Got a new job as SEO Lead for an enterprise level company. Any advice?
Will be managing a team while dealing with the client side of things. Any tips or people who have had this position have any advice they are willing to share? I'm a bit anxious because the scope of this is bigger than anything I have done before, but looking forward to the challenge.
What are you anxious about? Do you have anyone above you as an SEO to help mentor you?
I've been doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for several years but I feel like I'm anxious about the scope of the project. I start in a couple weeks but I've never worked on an enterprise level client. Been looking up Enterprise SEO content and it does vary from "regular" SEO sites it seems as each enterprise site is its own challenge.
I'll have a director of SEO above me but they'll be managing all the SEO leads.
Yeah you'll be fine. Enterprise level SEO is generally the same if you're focusing on keyword opportunities. The part that may be challenging is the technical aspect as you will have to work with different teams to get your front end changes pushed through. Building rapport is very important – be nice to everyone and kill everyone with kindness.
Also, put yourself out there. Find out the company structure and how it set. Plug yourself in where it's relevant. Hit up the PMs and set 1:1s with like a bi weekly cadence. Send gifts to people (I did this in the beginning and it went a long way). Just be a f*cking cool genuine person that is willing to help, teach, listen, and COLLABORATE with people.
I don't start for another couple weeks but I'll be interested to see what the Key Performance Indicator (KPI)'s are for this project. I'm sure Il'l learn a lot from the people who report to me as well as anyone else I'll be working with. I really appreciate all the advice you've given me!
No problem, good luck, and feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.
I'll probably take you up on that offer in a couple weeks. Thanks so much!
Stay organized and learn to delegate. You can drown really easily trying to pick up the slack of weak performers on your team. Don't drown. Rely on the stronger performers and try to bring up the weak performers. But don't work 14 hours a day doing the work of three people.
Set really high expectations for quality of work and do not compromise. Ever. Especially if you are sending work to overseas team members (looking at you India).
Keep a running task list and make sure you are ticking them off (it's easy to forget a minor task that needs to be delegated because someone mentioned as a foot note in a Zoom meeting). Better yet \- get your team on Asana or Basecamp.
Stay really sharp on your key metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s, you will get quizzed on them frequently.
Get really comfortable presenting and talking to higher reports and stakeholders. Focus on conveying really complex SEO stuff in the simplest way possible.
If you have personal goals that you should be achieving throughout the year … make sure you are achieving them and make sure you are tracking how you achieved them. Your higher reports don't always pay attention to this even though they should because they gave you the damn goals.
And honestly a lot of digital marketing management is just learning to be a people person and win people over. I had to do it (I was a bit of an introvert when I started). So find the things that make you charming and personable and use them to your advantage. Despite what everyone thinks this isn't really a job for nerds and Incels, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at the high levels of management and director is really just constant interaction with people to sell them your ideas.
Wow, this was an amazing answer! I've been doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for several years, but this job is potentially a life changing opportunity and I just want to do well at it and try to prevent getting burnt out (but I understand every job will have its ups and downs).
I'm just a little anxious because of the scope/size of this client is big and while I have been doing SEO for several years, never for a company this big. I want to make a good impression not just with the client facing side of things, but also with the team who report to me. I want to optimize them as well as we do the main site haha. I really appreciate your advice!
People make a big to-do about "Enterprise Level SEO" and honestly … it's just SEO with a lot more management bureaucracy on top with some specific challenges here and there (like multi-location SEO for a franchise).
The biggest challenge I have had is twofold:
1.) Layers of management and stakeholders \- a lot of times you have a direct report who is a prick because he's an MBA but really has no idea what SEO does, but that MBA means "Massage Balls Annually". And then you have the clusterf*ck on top of that of CMOs who are super old and think print advertising is a thing, CTOs who don't do anything with a mind towards SEO, and all the stakeholders between here and there. Product teams, product dev teams, Public Relations (PR), etc etc.
All that weight and atrophy make it (or can make it) really hard to get things done so you have to get really good at playing the game.
2.) Team \- especially if you are taking over someone else's team and not hiring fresh. Because you are dealing with personalities and skill levels that are all over the place. Worse still if you are going to India for anything.
The work is pretty much the same. The Game of Thrones is what trips you up
Cheers! I know I'll be dealing with a lot of red tape and a lot more departments just to get things done. Also want to make sure I can serve the team the best I can and vice versa. Thanks again
Often the biggest clients are the slowest to sign anything off. So make sure your team can be doing things monthly to justify their spend and your time that don't need their input to action.
So basically things like auditing the sites, bringing up issues that need to be addressed, maintenance and upkeep etc? I'm sure the red tape aspect of a big client will be frustrating.
With most enterprise companies, there's a lot you can sneak in under the radar, and then other stuff that you'll want to wave in front of higher ups.
Find out what everyone's Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s/business goals are and align your requests to that. If one director is banging on about closing sales, then you need XXXX project signed off as it will help bring in better quality leads who search for Keyword X and Keyword Y. If there is a business-wide mission to reduce contact centre calls, this is your chance to get copywriters signed off to create content that hit keywords that customers search to get help. If the finance director refuses to sign off on fancy technology because it's too expensive, show off what the conversion rate is on organic and how SEO will help revenue and profit.
I have a list of every official and unofficial Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for every department and I always prep my projects to align with as many goals as possible. It helps get cross-departmental buy-in and then you get an easy life.
Good call! I know there is going to be a lot of compromises needing to be made
This is good advice. There are a lot of times you can cement some job security just by making someone's life easier even if you aren't making huge progress on certain SEO goals due to whatever X Factor
That's a brilliant idea. I spend so much of my time trying to convince other departments of why they need to be doing the stuff we put forth (mostly management and intern IT teams). Knowing what their KPIs are and basically just copypasta in the reason for SEO task 1,2,3 is INSERT YOUR KPI HERE is great.
Point 1 was a trigger for me, it's so painfully true! I've been made redundant as the only digital marketing executive in a multi-million division of a multi-billion pound global company. There's no one apart my manager who has any digital marketing experience now, and he's still going to be bogged down in meetings as usual. Who made the decision to get rid of me? The new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
If we'd just been left to get on with what we do and gave us resource to improve the websites we would of smashed E-commerce sales, improved a lacklustre D2C revenue stream with higher profit margins on our products, still supported B2B MQLs, improved aftersales customer support, etc… but instead the higher ups reduced headcount and turned to creating more business operations roles.
Enterprise level has definitely been red tape bureaucracy and trying to explain why we want to do XYZ to people who've never done (or previously managed) what we want to do.
This is an accurate answer. Get used to the idea of making incorrect or low value tactical decisions for political reasons. It's why enterprise is a terrible place to work.
This is honestly the perfect response. I have been a Lead level SEO for big companies for 3/4 years, dealing with offshore support (I mean do they NOT have powerpoint in India? Basic Slide design isn't that hard people!) and you really hit the nail on the head. Delegation is vital to not working 7 days a week, and being able to lay out strategy at the simplest level to the client higher ups is the only way you'll keep them around when it's time to re-sign scopes.
Whenever I can I generally try to get rid of subcontractors or subcontracted work agencies in India. The work is 9 times out of 10 subpar and requires so much supervision that it's really not economical on the macro level.
I was working at a start-up agency and my job was essentially to rescue the SEO team. They could sell it but the execution was piss because they were sending clients straight to India with very little supervision. We kept hiring and firing Indian subcontractors… like one group every three months until I left after a year.
All the while I kept agitating to just hire a team locally. We were based in Los Angeles so finding people wouldn't have been an issue. The owners always complained about money, but I was like, you aren't saving any money if I have to spend two weeks of my time on Skype telling a dude in Mumbai not to write "Pleasureful Release" as part of a title describing a legit massage therapist business. Not to mention the ire you generate when a business owner sees their legit massage therapy business website that caters to athletes suddenly sounding like a handjob joint.
But in their case (and a lot of other cases) they had priced themselves so slow that they felt they had no choice.
And at the enterprise level it's just really common to have some stakeholders in India whether it's IT, some piece of the MIS or Client Relationship Management (CRM) team, or customer service. You can't really agitate for firing the customer service department in India if you are on the SEO team so you just have to learn to live with it and work around them.
This made my day.. I hired an Indian guy to write for me recently and it's the LAST time I let anyone write for me that isn't fluent in English. I'm sorry, but that shit sucked. It wasn't even salveagable.
I have nothing against foreigners, but I'm realizing you get what you pay for.
I mean, would you trust an US English Major to write in Hindi? Probably not. It's not really a knock against Indians. More a knock against a terrible outsourcing model that really doesn't work.
Totally agreed. I've also been having to deal with other clients who see these cheap prices and think they're going to get anywhere. Oh well, I'm not the one that's going to end up paying twice.
Organization, and remembering that "slow and steady wins the race".
Organization is super important. Making sure you have systems in place to keep yourself from getting too overwhelmed, and being able to eat the whale one piece at a time instead of trying to handle everything at once. Enterprise businesses in my experience a) take action slow, but b) have no time for BS and expect things to be managed quickly and efficiently. So sometimes it can seem like things are moving much faster than they really are.
I'm currently working with an enterprise-level client and I'm the only SEO guy. Every day I have to remind myself to just relax and focus. Or else I'm running around analyzing 100 things at once, delegating 50 things at once, while not having any focus or control. Also, utilize the team around you. Content team, dev team. As the only SEO consultant with this client, half my job is managing tasks and delegating.
Keep calm. You got this.
Thank you so much! Do you find yourself having to work a lot of extra hours or not so much? I imagine you keep yourself organized so you don't get burnt out.
Nope, don't find myself working extra hours. I can only do so much since most of the grunt work and execution is on the developers and content team. So sometimes I have to stay on top of them to make sure what I'm recommending is getting done.
By nature, I'm super scatter-brained and have adult ADHD. So I've always used Asana for myself and I have a Virtual Assistant (VA) who can kinda help me stay organized as well. Also the client uses an Asana dashboard for the content team, dev team, and myself as well. That's a big help.
Since you're the lead and will be managing a team, stay confident in yourself. People are going to be looking at you for guidance and solutions, but also don't be afraid of hearing alternative suggestions out. I had to learn the hard way but one of the best lessons I ever learned was you don't know what you don't know. Sometimes having a great team around you fills in your weak and blind spots. So be confident, but not so confident that you take a "my way or the highway" approach.
I don't even know you but I'm proud of you lol! I've been (and still am) in situations where the scope is bigger than anything I've had to do, but because we like the challenge we rise to the occasion. Get it dude!! Also feel free to PM me is you have any other questions!
Man thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement! Are you a San Antonio Spurs fan or Tottenham Spurs fan? Manu ginobili is my favourite player of all time! If you're a Tottenham Spurs fan then I Hope Kane stays with you guys past this season.
Thanks again man and I'll definitely reach out to you once I start next week. You're a legend!
No problem man! And yeah Tottenham! Dude…I hope so too, but I think he goes if we don't qualify for CL. The good thing is that a lot of clubs finances are shit right now because of COVID, so who could even afford him. We'll see.
Yeah dude of course!
Remove the word "just" from your vocabulary when talking to your team.
I used to say "could you just do this…" thinking it made it seem like my request was not a big deal… that's BS. Fast forward to a few clients saying to me… could you just do this… trust me… it's annoying and frustrating
This is a good one! I suppose also saying "would you mind doing…" also needs to be removed haha.
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