Enterprise SEO Process and Strategy with Jordan Silton @jsilton #VCBuzz

Enterprise SEO Process and Strategy with Jordan Silton @jsilton #VCBuzz

Enterprise SEO is extremely challenging because you have to deal with huge websites and organizational silos inside the company.

What are the most important and challenging aspects of enterprise SEO and how to handle them?

Let’s discuss!

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About Jordan Silton @jsilton

Jordan Silton @jsilton is senior director, SEO and analytics at @apartmentscom.

Before working at Apartments.com, Jordan crafted and executed SEO and digital media strategies for clients such as Alston & Bird, AT&T, Atlanta Ballet, Cartoon Network, GameStop, Kimberly-Clark, Lowe’s, NASCAR and Zaxby’s while at Search Discovery and Relevance Advisors.

Questions we discussed

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

My career as a digital marketer started in college at @EmoryUniversity. My resident assistant (RA) was a marketing major at @EmoryGoizueta and I was confident I did not want anything to do with marketing.

However, I was quite sure that I wanted to go to business school, and I did end up taking all the pre-requisites at @EmoryGoizueta before finding that my passion did in fact lead to marketing as a focus.

My first job out of college was in paid search, working with @benjaminrudolph, @LeeTBlankenship, and @cbeltranatlanta at @searchdiscovery on accounts like NASCAR and others.

From there, I expanded my skillset beyond paid search to analytics and SEO. I found SEO really rewarding, and continued to dive deeper and learn more.

SEO is something that I have been doing for about a decade now, and it’s interesting to see my career shifting to continue to focus on SEO, but in an enterprise setting you need to know much more than SEO to be good at it

For example, analytics and data science are critical, which is where I am currently spending a lot of my time and energy.

Q2 What makes enterprise SEO different from a normal campaign?

Any time you think about SEO, I think you need to look past the concept of a “campaign”. Marketing and PR have campaigns that start and end. There may be campaigns or projects within SEO, but I think SEO is a mindset.

SEO at an enterprise level is about finding all the different pieces and parts of a business that contribute to a successful experience on your site(s). Enterprise SEO is more than title tags, redirects, canonicals, content, and things in a typical SEO audit.

Enterprise SEO is about finding opportunities within an organization that will impact the online experience, and figuring out how to overcome all those hurdles and improve things for your customers.

For example, the fix to an issue with canonical URLs or broken internal links may accomplished by solving an an underlying issue in an internal dataset. You don’t just get to make recommendations, you need to figure out the core problem.

To that point, I think collaboration is key. Also, things like being a better manager, and growing the talent on your team are all critical. Things that help me most with Enterprise SEO are often the intangibles, as opposed to technical knowledge.

Technical expertise is helpful, don’t get me wrong, but just knowing what to do is such a small part of the picture. It’s more about understanding how to conduct the orchestra than knowing what piece of music to play.

Q3 What is the most important aspect of enterprise SEO: links, content or technical? Which one (and why) is the most challenging?

I would say that technical SEO, to a point, is the most important for short-term success. You can go into a big company with good content or bad content, few links, or a lot of links, and make some important technical fixes then see results.

To me, enterprise SEO also overlaps with big/large website SEO. That means there are a lot of pages involved, and lots of opportunities for technical SEO issues to arise. Quick wins and low hanging fruit often come from technical fixes.

Over the long-term, I think content becomes the biggest overall opportunity. I don’t mean blog posts and articles (unless you are a media company), I mean overall content assets and the value that you can provide to a user. Without top content, success won’t last.

If you have a well-functioning site that checks most of the technical SEO boxes and you have top notch content, then links and popularity are a great multiplier.

My first day at @apartmentscom right around the time we ran the first Super Bowl commercial that had ever been done in our industry. That was certainly a nice tailwind to help with building brand authority and awareness.

On its own, the commercial had value. As a component alongside a long-term commitment to SEO, it was just the beginning.

They are all important. I’m not sure they are all equal in every case. Up to a certain point, each one on its own can only get you so far. You need all three for long-term sustainable success.

Q4 One of the biggest issues we have come across when working with enterprise clients is overcoming organizational silos. It is never easy to get anything done with the site when having to sell those pages to various departments and decision makers. How are you dealing with this issue?

Organizational silos can get overwhelming very quickly. It’s extremely important to demonstrate success and overcome adversity several times with modest or moderate challenges before trying to do too much too fast.

One trap I see people fall into is saying the only way to success is with a huge outrageous project that involves every part of a business. Those types of projects get accomplished once a year, or once every couple of years.

The best thing you can do to overcome organizational silos is to show your track record of success and build bigger and bigger wins involving more and more teams.

Not only do you get better at navigating those silos yourself, but it will be easier to get buy-in since you will have more advocates and case studies of your accomplishments.

Q5 What are your favorite digital marketing tools?

My first business card had a quote on the back (I didn’t write it), but it said something along the line of: “What are the best SEO tools?”

The answer is obvious: “Smart People”

Some tools I like right now include: @botify, @nozzleio, @contentking, @semrush, @ahrefs, @screamingfrog, and so many more.

Beyond tools you can purchase, I have found that internal tools are underrated. Careful about how much time you spend on building something custom though. There’s a whole video on this topic from #TechSEOBoost if you want to dive deeper.

Our previous SEO chats:

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