Implementing SEO in large corporations

Monday, 1 October 2007

In August, we discussed if SEO is mainstream in Australia. It has been noticed that there are still a couple of barriers that prevent the full implementation of SEO among traditional businesses.
Making SEO changes in a small company can be hard. You have to talk to the developer, the marketing manager and try to coordinate their work. Imagine making changes on IBM's websites, talking to hundreds of people located at each side of the world... Pretty hard thing to do!

Stephan Spencer interviewed Mike Moran, IBM's Search Marketing Engineer about the unique challenges that mega-corporations have related to SEO implementation.

You can find below an overview of Mike Moran's tactics to deal with SEO implementation in large corporations:

Get the people to do the right thing

Search engine marketing activities are hard to centralise, especially in large corporations. There is one team responsible for the web development, one team for writting the copy. According to Mike Moran, you need to coordinate each specialist to do the right thing; and this is the most difficult challenge.

Use a universal performance evaluation tool

Mike Moran and his team started evaluting the current state of each of the IBM website for the basic SEO criteria such as Title, Description, H1.
Using a very simple 'scorecard', they communicated the results to the executives in a very simple way:

"We rolled up all of those statistics, country by country, division by division, and we set benchmarks where they had to be yellow for this thing or green if you got over a certain point. If you were well under what we were looking for you got red. This had to be very simple, because it was for executives"

As mentioned last month is our article, traditionall business executives with limited skills in search engine optimisation do not always understand the requirements. Using a simple evaluation tools and let them know that something need to be fixed is probably one of the best way to make them take an action !

Managing changes by embarrassment

Mike Moran' s strategy is to make executives embarrassed about the situation in their division or team. By reporting and communicating bad performance over a period of time (a couple of months), executives became more and more aware of what needs to be done. The SEO implementation started to become a higher priority and after a while, they agreed on solving this problem.

According to Mike Moran:
"They figured out how they were going to get their organizations to do these things, because somebody thought it was important, and they were just trying to look good. That’s basically one way that you can go after this stuff so that you can use, in large organizations, its processes and procedures against itself"

Mike Moran's tactics have proven to be successful. Over 7 years the traffic to IBM website originating from search has increased from 1% to 25%. However, it takes time efforts and skills that are usually beyond SEO...