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I had a financial accounting professor back in college who refused to give an “A” on an exam, even if you got all the answers right if the way you got to the answer did not align with her methodology.
For her, it was less about right and wrong. It was more about how you came to the answers.
The same rule applies to your enterprise SEO strategy.
Most C-level executives find sitting through an enterprise SEO strategy presentation comparable to being on hold with an automated system. Read: boring and irritating.
That’s because too many “SEO gurus” are spewing out SEO terminology like “CWVs” or “E-E-A-T” in the form of broems during their enterprise SEO strategy meetings instead of showcasing how they arrived at their answers.
This isn’t an enterprise SEO strategy.
This is you enjoying hearing the sound of your own voice.
As an SEO director, within my first 90 days at a job, I shared my SEO findings with key stakeholders, including the C-suite, as I uncovered them through a weekly email.
Once I finish my audits, my list of “key stakeholders” grows exponentially within those 90 days, with people wanting to know more and forwarding my emails to relevant team members.
They didn’t just like the data I was sharing. These people become invested in your SEO.
As more people in the company understand what exactly SEO is and how it impacts their work, it illustrates how SEO and other channels can partner. It establishes trust, authority, and buy-in across departments before pitching to your C-suite.
As you take off on your own, consider incorporating these steps into your next pitch for a successful enterprise SEO strategy.
1. Use data and research to sell your strategy
The first step in creating an enterprise SEO strategy is to compile the data based on your research.
You don’t want to walk into a room of millionaires pitching your enterprise SEO strategy based on assumptions and experience.
Have you seen what happens on “Shark Tank” when people don’t know their data? Cringe-worthy.
Protect yourself with data. Pretend you’re a German Shepherd sniffing out drugs at an airport.
Here’s what you should have before developing your enterprise SEO strategy:
- Competitor research
- Market segmentation
- Product marketing roadmap
As Glinda, the Good Witch, said to Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”:
- “You’ve always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.”
Use your research combined with your SEO budget to tell your plan’s story.
2. Make magic with your metrics
Unfortunately, the SEO community is filled with “SEO gurus” who have forced business leaders to call BS on SEO professionals pretending to have all the answers.
People can smell when something is fishy – except for the folks kneeling in more ways than one to the “guru” Yogi Bhajan.
Businesses need a data-driven approach. If you make a bold statement, you better be able to back it up.
But your job as an enterprise SEO professional is to make magic with your data and research.
If a data wizard and a creative wanna-be artist had a baby, it would be an SEO professional.
Think of your strategy as a short story. Our brains think in stories.
Uri Hasson, professor of psychology at Princeton, explained the impacts of storytelling in a TED Talk.
“When the woman spoke English, the volunteers understood her story, and their brains synchronized. When she had activity in her insula, an emotional brain region, the listeners did too. When her frontal cortex lit up, so did theirs. By simply telling a story, the woman could plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the listeners’ brains.”
I start my SEO strategy presentation with revenue numbers to grab my audience’s attention immediately.
I follow this slide by sharing what pages are driving the most revenue.
After this, dive into your high-level benchmarks.
Finally, bring the wow factor by identifying key components your competitors are missing.
Turn your enterprise SEO strategy into a story to help your boss make better business decisions.
3. Incorporate your findings into recommendations
Making recommendations for an enterprise website with millions of webpages is not as easy as asking Alexa.
At an enterprise company, one of the first things SEO professionals must do is engrain SEO into the culture by educating people on what SEO truly means.
Here is an example of how I explain SEO.
I build my strategy following these three pillars, understanding that all of them will overlap in execution.
My deck will dedicate three sections for:
- 3-5 technical SEO recommendations
- 3-5 content recommendations
- 3-5 link building recommendations
What you uncover in your audits will determine how many recommendations you share and if you even have time to dedicate to link building.
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4. Goals give your strategy meaning
Get page speed score to 80+.
Increase organic traffic sessions by 20%.
Watch the last 25 hours of Letter Kenny by Saturday night.
Break down my monthly budget to see how much money I spend on breakfast burritos.
Hey, goals are goals.
C-suite executives love talking about goals, forecasting, and OKRs. Give them what they want.
Here is an example of my 12-month goals.
5. Walk through your roadmap
Your SEO roadmap is a guide to the success of your enterprise SEO strategy. It showcases accountability to your vision and acts as a plan for execution.
I use Asana for our SEO roadmaps broken down by months and quarters to roll up to a full-year roadmap.
This is often a big win when presenting to executives. Remember to keep it short and sweet by clustering topics into themes.
For example, I bucket all content topics for the month into one section and tags. This way, if I want to display all the content work for the year, it’s a quick filter.
Be open and honest about any hesitations on your delivery to avoid disappointments at the end of the year.
6. Close with the next steps and Q&A
Always leave at least 15 minutes at the end of your presentation to discuss action items for everyone on the call and open the floor for questions.
Make your enterprise SEO strategy legendary
There are many paths to becoming a legend at your company.
Some people summit Everest.
Others become brown nosers of the right people.
And some lead by example, like you will if you follow these steps when creating an enterprise SEO strategy.
Luckily, showing your work costs you nothing but time.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.