Enterprise Level SEO – SAScon 2011

Enterprise Level SEO – SAScon 2011

26th May 2011

Martin McDonald of OMD recently gave an excellent presentation at SAScon 2011 on the topic of Enterprise Level SEO. He talk followed Asif Hussan of MSN EMEA giving a rundown on how the team at Microsoft tackle SEO on a day to day basis.

For me Martins talk raised 3 key take away points; Get Shit Done, Teach SEO and Choose The Right Strategy.

Get Shit Done

Martin explained that the reason many websites can rank for extremely competitive terms, against some very big businesses is that some big business just don’t get SEO, but once they do they will blow any website out of the water.

The reason that many big business fail to ‘get’ SEO is that they are run by antiquated boards – and they struggle to get buy in i.e. get shit done. Many technical SEO’s will fail to win an argument with a board of directors about SEO – the key to winning is to talk business not SEO.


“We need to buy more links” would become ”We need to incentivise brand evangelists” [sic]

“Our lawyers have told us to remove tracking cookies” would draw the response “that will hand a commercial advantage to our competitors”

“Our web agency quoted £50k to update URL structures” receives the answer “we’re losing £50k quarterly on un-necessary PPC spend”

Keeping this in mind, avoid becoming David Brent

Teach SEO

This point is so underestimated it is not true. If you can lead your whole business to think of SEO as business critical then you are onto a winner. Martin explained that educating stakeholders and getting ‘C-Level’ buy in is paramount. Build awareness of the benefits of free customer acquisition, if the company is already using PPC leverage ‘blended CPA’.

SEO traffic is often talked about as free traffic, but this is clearly not the case, consultants, analysis, content writers they all cost money – however the P&L for SEO will be more than 20x better than that of PPC.

And remember…although internal education on SEO is important, evangelise, don’t bore.

Choose The Right Strategy

Here Martin chose to focus on some examples of thinking outside the box when it comes to applying SEO for non transactional sites. Here SEO is used to build brand awareness – but should also drive brand association. And example was given of the keyword [How to make fruit juice] – it was suggested that brands such as Tropicana should be targeting these type of terms. People would very rarely go to Tropicana’s website to buy fruit juices, but the brand awareness that would be generated by a quirky page on how fruit juice is made would help immensely the next time a customer was driven to buy fruit juice.

The same was said of Fitness First – they should clearly be targeting terms such as [Het Healthy] for the same reasons as above.

Overall Martins presentation was widely accepted as being one of the best of the conference – and I hope to include his slides in this post when they are made available.

This is a guest post by Dan Taylor, an “SEO in Manchester” and active blogger on his own and companies blog. Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily State of Search. Like this post? Let us know!


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This post was written by an author who is not a regular contributor to State of Digital. See all the other regular State of Digital authors here. Opinions expressed in the article are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of State of Digital.
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