Recently I've been reading quite a few reports on digital transformation. What's been fascinating to me when reading these reports is that there is little or no mention of enterprise SEO. There is certainly discussion around the issue of mobility and that's certainly an SEO issue. Google is changing its algorithm to reflect the changing usage of mobile by consumers, meta titles and descriptions shortened last year, and increasingly how you perform on mobile may affect your overall rankings. However, in reviewing several of the DT reports; Brian Solis' report on Digital Transformation at the Altimeter Group, or this article on CMO.com "Make The Shift From Digital Marketing To Marketing In A Digital World," and the CapGemini and MIT report on Digital Transformation, I saw little or no mention of search marketing.
Stakeholders for Enterprise SEO
Eric Enge was recently interviewed on Search Engine Land about an upcoming presentation on Enterprise SEO, and in the the interview Eric talks about having to educate internal stakeholders on critical issues related to technical SEO. The irony is that the stakeholders Eric discussed were developers and social media professionals; precisely the foot soldiers of digital technology who you'd expect to be the last people you'd need to convince their company needed to make a transformation to digital. To be fair Eric did give a nod to the CFO who is dubious about giving budget to that new marketing technique, 'SEO'.
The point here to me is that we each live in our own silo of technology and digital knowledge. Why should we expect everyone in the enterprise to be aware of the latest on Google Algorithm's? If the thinking behind digital transformation teaches us anything it's that we live in a much more complex digital world, where the knowledge and expertise needed to make it to the first rung on the competitive ladder for a company is much higher than just a few years ago. everyone has to educate themselves on new digital knowledge where that knowledge touches upon their silo and is is critical to their company's success.
Google Updates for the Web Eco-System
The eco-system of the web is constantly changing, and Google's Algorithm updates are an attempt to keep up with those changes, for example:
- Hummingbird influences ecommerce and content marketing managers alike, who now have to build categories that are comprehensive, and think of content that covers every topic on a product or subject for their buyer's journey.
- Mobile updates influence how you build for mobile, will responsive win out over separate sites if Google pushes ranking in that direction? 3/9/2015 Apparently there's to be no favoritism for the April 21st 2015 mobile search result update.
- Panda gives us pause for thought on how we promotes different categories, and views of product in ecommerce. While we may have to be a little more ruthless with noindex as we attempt to remove thin content from the index, and work on improving user experiences.
Breaking Down Silos Using Digital Transformation Strategy
Digital transformation strategy is all about understanding the evolving nature of the web. Building an ongoing plan for mapping customer personas, their customer journey, and what online content will work within what channels and what devices. Achieving enterprise SEO maturity is part of the process of digital transformation, I'd argue at the center, if we are to believe that 40-60% of traffic to websites comes from search marketing. Though SEO is so much more than keywords and linkbuilding; now it's analytics, PR, social media and conversion optimization, especially if you want to improve user engagement on time on site, bounce rate and more.
Yet, the Economist Unit's Intelligence Unit's report on digital transformation reports that only 14% of respondents stated they expected to increase spending on search marketing in the next 3-5 years. That number causes me to wonder if there's a gap between future digital technology needs and SEO maturity, the same survey shows that respondents intend to increase spending on social media and mobile marketing. Both techniques can be helped through search marketing if the best results are to be gained for large companies.
To me the digital marketing industry needs a new model for Enterprise SEO Maturity, and the SEO industry faces an opportunity, use the hype around digital transformation to break down silo barriers within the enterprise so that current search marketing issues for big companies can be addressed rapidly through collaboration across silos.