Most businesspeople have a good idea what an enterprise company is: either a Fortune 1000 or Global 2000 company (basically, a really big corporation). But what makes an enterprise website – i.e., a site that will benefit from enterprise SEO?
When it comes to enterprise SEO, it’s less about the size of the company and more about the number of pages, especially products or services. If your website has 1,000 or more products, it may be an enterprise site.
Take T-Mobile, for example. In its mobile phones and tablet support section, Bing indexes 34.4k pages and Google indexes 41.7k pages. It has specific product pages for every device the company supports.
T-Mobile is a classic example – it’s the number of pages that makes this an enterprise website, not the size of the business.
A Fortune 1000 company can have a small website. Express Scripts Holding has 681 indexed pages. Berkshire Hathaway has 796 indexed pages. These are medium-sized websites, and lots of their pages consist of press releases or financial reports. While these smaller sites may benefit from enterprise SEO techniques, a lot of SEO practitioners and webmasters would hesitate to call them enterprise sites.
The opposite is true, too: yours does not have to be a big company to have an enterprise website. I think everyone can agree that Wikipedia, Search Engine Land and Ars Technica are enterprise sites based on the sheer amount of content.
Authority is another divider between enterprise and non-enterprise sites, at least for the sake of SEO. Websites with lots of external links and other authority factors will have more PageRank to pass to deep pages. Popular sites may benefit from Google’s supposed brand bias as well.
By contrast, there are a lot of online stores with 1,000 products but just 300 links. The actual number of pages vs. links doesn’t matter. It’s lots of pages, but few links and little authority.
Websites like this exceed their ranking strength. They are unlikely to possess enough authority to rank deep pages, except for low-traffic and specific long-tail queries. Without sufficient juice, these deep pages may not get indexed and deep crawls will be few and far between.
There are four hallmarks to enterprise SEO:
Like all SEO, enterprise SEO begins with smart keyword selection. The emphasis should be on selecting high- and medium-tail keywords that make good categories and subcategories, and can be combined with other words to make long tail queries.
See if you can discern the keyword and title tag pattern I’ve created:
Phones, Tablets & Devices
In the example above, Phones, Tablets & Devices is the main keyword phrase, and so it appears at the end of each title tag.
From there, I chose to organize the pages according to the following hierarchy: operating system > brand > product line > individual product
Note that not every item in that hierarchy is applicable in every case. For example, the iOS operating system is used only by one brand (Apple), so those two levels in the hierarchy can be combined into one:
Similarly, none of the HTC products listed above share a common product line, so that level in the hierarchy is not necessary. The Samsung section is the only one where all 4 elements of the hierarchy apply.
Importantly, at the deepest level within each group, I create a page for each specific product.
Notice how each page title incorporates the keywords from the pages one level up. This logical progression generates long-tail queries.
The title tag naming conventions outlined above represents a set of rules. Good enterprise content management systems let you create rules that set up pages and load them with content. Imagine receiving a spreadsheet or database with 5,000 products. Do you want to set up these pages one by one? Can you? What if you have to have the pages up in a day?
The rules have to be flexible. With Galaxy, I went from Android to Samsung to Galaxy to the phones. With Apple, I went from Apple to the device type to the phones and tablets. Not every set of products will break down the same way.
At the very least, automation should create the URLs, title tags, H1 tags, breadcrumb navigation links, and canonical tags.
A template will have all the proper tags (meta description, image alt, machine readable markup) so you do not have to optimize one page at a time. Anyone who administers WordPress or a blog will be familiar with this.
At the enterprise SEO level, templates need a bit of intelligence. The last thing anyone wants is a webpage with holes in the text created by empty database fields. This means they have to recognize when data is not present and adjust accordingly. They also have to be flexible enough to handle variations, like different numbers of images on different pages.
Templates also guide design. This is what can make your pages responsive so they load and look good on any screen or device.
The best automation and templates are useless without good content. Somewhere along the line, someone has to type everything that goes into the database. Selection of categories and subcategories must be consistent.
A major mistake lots of enterprise sites make, especially ones that receive content and data from suppliers, is to use the stock text.
First, you have to make certain what you receive will work with the categories you set-up and your automation rules.
Second, if you get stock text from a supplier, so will everyone else who uses the same supplier. It’s very likely your website will have the same text as other sites unless you rewrite everything. In an Internet filled with duplicate text, rewriting everything may be the thing that gets your site on the top pages.
Performing SEO for a website with hundreds or even thousands of products is no easy task, even with proper automation and optimized templates in place. Even if you aren’t a Fortune 1000 company, you may be in need enterprise SEO if your site is large enough.
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