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4 Signs Your Agency Is Ready To Take On Enterprise SEO



4 Signs Your Agency Is Ready To Take On Enterprise SEO

In your SEO career, there may come a time when you feel you’re doing a lot more coasting than you once did.

What made you start thinking that?

Was it optimizing your 600th local client and realizing it wasn’t that challenging anymore?

Or maybe you feel that your freelance business or agency has grown, hired, and matured to a point where you are no longer exercising your full potential.

If that’s you, then it just may be time to move upstream.

It might be time to move from traditional to enterprise SEO.

This is not a light decision by any means. It’s challenging stuff, to put it bluntly.

You had better have the staff, the skills, the sales ability, and the confidence in place to go out there and present yourself as a search optimizer for some of the largest brands on the Internet.

But let’s back up for a minute on that.

As I said, transitioning into enterprise SEO is a huge decision.

How will you know it’s really the right time for you?

Let me share some benchmarks you should be looking for to determine it’s time to shift your strategy upward.

But first, let’s be clear about the SEO differences that I’m discussing.

How Is Enterprise SEO Different?

Enterprise SEO strategies differ from traditional SEO primarily in their size and scale.

Whatever you do for a small SEO client, you do bigger for an enterprise client.

That’s painting enterprise SEO in pretty broad strokes, but for the most part, it proves true.

Let’s unpack this idea.

Say, for a traditional SEO account, you and your team need to crawl and optimize 200 URLs.

Depending on the size of your team, that isn’t too bad.

You’ll see what Screaming Frog has to show about the site and then divide up the work among your staff and get it done.

Think about an enterprise-level website, though.

How many URLs does it have?

100,000? 500,000?

A million?

The Challenges of Scale

If we hold to the idea that enterprise SEO is traditional SEO but larger, then those one million pages need the same SEO optimizations that a website of 100 pages would.

The difference will be in having the staff to implement them, knowing the site infrastructure well enough not to cause other site issues when you implement, and working with the client’s in-house SEO team to ensure everything goes smoothly.

For instance, I have worked in small Shopify stores where the theme caused category and collection pages to duplicate title tags.

When this happens on an ecommerce website of more than a million pages, you need a solution right away, whether that’s related to adding canonical tags or different custom coding.

That’s just how it rolls in enterprise SEO.

Big clients equal big responsibilities, and you need the know-how, the personnel, the tools, and the sheer ability to deliver on what these websites need.

Recommended reading:

Reporting & Communicating at the Enterprise Level

On that last point, you can also expect many more check-ins from your enterprise clients than your smaller accounts.

The healthier retainers you can charge for large-scale SEO work come at the cost of providing your clients with more regular progress reports.

Say you need to implement a smart internal linking strategy on a 600,000-page ecommerce website.

You know it’s a colossal undertaking, and so does your client.

All they ask is that you update them with the work you’ve done over the last two weeks.

Be sure you have the staff to deliver that ongoing workflow and the ability to prove it biweekly.

Enterprise SEO, then, presents SEO agencies with issues of operations, staffing, morale, organization, time management, and reporting.

You have to think about how you approach all of these things before fully committing yourself to the enterprise route.

Recommended reading:

So, how will you know it’s time to move from traditional SEO to enterprise SEO?

1. When You Can Handle The Page Volume

You’ll know you can transition to enterprise SEO when you can handle a significantly increased volume of pages to optimize.

As you can imagine, fixing duplicate title tags, meta descriptions, H1s, and content on a local lawyer’s website is quite different from doing it for the number two or three online shoe retailer in the country.

And I’m not just talking about having knowledgeable personnel to do the work physically.

If you’re scaling up, there is also the issue of the automation tools you’ll probably need to upgrade to crawl everything.

Sure, Screaming Frog has just the free version and one paid version, but if you use Semrush or Ahrefs, you may need to upgrade to the biggest and best plans.

That’s because, depending on the size of the client, you’ll need to be able to track 10,000 keywords rather than 5,000 and run more site audits every month.

If you look at pricing for those upper plans and determine you can afford them based on what you’ll be making, you may be in a good spot to make the changeover.

2. When Your Agency Is Mature Enough

The next benchmark to meet if you want to take on enterprise SEO clients is to be a mature agency.

Now, I mean that in both ways – that of acting mature and having developed efficient and effective work processes.

Let’s focus on the latter one.

To say that a company is mature is to say that it has all its pieces in place to continue growing at a steady pace and become a real heavy hitter in its industry.

If your agency came out of the startup phase, you might remember how things were different.

You probably had a skeleton crew with more than enough work to handle.

Your processes from day to day might have been pretty scattered, with no preferred practices explicitly defined or followed.

You got things done, but maybe only after working 60 or more hours a week.

Mature companies have moved beyond that, though.

They have stabilized and accrued enough retained earnings to hire managers and teams and define processes for everything.

Everyone is doing what they are best at.

The company can forecast its finances and reasonably meet them in the time set.

And, perhaps most importantly, the staff at a mature company wants to be at the office (or home computer) every single day, doing this work, using their skills to satisfy and impress the company’s clients.

That can only come from client-focused and forward-thinking messaging from the top leadership.

That’s the type of environment where enterprise-level SEO success may happen.

Recommended reading:

3. When You Have The Organizational Structure

You’ll know you’re ready to move into enterprise SEO when you have the organizational structure to handle the biggest clients.

I don’t just mean the number of bodies you have in seats.

That’s absolutely crucial, but whether you have 60 employees or 80 doesn’t matter as much to me as making sure every one of those employees is in the right seat and has subscribed to the overall company vision.

Everyone at your company should be doing what they are best at and following the goals set by the team leads and the executive management.

Since we are talking about team leads – middle managers, if you like – the best things they can do for the members of their teams are to:

  • define goals clearly,
  • empower them to help themselves,
  • encourage their success,
  • let them know they care about them,
  • and always be there to help when necessary.

When employees feel appreciated and valued as a part of the overall undertaking, they tend to be happier in their roles.

And employees happy in their roles are more likely to be all-in on the company’s mission statement and give their best to delivering the best-darned enterprise SEO product on the planet.

4. When You Have The Revenue To Cover Further Growth Periods

Finally, let’s talk about revenue and how you’ll need it to grow into the enterprise SEO agency you want.

Say you’re a small to mid-sized SEO agency that wants to get into the enterprise game.

That period where you position yourself as an entity that can handle the big fish will probably have some bumps.

It won’t happen overnight, and while your sales team or subject-matter experts are working on closing leads, you will need more short-term gains to finance the comparative slowness of your enterprise growth.

But don’t minimize the importance of that other revenue.

Breaking into a new game takes time.

If you drop everything to focus on landing one or two big clients, you’re not going to have the resources to do anything that I have laid out here; certainly not to hire and grow your teams and processes.

While signing new clients will matter during this time, your top leadership should also be concerned with keeping attrition, or churn, to a relatively survivable 3% to 5%.

Hey, you’ve heard it for years: Retaining clients is as important as signing new ones, and it rings true here.

You’ve seen how much planning, work, and coordination are involved in executing enterprise SEO strategies for your clients.

You can’t afford to jeopardize any of your past successes now.

Define the vision and processes that will lead your client services managers to show real value to your clients, and they will want to stay with you for the duration.

See Through The Bumps In The Road

You probably already know that plans are one thing; doing what you planned is entirely different.

You’re going to hit some bumps in the road to becoming an enterprise SEO guru.

But I feel that you will know when it’s time to make the attempt.

It will probably be when you hit the benchmarks I laid out above.

The future is open and waiting for you to arrive.

All you need to do is take that first step.

More resources:

Featured Image: Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results




Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

Google removed the Covid-era structured data associated with the Home Activities rich results that allowed online events to be surfaced in search since August 2020, publishing a mention of the removal in the search documentation changelog.

Home Activities Rich Results

The structured data for the Home Activities rich results allowed providers of online livestreams, pre-recorded events and online events to be findable in Google Search.

The original documentation has been completely removed from the Google Search Central webpages and now redirects to a changelog notation that explains that the Home Activity rich results is no longer available for display.

The original purpose was to allow people to discover things to do from home while in quarantine, particularly online classes and events. Google’s rich results surfaced details of how to watch, description of the activities and registration information.

Providers of online events were required to use Event or Video structured data. Publishers and businesses who have this kind of structured data should be aware that this kind of rich result is no longer surfaced but it’s not necessary to remove the structured data if it’s a burden, it’s not going to hurt anything to publish structured data that isn’t used for rich results.

The changelog for Google’s official documentation explains:

“Removing home activity documentation
What: Removed documentation on home activity structured data.

Why: The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

Read more about Google’s Home Activities rich results:

Google Announces Home Activities Rich Results

Read the Wayback Machine’s archive of Google’s original announcement from 2020:

Home activities

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Olga Strel

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Google’s Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary




Google's Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, Gary Illyes, Analyst at Google, revealed that the search engine takes a binary approach when assessing a website’s lastmod signal from sitemaps.

The revelation came as Illyes encouraged website owners to upgrade to WordPress 6.5, which now natively supports the lastmod element in sitemaps.

When Mark Williams-Cook asked if Google has a “reputation system” to gauge how much to trust a site’s reported lastmod dates, Illyes stated, “It’s binary: we either trust it or we don’t.”

No Shades Of Gray For Lastmod

The lastmod tag indicates the date of the most recent significant update to a webpage, helping search engines prioritize crawling and indexing.

Illyes’ response suggests Google doesn’t factor in a website’s history or gradually build trust in the lastmod values being reported.

Google either accepts the lastmod dates provided in a site’s sitemap as accurate, or it disregards them.

This binary approach reinforces the need to implement the lastmod tag correctly and only specify dates when making meaningful changes.

Illyes commends the WordPress developer community for their work on version 6.5, which automatically populates the lastmod field without extra configuration.

Accurate Lastmod Essential For Crawl Prioritization

While convenient for WordPress users, the native lastmod support is only beneficial if Google trusts you’re using it correctly.

Inaccurate lastmod tags could lead to Google ignoring the signal when scheduling crawls.

With Illyes confirming Google’s stance, it shows there’s no room for error when using this tag.

Why SEJ Cares

Understanding how Google acts on lastmod can help ensure Google displays new publish dates in search results when you update your content.

It’s an all-or-nothing situation – if the dates are deemed untrustworthy, the signal could be disregarded sitewide.

With the information revealed by Illyes, you can ensure your implementation follows best practices to the letter.

Featured Image: Danishch/Shutterstock

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve



How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

There’s one thing standing between you and several days of SEO, socializing, and Singaporean sunshine: your boss (and their Q4 budget 😅).

But don’t worry—we’ve got your back. Here are 5 arguments (and an example message) you can use to persuade your boss to send you to Ahrefs Evolve.

About Ahrefs Evolve

  • 2 days in sunny Singapore (Oct 24–25)
  • 500 digital marketing enthusiasts
  • 18 top speakers from around the world

Learn more and buy tickets.

SEO is changing at a breakneck pace. Between AI Overviews, Google’s rolling update schedule, their huge API leak, and all the documents released during their antitrust trial, it’s hard to keep up. What works in SEO today?

You could watch a YouTube video or two, maybe even attend an hour-long webinar. Or, much more effective: you could spend two full days learning from a panel of 18 international SEO experts, discussing your takeaways live with other attendees.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve speakers from around the world.

Our world-class speakers are tackling the hardest problems and best opportunities in SEO today. The talk agenda covers topics like:

  • Responding to AI Overviews: Amanda King will teach you how to respond to AI Overviews, Google Gemini, and other AI search functions.
  • Surviving (and thriving) Google’s algo updates: Lily Ray will talk through Google’s recent updates, and share data-driven recommendations for what’s working in search today.
  • Planning for the future of SEO: Bernard Huang will talk through the failures of AI content and the path to better results.

(And attendees will get video recordings of each session, so you can share the knowledge with your teammates too.)

View the full talk agenda here.

There’s no substitute for meeting with influencers, peers, and partners in real life. 

Conferences create serendipity: chance encounters and conversations that can have a huge positive impact on you and your business. By way of example, these are some of the real benefits that have come my way from attending conferences:

  • Conversations that lead to new customers for our business,
  • Invitations to speak at events,
  • New business partnerships and co-marketing opportunities, and
  • Meeting people that we went on to hire.

There’s a “halo” effect that lingers long after the event is over: the people you meet will remember you for longer, think more highly of you, and be more likely to help you out, should you ask.

(And let’s not forget: there’s a lot of information, particularly in SEO, that only gets shared in person.)

The “international” part of Evolve matters too. Evolve is a different crowd to your local run-of-the-mill conference. It’s a chance to meet with people from markets you wouldn’t normally meet—from Australia to Indonesia and beyond.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve attendees by home country.

If you’re an Ahrefs customer (thank you!), you’ll learn tons of tips, tricks and workflow improvements from attending Evolve. You’ll have opportunities to:

  • Attend talks from the Ahrefs team, showcasing advanced features and strategies that you can use in your own business.
  • Pick our brains at the Ahrefs booth, where we’ll offer informal 1:1 coaching sessions and previews of up-coming releases (like our new content optimization tool 🤫).
  • Join dedicated Ahrefs training workshops, hosted by the Ahrefs team and Ahrefs power users (tickets for these workshops will sold separately).

As a manager myself, there are two questions I need answered when approving expenses:

  • Is this a reasonable cost?
  • Will we see a return on this investment?

To answer those questions: early bird tickets for Evolve start at $570. For context, “super early bird” tickets for MozCon (another popular SEO conference) this year were almost twice as much: $999.

There’s a lot included in the ticket price too:

  • World-class international speakers,
  • 5-star hotel venue,
  • 5-star hotel food (two tea breaks with snacks & lunch),
  • Networking afterparty, and
  • Full talk recordings to later share with your team.

SEO is a crucial growth channel for most businesses. If you can improve your company’s SEO performance after attending Evolve (and we think you will), you’ll very easily see a positive return on the investment.

Traveling to tropical Singapore (and eating tons of satay) is great for you, but it’s also great for your team. Attending Evolve is a chance to break with routine, reignite your passion for marketing, and come back to your job reinvigorated.

This would be true for any international conference, but it goes double for Singapore. It’s a truly unique place: an ultra-safe, high-tech city that brings together dozens of different cultures.

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Little India in Singapore

You’ll discover different beliefs, working practices, and ways of business—and if you’re anything like me, come back a richer, wiser person for the experience.

If you’re nervous about pitching your boss on attending Evolve, remember: the worst that can happen is a polite “not this time”, and you’ll find yourself in the same position you are now.

So here goes: take this message template, tweak it to your liking, and send it to your boss over email or Slack… and I’ll see you in Singapore 😉

Email template

Hi [your boss’ name],

Our SEO tool provider, Ahrefs, is holding an SEO and digital marketing conference in Singapore in October. I’d like to attend, and I think it’s in the company’s interest:

  • The talks will help us respond to all the changes happening in SEO today. I’m particularly interested in the talks about AI and recent Google updates. 
  • I can network with my peers. I can discover what’s working at other companies, and explore opportunities for partnerships and co-marketing.
  • I can learn how we can use Ahrefs better across the organization.
  • I’ll come back reinvigorated with new ideas and motivation, and I can share my top takeaways and talk recordings with my team after the event.

Early bird tickets are $570. Given how important SEO is to the growth of our business, I think we’ll easily see a return from the spend.

Can we set up time to chat in more detail? Thanks!

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