no means a light decision. It’s tough stuff, honestly.

It’s better if you have the employees, the skills, the ability to sell, and the confidence enough to get out there and present yourself as a search optimizer for some of the biggest brands on the internet.

But let’s go back for a minute on that.

Like I said, moving to enterprise SEO is a huge decision.

How will you know when it’s really the right time for you?

Allow me to share some criteria you should look for to determine when it’s time to turn your strategy upside down.

But first, let’s be clear about the SEO differences I’m discussing.

How is Enterprise SEO different?

Enterprise SEO strategies differ from traditional SEO mainly in their size and scale.

Whatever you do for a small SEO client, you are doing bigger for an enterprise client.

This is an enterprise SEO chart in pretty broad strokes, but for the most part, it proves to be true.

Let’s disassemble this idea.

Let’s say, for a traditional SEO account, you and your team need to crawl and optimize 200 URLs.

Depending on the size of your team, that’s not too bad.

You’ll see what Screaming Frog has to say about the site and then divide the work among your employees and get it done.

Think of an enterprise-wide website, though.

How many URLs does it have?

100,000? 500,000?


Libra Challenges

If we stick to the idea that enterprise SEO is traditional but bigger SEO, then those million pages need the same SEO optimizations that a 100-page website needs.

The difference will be having the staff to implement them, knowing the site infrastructure is good enough not to cause other site issues when implementing, and working with the client’s in-house SEO team to ensure everything runs smoothly.

For example, I’ve worked in small Shopify stores where the topic causes the category and grouping pages to repeat title tags.

When this happens on an e-commerce website with over a million pages, you need a solution right away, whether it is related to adding keywords or different custom markup.

This is exactly how it works in enterprise SEO.

Big customers are equal in big responsibilities, and you need the knowledge, staff, tools and absolute ability to deliver what these sites need.

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Enterprise level reporting and communication

On this last point, you can also expect more check-ins from your enterprise customers than from your smaller accounts.

The healthiest service you can charge for large scale SEO work comes at the cost of providing your customers with more regular progress reports.

Let’s say you need to implement a smart internal linking strategy on a 600,000 page e-commerce website.

You know it’s a formidable task, and so does your customer.

All they ask is that you update them with the work you’ve done in the past two weeks.

Make sure you have the staff to deliver continuous workflow and the ability to demonstrate it every two weeks.

Enterprise SEO, then, presents SEO agencies with issues of operations, staffing, morale, organization, time management, and reporting.

You have to think about how to deal with all of these things before you fully commit to the course of the institution.

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So, how will you know it’s time to move from traditional SEO to enterprise SEO?

1. How long can you handle page size

You will know that you can move to Enterprise SEO when you can deal with an exponentially increasing volume of pages for optimization.

As you can imagine, fixing duplicate title tags, meta descriptions, H1s, and content on a local attorney’s website is quite different than doing it for the number two or three online shoe stores in the country.

And I’m not just talking about having knowledgeable employees to do the work physically.

If you are upgrading, there is also an issue with automation tools that you will probably need to upgrade to crawl everything.

Sure, Screaming Frog only has the free version and one paid version, but if you’re using Semrush or Ahrefs, you may need to upgrade to the bigger and better plans.

This is because, depending on the size of the client, you’ll need to be able to track 10,000 keywords instead of 5,000 and perform more site audits each month.

If you look at the prices of those higher plans and decide you can afford them based on what you’re going to be doing, you may be in a good place to make the change.

2. When your agency is mature enough

The next criterion to meet if you want to deal with enterprise SEO clients is to be a mature agency.

Now, I mean it both ways – mature representation and development of effective and efficient business procedures.

Let’s focus on the latter.

Saying that a company is mature means that it has everything it has to continue growing at a steady pace and becoming a true hitter in its industry.

If your agency exited the startup phase, you may remember how things were different.

You probably have a skeletal staff that has more than enough work to handle.

Your day-to-day operations may be largely scattered, with no preferred practices defined or explicitly followed.

I get things done, but maybe only after working 60 or more hours a week.

But mature companies have outgrown that.

They’ve settled and earned enough retained earnings to hire managers and teams and define operations for everything.

Everyone does what they are best at.

The company can predict its finances and fulfill them reasonably on time.

And perhaps most importantly, employees in a mature company want to be in the office (or home computer) every day, doing the work, using their skills to please and impress the company’s customers.

This can only come from client-focused messages and forward-thinking from senior leadership.

This is the kind of environment in which enterprise-wide SEO success may occur.

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3. When you have the organizational structure

You’ll know you’re ready to move into enterprise SEO when you have the organizational structure to deal with your biggest clients.

I don’t just mean the number of bodies in the seats.

This is critical, but whether you have 60 employees or 80 employees doesn’t matter as much to me as making sure that each one of those employees is in the right seat and subscribes to the company’s overall vision.

Everyone in your company must do their best at achieving it and follow the goals set by team leaders and executive management.

Since we’re talking about team leaders – middle managers, if you will – the best things they can do for their team members are:

  • clearly define goals,
  • enabling them to help themselves,
  • encourage their success,
  • Let them know they care about them,
  • You will always be there to help when needed.

When employees feel valued and appreciated as part of an overall undertaking, they tend to be happier in their roles.

And employees who are happy with their roles are all likely to be in the company’s mission statement and do their best to deliver the best SEO product for organizations on the planet.

4. When you have the revenue to cover other periods of growth

Finally, let’s talk about the revenue and how you’ll need it to turn into the SEO agency you want.

Let’s say you are a small to mid-sized SEO agency that wants to get into the enterprise game.

That period where you position yourself as an entity that can handle the big fish is likely to have some bumps.

It won’t happen overnight, and while your sales team or subject matter experts work to close leads, you’ll need more short-term gains to fund the comparative slow growth of your organization.

But don’t underestimate the importance of those other incomes.

Breaking into a new game takes time.

If you leave everything to focus on getting to one or two major clients, you won’t have the resources to do anything you’ve put in here; Definitely not for hiring and developing your teams and processes.

While signing new customers is important during this time, your senior leadership should also take care of keeping attrition, or disruption, at a relatively viable 3% to 5%.

Hey, I’ve heard it for years: customer retention is just as important as signing new customers, and it’s real here.

You’ve seen the amount of planning, work, and coordination involved in implementing SEO strategies for your clients.

You cannot afford to jeopardize any of your past successes now.

Define the vision and processes that will lead CSOs to demonstrate true value to your customers, and they will want to stay with you for the duration.

See through the bumps in the road

You probably already know that plans are one thing; Doing what you planned is completely different.

You will run into some hurdles in the way of becoming an SEO expert in an organization.

But I feel like you’ll know when it’s time to try.

That will likely be when you reach the criteria you set above.

The future is open and waiting for your arrival.

All you have to do is take that first step.

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Featured image: Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock

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