Organic search is frequently misunderstood as a direct sales channel by marketing decision makers in large corporations. As a result, the ability of SEO to create enormous business outcomes throughout the entire enterprise is limited.
We were curious as to why.
As a result, Stridec commissioned a Forrester Consulting study in which 266 SEO decision makers were polled about their views on organic search as part of their business strategy and as a tool for reputation management.
Get the whole study by clicking on the link below.
We discovered through this poll that corporate leadership recognises the benefits of SEO in improving brand perception. Most admit, however, that businesses need to do more to improve measurement and develop a mature SEO strategy.
Following the completion of the initial brand survey, we solicited feedback from other CEOs and executives in the SEO community. Did they agree with our conclusions?
There was widespread agreement that brands struggle to adopt the necessary tactics to realise the long-term value of SEO. This is largely due to a general lack of awareness about organic search and how long it takes. As a result, several businesses treat SEO as an afterthought, missing out on a larger opportunity.
This focused approach clearly revealed three common SEO challenges: a lack of understanding, a scarcity of resources, and a failure to manage bad reviews.
The material that appears when someone searches your company's name on Google has an impact on your audience's view of your brand.
Let's delve deeper into each of these concerns.
Large organisations, according to the majority, could benefit from a well-coordinated SEO strategy. However, far too many strategic decision makers are unaware of what SEO is, let alone its importance in the total marketing mix.
This flaw appears to be a recurring theme. According to Barry Adams of Polemic Digital, the lack of clarity about the best SEO strategy and approaches may be due to the intangible nature of organic search.
Unlike paid initiatives, it is difficult to assess the success of an SEO strategy without first completely comprehending the minor elements required to construct the larger picture.
"Real-life situations are far more regulated, while search results can be a cesspool," said Samuel Lavoie, SEO Consultant, of the necessity of organisations assessing their reputation digitally. Companies must improve their ability to measure and respond on their digital operations."
Measuring organic search efforts as discrete entities such as keyword performance, web traffic, and link tracking are merely minor pieces of the picture. To calculate the total breadth of your efforts, you must connect each individual element.
Understanding SEO is only the first step.
With comprehension comes appropriate commitment and resource, putting the brand in the best position to produce positive results.
The benefits outweigh the time, effort, and money required to implement a coordinated marketing approach. Those who prioritise organic search marketing will most likely gain from:
When it comes to efficiently developing a long-term SEO plan, there is a lot to learn. "SEO is a long-term strategy that effects brands more than just as another channel," marketing consultant Monica Wright says. To gain the benefits of organic search, consider SEO as an internal commitment to quality rather than a minor part of a larger marketing strategy.
Because SEO is frequently addressed as a campaign rather than as a cultural commitment to quality, it eventually fails to establish enough traction to be effective.
To combat this mindset, you'll need to do more than hire an in-house SEO professional or a small team. To be successful, you must invest both money and emotional capital. According to Andrew Dennis of Page One Power, "there are a myriad of reputable services and corporations that can complement a lack of internal SEO staff to assist businesses reach their goals."
"Having the professional expertise internally may generate consistency," says Matt Janaway, CEO Marketing Labs, when it comes to adopting SEO and developing an online reputation. We wholeheartedly concur with him. Internal SEO teams should not view outside SEO firms as a threat to their job security. Internal teams, in fact, are important to the success of an SEO collaboration because they know which levers to pull in order to push critical recommendations through.
To put it another way, internal teams grease the wheels and monitor deliverables, while external teams contribute experience and firepower.
Bring in an expert in any capacity will only work if all internal departments are prepared to retain an open mind and collaborate to guarantee that ideas are executed.
Another issue is a lack of awareness about SEO's impact on brand perception, which leads to insufficient allocation of resources, whether it's people, tools, or funding.
SEO was lot easier to understand a decade ago. However, with the rise of social media platforms and the quantity of material that brands generate for them, SEO has become more sophisticated while also becoming easier.
Without the right resources, SEO can rapidly become too complex to manage properly and is pushed to the backburner.
Because organic search is more difficult to assess than sponsored promotion, it can be tough to justify devoting the time, people, and money required to move the needle. Not to mention that organic search takes more time than sponsored search. This indicates that not only are these resources essential for success, but a level of long-term commitment is required from the start for optimal results.
According to Patrick Stox, Senior Product Advisor at Ahrefs, a lack of resources is never limited to one thing. When it comes to barriers that businesses encounter, "it might be a lack of experience, a lack of buy-in, a lack of a strategy, a lack of finances, or any number of other things."
Ironically, larger brands and Fortune 500 firms typically suffer the most SEO challenges because there are more hoops to jump through, more channels to get approval from, and more people to educate.
SEO necessitates quick thinking and agility. The larger the firm and the more hoops they have to jump through to acquire approval, the more difficult it is for them to recognise the benefit of SEO/online reputation initiatives.
When a company views organic search as merely a project-based technique, it frequently encounters SEO difficulties. To get the most out of your SEO efforts, it should be a continuous process, and having the right resources is essential.
Getting there may necessitate a deeper grasp of how to appropriately distribute an SEO budget while also making the extra effort to educate decision makers on the value of implementing a sound strategy, particularly for larger firms. Your goal should be to include an SEO representative in all decision-making conversations. Once the source of the problem has been identified, it will be easy to allocate the appropriate quantity of resources.
Given the legacy and growth of their businesses, organic search is an unavoidable difficulty for enterprise firms. SEOClarity's Mark Traphagen told us that integrated SEO systems are critical for his enterprise clients.
"What causes success is the consequence of a complicated interaction of numerous forces working together," Traphagen explained. Individual single-purpose tools may be less expensive, but they rely on the SEO's time, talent, and knowledge to integrate their data. A comprehensive SEO platform provides this for them, delivering insights that combine not only their own data points, but also those gathered from a diverse spectrum of platform users."
According to SEO decision makers, online reputation management is the most underutilised tactic. However, it is undoubtedly one of the most crucial parts of any marketing strategy. Preventing online backlash by incorporating reputation management tactics will help your organisation avoid brand upheaval, poor online reviews, or a negative press cycle.
"Spiraling unfavourable remarks on major review sites can be very difficult to regulate after the fact," says Ian Lurie, CEO of Ian Lurie LLC. Google is thought to promote specific review-based sites, which are typically pay-to-play platforms, in addition to moderating online reviews.
The most significant challenge that businesses confront when it comes to SEO and online reputation is competing sites and reviews that Google favours.
Negativity against your brand is one of the most serious setbacks a company may face. If the problem becomes severe enough to appear in your top search results, you risk losing consumers.
Here are a few mind-boggling statistics about online reputation:
Negative reviews or brand-damaging articles can occur at any time and for any reason. Google, according to Dipti Parmar, CEO of 99stairs, is "the new Newspaper, Industry Journal, and Niche Publication rolled into one." When you think of your favourite newspaper or media outlet, scandal is constantly on the front page. That is how Google works.
Unfortunately, there is no delete button on the internet for unpleasant stuff. Instead, burying unfavourable results significantly minimises the likelihood of anyone discovering such content. However, this strategy is not as simple as it appears. To hide undesirable search results, you must have a thorough understanding of all facets of SEO as well as continual monitoring.
"SEO might not be the right avenue" for smaller businesses with limited resources, according to Alexandra Tachalova, Founder of Digital Olympus. “Why? Because organisations are occasionally outgunned in the strong rivalry for SERPs, and alternative channels are more fit and productive for specific business models."
When it comes to uncontrollable unfavourable news cycles or reviews, using other public relations strategies to recover your reputation may be better suited for immediate outcomes when a crisis strikes. However, don't forget the safeguards SEO provides against future problems.
So, what is the most effective way to overcome unfavourable search results? As soon as feasible, incorporate reputation management methods into your SEO plan. Review management should not be addressed as a do-it-yourself project due to the knowledge and time commitment required to monitor and address all moving aspects.
Of course, there are other challenges that businesses encounter. However, the ones mentioned above are the most disruptive.
As we enter 2021, we should question ourselves, "How can we strengthen our SEO game, and what is the missing puzzle piece that will lead us to brand victory?"