Over the last year, the role of enterprise SEO across every type of business and industry has become the number one area of focus.
As the most cost-effective way for people to discover products and services, SEO has also evolved to be a critical strategic channel that feeds insights into consumer behavior and customer intent across all areas of an enterprise.
In this article, we identify five key trends and areas of opportunity to watch for in 2022.
The Big Picture In Enterprise SEO For 2022
Enterprise SEO involves managing SEO at a scale, typically within or for organizations that have large websites and a wide range of products and services.
Large brands with multiple departments and infrastructures are typical examples of organizations that utilize enterprise SEO technology and implement core principles into the business.
Enterprise SEO also involves stakeholder management, planning and strategy, and alignment with corporate goals.
In 2022, this will involve:
- Improving cross-channel and broader departmental collaboration.
- Advancing workflow and reporting processes and systems.
- Utilizing data and insights in real-time.
- Embracing and working with AI technology and automation.
Challenges in enterprise SEO can vary from organization to organization. However, the commonality is found in areas such as executive buy-in, internal collaboration, and wider digital integration (showcasing impact).
With last year’s challenge comes next year’s opportunity – and with that in mind, let’s dig into the 5 key areas of focus to consider as you plan your enterprise SEO strategy for the year ahead.
1. Keeping Pace With Search Updates, Best Practices, And Search Engine Algorithms
One of the biggest challenges facing any type of SEO marketer is keeping pace with change. You only need to look to last week’s news on Google updates to get a sense of the reaction and uncertainly this brings into the SEO mindset.
For enterprise SEO marketers, updates and algorithmic change is a double-edged sword that includes:
- Reacting, fixing, and optimizing – taking action.
- Translating the business impact to the organization.
2021 was a year of ‘accelerated search.’ Large roll-outs such as the Page Experience update and Core Web Vitals brought about a renaissance in the need for technical SEO.
The re-emergence of E-A-T principles had colossal significance to the enterprise, as well.
Image source: BrightEdge, November 2021
Google’s introduction of its Multitask Unified Model (MUM) will mean enterprise marketers in all digital disciplines have intent queries factored into content types to reduce poor quality content being discoverable.
Content And The Need For Contextual Relevance
In particular, the focus on proving content is trustworthy and credible became vital for enterprise SEO professionals looking to show business impact in the form of brand value and revenue.
The Google Spam update earlier this month complements that approach. With such a velocity of change, enterprise SEOs need to turn to technology to help them keep track of change, respond and take action.
The best way to stay ahead of changes is to ensure a proactive approach to content and technical SEO with Core Web Vitals.
- Content creation. Focus on pages and category content (especially for ecommerce sites).
- The health and structure of your website, including navigation and architecture.
- Pages and load speed for mobile and desktop.
- Technology, real-time insights, and automation.
Read more on SEJ: Enterprise SEO Content: Opportunity, Dynamic Creation & Scale
Read more on SEJ: Google’s E-A-T: Busting 10 of the Biggest Misconceptions
2. Increases In The Adoption Of Automation
This year, according to a PwC survey, 52% (from a survey base of 1000) of organizations have accelerated the adoption of AI. In addition, the automation of routine tasks was ‘ranked’ in the top 5 applications.
For some SEO pros, especially if managing via multiple points solutions, the word automation has been seen as a threat to their job.
However, it’s the other way around. Automation is already helping leading brands and organizations keep pace with change and acts as a virtual SEO partner.
For enterprise SEO in 2022, automation will be essential to scale.
Beyond helping save resources by taking care of routine and repetitive automation also helps free up time to focus on creativity, strategy, and digital alignment – all vital parts of the enterprise SEO remit.
However, do not spend all your time chasing the algorithm.
Instead, let technology help detect, predetermine and fix, when and where appropriate. A human can’t process all the data at their disposal. For enterprise SEO pross, automation is the key to scale.
In 2022 look toward automation to help at three levels:
L1: Monitoring and detection
- Anomalies in SERPS results.
- Team reporting on rankings and traffic.
- Links and backlink profiles.
- SEO audits.
L2: Manual SEO
- Gathering data at a regular cadence.
- Advanced keyword intent research.
- Link sourcing.
- Content optimization.
L3: Insights and automated action
- Analysis of larger data sets in real-time.
- Content and multiple (large) site audits.
- Website error fixes and linking.
- Decision-making in real-time.
3. The Increasing Importance Of Data As Business Intelligence
Trends in consumer preferences and behaviors are reflected in how searches are done. Likewise, digital innovations and content creation trends are reflected in search.
As a result, we are seeing a rise in the use and importance of search data as a source of vital business intelligence.
According to Salesforce, over half of marketers believe data and intelligence are among the most important factors driving marketing performance – a key KPI for the enterprise search marketer.
Image source: Salesforce, November 2021
SEO data collected and analyzed at scale can give marketers a much more extensive range of insights into the consumer. It can help can with the understanding of:
- Trending product interests e.g., [waterproof clothing .].
- Needs and frustrations e.g., [how to stop clothing from leaking].
- Product preferences e.g., [fluorescent waterproof clothing].
- Immediacy e.g., [waterproof clothing in stock].
Search Business Intelligence can help organizations to accurately pinpoint what matters most to them and their industry. It can also help enterprise SEOs view trends at a macro/industry level and a granular/category level.
According to a poll of 750 search and digital marketers conducted by my company, 79% believe that search data is or will be part of the strategy.
For 33% of those, it as a key input into multiple business strategies.
Image source: BrightEdge, November 2021
In 2022, enterprise marketers need to get better at showcasing value from business intelligence insights to drive business benefits across their organization. For example:
- Improving brand awareness.
- Providing product marketing feedback and insights for future launches.
- Building inbound and outbound lead generation campaigns.
- Providing sales teams on market trends.
- Fuelling content and digital teams on intent and SERP/content types.
- Working with PR teams on media and article and link optimization.
4. Further Integration With Paid Search And Digital
Enterprise SEO marketers cannot work in silos. To meet business objectives and goals, it is essential to work across paid search and digital teams.
SEO and PPC synergy used to be an unavoidable conflict in enterprise-level search organizations.
- Utilize SEO insights to inform PPC.
- Utilize PPC to fill immediate (short-term) gaps for high-value keywords and pages.
- Boost local and mobile-first performance with SEO and PPC.
- Share insights across both channels and with digital stakeholders.
Next year, make sure SEO and PPC are tightly aligned to maximize visibility and discovery in the SERPs. This helps appeal to the specific needs of high-intent searchers and the personas that matter.
In terms of digital, SEO is shifting to be the central point of digital campaigns. Insights can fuel strategies across email, display, voice, and video.
In 2022, the role of the enterprise SEO will expand to ensure findability is a goal of all digital content.
In addition, advances in enterprise technology (automated insights) allow digital marketers, who maybe not be as proficient in knowledge as a pure-play technical SEO, to understand the business impact.
As a result, digital marketers are making step changes in their use of SEO technology.
This is helping them move away from a reliance on lengthy experiments and tests based on theory and inaccurate information.
Read more on SEJ: 10 Top Digital Marketing Trends to Watch
Read more on SEJ: 5 Fundamental Shifts That Are Shaping Search & Digital Marketing
5. The Provision Of Total Experiences And Services
Enterprise SEO extends beyond just optimization. It evolves cross-departmental management, the use of business acumen, and the managing up of results across an enterprise.
Enterprise SEO involves the management of experiences that can span:
- Recruiting and retention of staff.
- Management of the workforce.
- Adoption and use of technology.
- Professional advisory services.
- Internal and external account management.
- Optimization of multiple digital experiences and assets.
In 2022, enterprise SEO management will involve a deeper focus on:
- Training and Certification of SEO, content, and digital across organizations.
- CEO, CMO, and SEO alignment on goals and outcomes.
- Technology and platform training and management.
- Evangelism of results, both internally and externally.
- Greater collaboration with IT and development.
Many organizations can do this by building an enterprise SEO Center of Excellence.
Image source: BridgeEdge, November 2021
Read more on SEJ: 5 Ways Brands Can Build an Enterprise SEO Culture
Read more on SEJ: Digital Asset Management: Why It Matters in Enterprise SEO
This next year will be one of great opportunities for enterprise SEO.
New opportunities will open up as numerous search entry points grow, ranging from intelligent TV sets and connected devices (IoT) to smartphones.
To meet the consumer’s needs and align to internal business objectives, we will see a shift in enterprises using point solution tools that only serve one purpose.
Instead, enterprise SEOs need enterprise-grade platforms that give holistic solutions to all their business needs, including secure and reliable data sources, productivity, workflow, and broader digital marketing capabilities.
So, next year consumers will expect seamless online experiences, and SEOs will need to find new ways to move faster:
- Keeping on top of technical optimization and content quality, and cadence.
- Utilizing business intelligence at their disposal – across the whole enterprise.
- Focusing on the total user experience – across all parts of the customer journey.
- Embracing automation – to scale operations and improve efficiency.
Hopefully, all the above will help guide your enterprise SEO success in 2022!
Featured image: Shutterstock/ra2 studio