Caleb Donegan will be speaking on Enterprise SEO at Engage 2018, which will take place March 8th, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.
1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.
I have worked in the digital space for a little over 10 years, and have worked across a broad spectrum of roles. I started working for a .com in LA, doing inside sales for a company that specialized in local job sites. My job was primarily to call HR managers and try to get them to post their open jobs on our LA site. If the cold call was a success (which I am sorry to say was not common), it was also my job to then write the post itself and make it live on the site. This was 2007 and was in the heyday of the Monster.coms and Careerbuilders of the world (Craigslist would soon emerge and basically kill all local job sites), making it really important that the posts were optimized for search – this served as my first true introduction to the world of SEO. I would write posts that catered to the local market, industry specific jargon, value props littered with keywords and then ensure the company looking to hire linked to the listing(s). People weren’t putting forth too much effort in this space as it was done mostly by fresh out of college kids just wanting a job (summarized me perfectly) so I had a pretty good deal of success.
When the job market crashed in 2010 I moved into an e-commerce role. I worked for a manufacturing company and basically acted as a consultant traveling all around the country meeting with companies that sold out product and then helping them both optimize for search, but also taught them about additional digital tactics (SEM, Social, Display, etc..). The idea was while I was helping them with their tactics they would sell more of our product – which proved to be true – and also served to broaden my digital skill set. I then moved on to spend the last six years in Boise building an ad platform software to help enterprise companies with many local entities (think large retailers, insurance with agents, branded manufacturers) execute granular campaigns in each local market using that market’s data and characteristics.
Most recently I moved into the VP, Digital role at Vacasa to oversee the digital team responsible for the success of our website from and SEO/SEM/Conversion perspective. The vacation rental space is busting with opportunity and we use a variety of channels to get our properties in front of guests and our property management value in front of owners. The landscape of networks we manage is always interesting, and I get energy from tying strategies together to create a holistic approach to digital.
2) What are some aspects of Enterprise SEO that are totally foreign to SEO’s working on smaller scale sites?
Inability to be agile in every aspect of your site, but also the ability to throw your weight around to expedite changes in the SERP.
With a smaller scale site it is easier to make changes that should have a larger impact. For example if there is a page that is important and is struggling you can implement a content, markup, review and/or backlink strategy for that specific page. This should help move the needle, and you can in many cases introduce this granularity to your entire site .Allocating resources like that also makes sense with sites on a smaller scale because they are normally attacking a more niche market.
Enterprises have to focus on a much larger market making it difficult to execute at this level. Resources must be put to larger content strategies that take into account more data (demographic, geographic, etc.), more of a rising tide lifts all boats approach. This is not to say they can’t have granularity, but it is not as easy to allocate resources at that level for a single page or set of pages unless they are of maximum priority. That said, efforts of an enterprise site can see improvements much faster as they (in many cases) carry more clout.
Goals of the sites are the other big differentiator. Many enterprise companies garner a heavy amount of traffic they must handle, and smaller sites may not have that same load. As a smaller site it is easier to focus on the “right” traffic and direct them to the right place, where as with enterprise you will get lots of non-targeted traffic and still need to land them at the right place.
3) Page speed has been mentioned recently as a ranking factor that’s increasing in importance. How can you positively impact that metric across a large scale site efficiently and effectively?
First, prioritize your high traffic pages. Would be great to speed up the whole site at once, and depending on architecture this can be the case, but more often than not the site was built in buckets and with different goals. Some pages are driven through visual tactics meaning lots of images. Others information heavy while others might offer lead forms or templated experiences. Figure out which people engage with the most, or which you want ranking the highest and start there.
The tactics for increasing page speed (compressing images, browser caching, server response time, etc.) are pretty finite, but, and this is kind of obvious, start with the ones that can have the biggest impact. If you find that not all your pages are being crawled due to crawlers timing out, start there. If you find that your CSS files are way too big, start there.
Your other option is to do a full overhaul of the site and launch with many changes, however I would advise against this. The problem here is if things improve (or don’t) and you made many changes, you won’t be able pin-point the one(s) that had the greatest affect.
Todd Mintz knows PPC…knows Social Media…knows SEO…knows Blogging…knows Domaining…and knows them all real well. He runs growth marketing for <a href="https://www.position2.com"Position2)and is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon’s Search Engine Marketing Association, and he can be found here on Twitter and Facebook.