Working on enterprise internet marketing (100MM’s of pages and visits) is very different from sites with 100,000s or 1,000,000s of visits are very different. I am very lucky to have had the chance to work across both of these scales with my personal sites and professional experience. This difference is becoming clearer and clearer to me and I hope to write a few posts on this over the next year or so (yes I don’t blog a lot so we’ll see what happens)
I was recently asked for my personal thoughts in a survey on the challenges facing SEO in a large internet company so I thought I’d start by sharing them:
- Understanding the addressable market & actual current marketshare
- When you address a whole market like a category of e-commerce it’s hard to figure out what the total volume of searches truly are to get the potential addressable market. Sometimes it’s hard to even find all the keywords (esp. if you don’t own your own search)
- Even when you know what the market size is it’s hard to know what % of the potential listings you have if you are looking across a million or more keywords. What sample size should you look at to understand your total market for example?
- Duplicate content issues
- Every large company I know has or has had huge duplicate content issues either with ?ref=’s and ?src=’s etc… etc… and often for valid reasons where folks want to track things properly or change the ordering of a search result.
- Getting deep links at scale to 100MM's of pages
- Self processing huge volumes of traffic data
- Again sites like Yahoo or Craigslist or others have such traffic volumes they can’t really afford existing web tracking products and the free versions don’t scale well plus often you want custom views to understand demographic of traffic by keyword and cross multiple visits etc… this seems inevitably to lead to some kind of in house processing of huge data files.
- optimizing 100MM’s of landing pages
- calculating the value of a given potential seo change
- often it’s a trade off of resources to make SEO changes but even the best SEO experts find it hard to put a precise value on kws in the URL vs the difference between 5 and 10% kw density and so on.
- The benefit of owning a huge media vehicle is you can calculate some of this… the detriment is you don’t have full control of the resources so may not get the chance to use them without a clear value of any change
- dealing with international
- wow, content localization especially around navigational terms like “shopping” when you even want to localize the URL can be tricky
So anyway those are my thoughts on the challenges of enterprise SEO. Despite these it’s a really rewarding area to work and very possible to have success in this field.