Eli Schwartz will be speaking on Enterprise SEO at Engage which will take place March 7–8 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 am the Director of Growth at SurveyMonkey. In my role, I am responsible for the growth of organic traffic to all of our properties and products. I work with an amazing team that oversees SEO strategies and implementation across all of our sites and around the world. We have a deep partnership with the product, design and engineering teams to ensure everything works together to achieve the best organic results. In addition to SEO, I also lead the efforts in ensuring that traffic to our surveys ultimately leads to wider adoption and engagement by people that are not yet our users by showing them messaging that will encourage them to want to learn more about our products.
I have been at SurveyMonkey for six years, and during that time I have worn many hats. My first role was in leading SEO efforts, and I was the first full-time person twelve years in to the companies existence. I helped engineers re-architect the logged out portions of our website in a manner that aligned with SEO best practices, directed the content teams in the type of content offering we needed, and partnered with localization teams to multiply our SEO efforts into 16 languages.
My SEO work at SurveyMonkey gave me broad exposure and experience into SEM, CRO, ASO and international marketing.
To deepen my international marketing skills and enhance my broader marketing experience, I moved to Singapore for nearly two years to lead the company’s APAC marketing efforts. It was a constant learning experience of applying cultural lessons to marketing campaigns which taught me how much listening to customer voices and getting the user perspective matters in marketing, and especially digital marketing.
2) SurveyMonkey’s has website variations in many languages. How are you able to do effective SEO on websites where you don’t speak the language?
As anyone that has ever done international SEO knows there is a huge difference translating a site into another language and optimizing a site in another language for search engines. When translating content it can be linguistically correct and users will understand it, but it may not have maximum visibility in search if the words used are not the most frequently searched. As an example, a site written for a British audience will be easily understood by anyone in the United States, but it wouldn’t rank on the most ideal keywords if it used common British words in place of American ones.
As I began my journey into international SEO, my first discovery was that while all of our sites were translated perfectly on a dictionary level, they were missing out on the majority of the potential audience because the keywords used were not written exactly how a user in a particular language might use them.
To tap the vast opportunity I had discovered in our international markets, I developed an international SEO process to optimize for languages I didn’t know. It begins with using translation as a base, but then extends into international keyword research, and competitive analysis. Once I had completed this process in a particular language, I knew just about all the most important keywords in that language. (I even did this in Asian languages where I didn’t even know what I was reading.) The results from this effort always saw growth of hundreds of percent and it was one of the largest growth levers I have ever deployed at SurveyMonkey.
3) What are some key analytical metrics most relevant to Enterprise-level websites that you need to keep close tabs on?
Throughout my SEO and growth career I have had a chance to peek under the hood at the strategies and performance of some really big companies. Every company seems to have their own particular way that they want to track organic performance, but there’s always room for improvement.
There was one company I was working with as an adviser that generated nearly a BILLION search impressions per month, but they were focused on how many logins that came from search. They were completely ignoring things like crawl rates, click thru’s from search or even improving their internal link flow.
Another company was very focused on rankings on their keywords, but because they weren’t tracking search traffic completely missed that attempts at international SEO gutted 50% of their traffic.
In my opinion, enterprises need to be on top of all organic metrics that are critical to their bottom line. The most important metric is revenue or leads generated from organic, but everything that funnels down to this number should be monitored too. Where I think most organizations fall into the trap of not monitoring the right numbers is that they don’t have an internal person responsible for SEO. Even if they are relying on an agency or consultant for strategy and implementation, there needs to be someone in the organization responsible for performance and not just managing a vendor. When there is a person who’s compensation is tied to SEO you can be more confident that they will be on top of all the right numbers.
In short, large sites need to monitor their crawl + index rates, their overall search impressions, click-thru rates, and on-page performance of search users once they arrive at a site.