Creating SEO Strategy for Global Corporations with @NicholaStott #vcbuzz

SEO is hard to scale, therefore it is especially hard for big corporations where everything needs to be scaled in order to fit in.

How to overcome this challenge and create a successful SEO strategy for a global brand?

Let’s discuss!

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About @NicholaStott

@NicholaStott is the founder of Erudite, the SEO UX Agency, which has become one of the most respected technical and strategy-focused SEO agencies in the UK

@NicholaStott’s professional recognition includes being named in the BIMA Hot 100 Digital People, as well as Drum Most Respected Agency Leader as voted by Peers in 2018.

Follow Nichola on Linked!

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

I wanted to work in media and tech so took a job in ad sales for Electronics Times. I then moved to PRNewswire where I specialised in training for the media contacts database that became, I believe, Cision.

From there I went to a design and build agency called Investis, where I learned a lot about web design. Good site structure and getting a site/data live in time for financially regulated markets.

After Investis I went to Yahoo! In 2005 as a BD and worked my way to head of UK commercial partners. It was a role I loved because of the people, the brands we worked with and most of all… the data!

Search data (at that kind of scale) tells you so much about human nature. I knew search was where I wanted to stay for a while, but even back then search days at Yahoo! Were numbered, so I launched my own SEO business @eruditeagency

Q2 When it comes about an SEO strategy for a corporations, what is the biggest challenge to overcome?

First up it’s getting across the levels of management structure. Particularly in complex matrixed orgs. Difficulty in knowing who has the power and where the internal politics lay.

Another big challenge is the defining success and winning the confidence of those who have a differing opinion of what success actually is. e.g. the CEO wants to see their site in p1 for a term that might not matter.

Mixed in with both of those is GETTING YOUR WORK THROUGH TO DEV!!!! (But isn’t that always the biggest obstacle large or small!?) Layers of bureaucracy can make this far more challenging here so the first 3 months is a politics game.

Q3 Corporate SEO needs to keep large decision making units in mind. How to keep everyone’s expectations right?

First step is to understand what success looks like to your boss/their boss. Is it ROI? Is it more traffic? Is it sales from search traffic? Sign-ups? Vanity? I.e. owning brand-SERP? Define what their North Star and secondary success metrics are first.

Challenge the metrics if they are wrong, conflicting or misdirecting and do it EARLY. E.g. More organic traffic isn’t always (bizarrely) the best measure of your worth, or fastest way to ROI depending on where the site is in maturity.

In your business analysis period I’d be identifying my quick wins. 99% time speed work. We often prioritise that so that we have instant ROI. Better engagement metrics, higher conversion rates. Show your the star. Make your boss the star and that gets high up.

Prioritise this type of work first to get listened to. This means more faith (in you) for holding- course on growth strategies that come later. Good, PR-led link campaigns that drive traffic are another good way to start with high-return activities/win board.

Q4 What are the key principles of a successful corporate (and possibly international) SEO strategy?

Being able to command authority and communicate at a very senior level. Everyone, throughout the org needs to trust and buy in to your advice. You need a helluva back story at times.

The way we close our deals includes a complex forecast, which normally gets the CFOs review. Get this person on your side straight away. If large corp. means international the CFO will care most about the big 5 markets in $ terms. You may need their vote.

Understand hreflang inside and out and back inside again. However, do not be surprised if implementations can take 6 mo. to a year to get lit with multiple market stakeholders. You may often have to limit who gets a say. Or limit the implementation depth.

Local knowledge. Specifically in-country experts. Having a solid tech structure, approach to schema, EAT etc. etc all good. But you still need in-country expertise for content development and Digi PR. You can’t make those relationships overnight.

Q5 What are your favorite SEO tools?

She’s gonna say it….. “It depends!!! much on the job at hand. However most of my role now is in overview and sales prospecting, as well as data analysis. My absolute fave tools for the broadest view are @sistrix and @ryte_EN both give amazing insights.

However… different tools for different jobs, so I’ve published a consolidated list all @eruditeagency fave tools’ here.

Our previous corporate chats:


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