I don’t know about you, but at a certain point in my SEO career, I had gotten pretty used to being ignored. Whether it was a development project we were pulled in too late for or a redesign we weren’t told about, I quickly realized that SEO was a job of “putting out fires.”
And I wasn’t alone.
Most of the SEOs I started meeting through industry events and Twitter expressed the same sentiment, agreeing that even if they weren’t in that situation currently, they had been at one point or another throughout their career.
What was going on?
“The root problem is that everyone needs to do SEO, but the only people who have it on their performance review goals are members of the SEO team. This makes SEO tasks, for [other departments], more of a favor than a must-do activity. Most are avoiding this type of extra work in order to hit a timeline, knowing they can ‘fix it later,’ but not realizing it is often exponentially more expensive.”
SEO is the process of optimizing the elements of your website (i.e. code and content) for search, but SEO was being treated as its own channel, not integrated into content and engineering departments. No wonder we’ve always been playing catch-up!
Then came the light at the end of the tunnel.
Prioritize & unsilo: How enterprise companies have been shifting their SEO practices
When I started working for Botify, I was exposed to a whole new brand of SEO — enterprise SEO. If you’ve mostly worked on moderately-sized websites and you get a lot of your SEO information from Twitter like me, you may not know about how in-house SEOs at large enterprise organizations are advancing the field.
More and more organizations are taking notice that integrating SEO into the entire company has massive benefits for organic search traffic, and consequently, revenue.
For the first time, I started to hear about SEO teams that were:
- Embedded into both content and product teams
- Properly resourced with talent and tools
- Consulted before embarking on website projects.
I was floored, but I also realized that this couldn’t be true of everyone. There are still likely plenty of SEOs whose success is stifled by low organizational SEO maturity leading to low prioritization.
This was all anecdotal though. We wanted data.
A quantitative and qualitative study of SEO at large organizations
Earlier this year, Botify decided to commission Forrester Consulting to conduct an online survey with 250 respondents and five interviews with decision makers who are knowledgeable about and responsible for SEO at their organization.
The respondents were asked questions such as:
- Do you have a clearly defined SEO strategy?
- Are you measuring the impact of SEO on revenue?
- Do you have the necessary people and skills to execute an SEO strategy?
- Where does your SEO team live within your organization?
- How many people are in your SEO team?
- What percentage of your marketing budget do you spend on SEO?
The answers were eye-opening. You can read them for yourself in the Forrester Consulting thought leadership paper titled “Realize Greater Revenue by Prioritizing SEO: Creating a Strong SEO Foundation Is Key to Unlocking Revenue Potential,” commissioned by Botify.
As a bonus, we’ll also be having a webinar on November 7th at 12:00pm EST — I’ll be hosting with our guest speaker Collin Colburn from Forrester. The webinar is where Collin will be going in-depth on Forrester’s research, as well as answering questions about the research in a special Q&A, so I definitely recommend signing up — and hey, if you can’t make it, sign up anyway because we’ll email you a full recording of the webinar after!
To hold you over until November 7th, here’s a teaser of what we’ll cover:
SEO-mature organizations are hard to come by
According to Forrester Consulting, while there was reported confidence overall, only a small percentage of organizations can actually be described as mature in their SEO capabilities.
What does an SEO-mature organization look like? According to the research, they tend to:
- Have an enterprise-wide focus on SEO
- Link SEO tactics to business outcomes
- Dedicate higher levels of budget and resources to SEO
- Have a dual focus on both the technical and content aspects of SEO
Many organizations are overconfident in their SEO capabilities
The research revealed that most respondents claim to have a companywide SEO strategy, as well as a firm grasp on their SEO stakeholders and processes. However, upon digging deeper, Forrester found “a notable overconfidence which does not necessarily par with the reality of SEO execution.”
So, what does that mean exactly?
It means that organizations with lower SEO maturity struggle to:
- Understand the impact of SEO on their business goals
- Find SEO talent for their teams
- Coordinate siloed data, processes, and teams
The more you prioritize, the more you’ll profit
Confirming Botify’s suspicions, the more SEO is prioritized, the greater the perceived benefits on things like brand awareness, user experience, and website revenue.
But all hope is not lost for less SEO-mature organizations. In the webinar, we’ll also be covering steps any organization can take to improve their SEO maturity to increase the profitability of their organic search channel.
So, if you’re interested in the data that will help you learn:
- What organizations with profitable SEO programs do differently
- The top struggles holding organizations back from SEO success
- How to mature your organization’s SEO program
Then definitely Join us for the webinar on November 7th at 12:00pm EST, and don't forget to snag your copy of the research so you can read it, save it, and share it with your teams.
Hope to see you there!