Enterprise-level companies have unique search engine optimization needs. While the fundamentals stay the same, the scope/scale is way different and what’s at stake is much higher.
It’s common for enterprises to have tens (or hundreds) of thousands of web pages online.
If you aren’t appropriately equipped, diagnosing technical issues is next to impossible. You need an SEO strategist that understands the needs of enterprise-level businesses and has lots of experience conducting enterprise SEO audits before.
If you ignore your SEO for too long, your rankings can fall as Google changes the rules and/or competitors take your place. If you’ve been noticing a dropoff in your rank on Google, it’s time to sound the sirens. And even if you aren’t seeing a decline, how much more traffic could you be gaining through better optimization strategies you’re unaware of?
Completing an SEO audit as soon as possible will improve your SEO position; in my experience with large enterprise clients, I’ve never come across a site that didn’t have opportunities to substantially improve search engine optimization ranking and traffic.
But how do you conduct enterprise level seo audits & get the most SEO improvement out of them?
I’ve compiled the 27 most essential optimizations for your seo audit checklist. Before we dive in, let’s look at some enterprise businesses that I’ve been able to help with my strategies. I’ll also answer the five most common questions I hear about enterprise SEO audits.
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My Enterprise Clients’ SEO Success & Answers to 5 Questions
I’m well versed in the SEO needs of enterprise-level companies. Thanks to the robust SEO strategy I provided, these clients saw significant growth in quality leads and sales.
What is an Enterprise SEO Strategy?
An enterprise SEO strategy revolves around the needs of a large-scale business. You see, a Fortune 100 brand will have drastically different needs than a startup. These companies often have a strong web presence with lots of legacy pages & CMS. In fact, some of them already dominate the search results.
Yet, they still need to keep up with SEO best practices to stay on top (and more importantly to strategically expand that presence to new markets and related topics).
A successful enterprise search engine optimization strategy protects a brand’s existing rank while aiming higher. Google’s algorithm is constantly in flux – so it’s crucial to stay sharp with your SEO efforts. A more robust strategy also leads to greater ROI from SEO for enterprises.
You’ve already invested a ton into building the site; why not invest a bit more in optimizing what you have (and expanding strategically)?
What Are Enterprise SEO Audits?
Enterprise SEO audits are the first step in constructing a strategy. It involves taking stock of all your web pages’ current content and technical SEO aspects and how to improve your rankings and traffic.
An SEO audit consists of four parts – on-page SEO, off-page, content audit, and a technical audit.
- The content audit looks for thin content, duplicate pages, featured snippet opportunities, among others.
- An on-page SEO audit focuses on missing/duplicate metadata, alt text for images, missing heading tags, etc.
- Off-page SEO are elements that are on other people’s websites (you don’t control) but affect your site’s rankings & traffic
- The technical audit included issues loading speed, canonical tags, 404 pages & others.
How Do You Conduct an Enterprise SEO Audit?
It’s best to seek the help of professionals to conduct an enterprise level seo audit. There is a lot of ground to cover, and it’s best to have a SEO strategist with experience running multiple audits (and getting better SEO results) for many companies with different situations & in varied industries.
You’ll want to cover the 4 items mentioned above: a content, technical, on-page, & off-page audit. Since there isn’t one software that can pull everything together (despite what SEO software salespeople will tell you), you’ll want to use several software tools to pull all of that data together; I use these 4:
From there, you’ll create a stack-ranked report on all the issues found during the audit and which should be fixed first. You’ll discuss how to resolve the various issues and zero in on ones that will provide more immediate results with the least effort. That’s the main reason you need an experienced SEO strategist…is to prioritize.
What’s the Price Range for an Enterprise SEO Audit?
The better question to ask is “What is an increase in quality SEO traffic worth to my business?
The investment matters less when compared to the amount of SEO traffic, leads, and revenue it can generate. Fixing SEO issues (and knowing which to prioritize) will lead to a significant positive ROI.
Enterprise SEO requires unique expertise not commonly found. Larger companies typically have a considerable number of web pages to manage as well. A high-quality, prioritized, actionable audit will cost a few to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your site.
I (or others might try) could sit here and blow smoke up your butt about how I can do one on the cheap, but then you likely wouldn’t get the significant bump in traffic + revenue without that deep dive based on experience.
If we’re not careful, we will spend a ton of time spinning our wheels with a lot of SEO optimization activity with little improvement to show for it.
Do I Need Enterprise SEO Software?
To properly conduct an enterprise SEO audit, software is necessary. While you can certainly use them yourself, an experienced SEO strategist will be much more efficient and effective with using the software.
The value isn’t in purchasing and using an enterprise seo platform, but rather in the hands of an experienced expert using, exporting/manipulating data, drawing the critical conclusions/actions, and prioritizing tasks.
Since enterprises are so large, crawling and indexing pages is a daunting task, not to mention streamlining and automating such processes.
One final note on SEO software, please do NOT use BrightEdge software. While it is not a bad SEO tool (and I have no axe to grind with them), the high cost simply isn’t justified by the feature set. You can get what you need (and more from 4 other tools) all at a lower total cost.
I. Which On-Page SEO Factors Matter Most?
While the SEO demands for enterprises are unique, the fundamentals remain the same. It’s about uncovering recommendations that will yield SEO benefits and then scaling them up. You’ll need to look at on-page and off-page SEO elements during enterprise SEO audits.
First, let’s look at on-page SEO, which refers to all the elements you control on your website. That includes:
- Headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
- Title tags
- Alt tags for images
- Meta descriptions
At the enterprise level, ensuring SEO content standards are followed is typically challenging due to the number of people involved. Making significant changes can involve legal teams, brand teams, product teams, and more.
These additional layers of complexity don’t exist with smaller sites, which is why enterprise SEO takes persistence and a lot of patience. Here are some essential seo audit checklist items for your on-page SEO during the audit.
1. Did You Optimize Your Existing Pages With the Most Relevant Keywords for Your Business?
Take note of all the keywords on your existing pages. Are they relevant to what users search for when looking for your company or products? While you’re at it, take a glance at your competitors’ keywords. Are they similar to yours?
The goal here is to find the precise keywords your prospects and customers are searching for.
They should be in line with what your customers search for, and they shouldn’t have too much competition (easier to rank for).
Also – Google rankings are constantly changing, so staying on top is just as difficult as getting there. If pages that were #1 fall out of the top 10, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy. If you aren’t already, use a paid tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs to access premium, quality data for keyword research.
2. Are You Using Ideal SEO Keywords Before Spending Resources on New Content Pages?
As previously stated, releasing new content for an enterprise can be a hassle. It would be a shame to get the green light from so many channels only for your keyword choice to be off.
That’s why you need to do your due diligence when it comes to keyword research.
If controls are too loose, you’ll wind up paying for it in the search rankings and traffic.
Remember – there are innumerable companies out there playing the SEO game, and they’re all trying to knock you off your perch. Before spending valuable resources releasing new content, it’s best to make doubly sure we’ve found the ideal target keywords.
3. Is There an Original & Memorable Meta Description for Each Page?
It doesn’t matter how many web pages your enterprise has, they all need catchy, relevant meta descriptions. Out of all the on-page SEO factors, metadata is a great place to start optimizing. Yet, it’s one of the very first things Google will check when crawling your site.
So what goes into a winning meta description?
Here’s a quick list of what they should include:
- Proper length. A wordy mess won’t do you any good for a meta description. The same is true if it’s only a few words (or worse if the field is left blank). The ideal length is within 150-160 characters (including spaces).
- Keyword optimized. Your target keyword NEEDS to be in your meta description. It’s one of the first times Google will see them, so you want to make an excellent first impression.
- Unique. If your company has many similar pages, it may be tempting to copy and paste the meta descriptions. Yet, this will be counterproductive. Duplicate meta descriptions confuse Google, hurt your SEO, and contribute to poor UX.
If you find any pages missing meta descriptions, you need to add them immediately. No meta description for a web page means missing out on a vital optimization opportunity.
4. Do Your Pages Have Original & Standout Meta Titles?
Metadata is not limited to meta descriptions. Each of your web pages needs to have a meta title. Even though you won’t see the title, Google sees it, and it’s the equivalent of a digital billboard for your page in the search engine results pages results. It’s the very first impression Google gets of your content, what it encompasses, and how to display it to searchers.
Here are some guidelines for writing meta titles:
- Optimal length. There’s a ‘sweet spot’ for the length of a meta title, just like a meta description. This time, it’s right around 60 characters (including spaces). You risk ruining your meta title if it’s too long or too short, so count your characters!
- Target keywords. Inject your target keywords in your meta title as naturally as possible. It’s essential not to try to add it too often or make it awkward when read aloud. Keep it within 60 characters and focus on one keyword phrase.
- Unique. Like meta descriptions, your meta titles must not be used anywhere else. Otherwise, the duplicate content will hinder you instead of help you.
Each web page needs a meta title along with a meta description, so take a close look at each page and add, change, or better optimize as needed.
5. Are Images Missing ‘Alt Text’ On Your Website?
Every image on each web page needs to have an accompanying ‘alt tag.’
It’s a simple line of text that describes the image. It has a few uses – and one is for automated speech systems to read it to someone who can’t see. Another is for Google to understand the subject matter of the image.
That helps it understand what your content is about as a whole. Lastly, the alt tag displays whenever the image cannot load.
Instead of going for cramming keywords in this field, aim to be concise and descriptive with your alt tags. Otherwise, you’ll end up confusing Google and anyone reading it.
6. Missing or Incorrect use of Heading Tags?
Your header tags are what outline the content on the page. Header tags rank in size and order of importance (H1 is the largest and most important, H2 is second, and so on.)
For readers, header tags are valuable because they drastically improve the readability of your content. They enable visitors to quickly ‘scan’ the hierarchy of your page to see if it’s something they’re interested in reading.
Header tags are also what Google will look at first to learn more about your content.
If your header tags are missing or aren’t used properly (i.e. an H1 after an H2), you’re confusing Google and hurting your SEO.
When auditing your website, ensure that each page makes proper use of header tags. Also, double check to make sure that each heading is formatted as such. An example of a mistake would be the title of a page formatted as Normal Text instead of an H1.
II. What Do You Need To Audit For Off-Page SEO?
What’s off-page SEO? It refers to all the elements that affect your search rankings that do not occur on your website.
For example, your backlink profile factors into your ranking on Google. The same is true for email lists, social media presence, competitor sites, and other factors. Here’s a look at the most crucial off-page SEO factors you need to look at during an audit.
7. Have You Researched the Content Strategy of Competitors?
Are you struggling to come up with a game-changing enterprise SEO strategy? If so, know that you don’t have to try too hard. Sometimes, the best strategy is one that’s already in place. When you see what’s already working for others, it can more quickly open your eyes and give you tons of great ideas.
Pay attention to your direct and indirect competitors too. A direct competitor sells products similar to yours, while indirect competitors (think industry sites, media sites, etc.) provide information about similar products. There’s valuable information to be acquired from both, so keep your eyes and ears open.
8. Do You Have a Balanced Backlink Profile or is it Toxic?
The quality of your backlink profile matters to Google. The reason why is due to the prevalence of SPAM links. These low-trust web pages effectively drag down the SEO potential of other sites. These include PBNs, selling links, and other nefarious activities.
Do you have any low-trust, low-quality domains linking to your site that will drag your backlink profile into toxic waters?
Aim high when building a backlink profile, and disavow really spammy, low-quality links (but do so VERY carefully as there can be unintended negative consequences). It’s actually a good idea to include a mix of high, medium, and low to build a natural backlink profile.
9. Are You Making Effective Use of Email & Social Media to Promote Your Pages?
The chances are high that enterprise-level businesses have robust email marketing and social media campaigns. What may not be the case is if you’re using them to promote key SEO-focused content on your website.
Make sure that your emails and social media campaigns contain links to specific SEO-infused posts. That will help build the authority of your website in Google’s eyes.
Because all that activity creates more engagement data (bounce rate, dwelling time, etc.) which sends strong SEO signals to Google about those pages.
III. What Matters Most For A Content Audit?
This section covers the content audit portion of enterprise level seo audit. It refers to altering the content on your website to optimize it for search engines. There are a few core issues to look out for here, such as duplicate content and thin content.
During a content quality audit, look for ways to enhance your existing content. An example would be answering commonly asked questions on your website to go for a featured snippet.
Stay tuned for all the seo audit checklist items you need to cover for a comprehensive content audit.
10. Is Thin Content (Low Word Count) a Concern?
There’s no point in creating web pages to only provide a small amount of content; yet, sometimes this happens inadvertently. When Google is crawling your site, it will likely ignore pages with less than 200 words.
Google wants to make sure that the page delivers what searchers expect, and that’s purposeful, invaluable content. Here are a few tips for making web page content more robust:
- Add internal & external links
- Use relevant images to enhance content
- Include more than 200 words for each page (preferably 700+)
- Embed relevant videos
If you can’t find a way to add more content to a page beyond 200 words, then it probably shouldn’t be an individual page. Instead, either consolidate the content onto a similar page and 301 redirect it or expand it.
11. Do Duplicate Pages Plague Your Website?
As sites get larger, duplicate content can become a much larger issue for enterprise-level companies.
That’s due to the sheer number of webpages that larger companies have to manage. As a result, the chances and volume of duplicated pages occurring are much higher.
Why should you care about duplicate content?
Duplicate content can tank your SEO and undermine your entire strategy. When Google crawls a website and comes across duplicate content, it becomes confused. It won’t know which page to rank, and can lead to it not ranking either one.
There are two things you can do when you come across duplicate content:
- 301 Redirect. By placing a 301 redirect on duplicate pages, you redirect traffic to the original. That effectively eliminates the duplicate pages, as they all go to the original page. 301 redirects are preferred by Google, so you should definitely use them.
- Canonical Tag. In the same way that fan fiction is considered ‘non canon,’ a canonical tag lets Google know which version is ‘canon’ and ‘non canon.’ The original page containing the rel=canonical tag lets Google know to rank it and ignore the others.
12. Are Your Keywords Cannibalizing Themselves?
Outside of a few minor exceptions, it’s best NOT try to rank two pages for the same keyword. It may seem like an advantage, but it’s precisely the opposite.
Whenever this occurs, it’s called keyword cannibalization. That’s because the two pages will get less traffic than if you combined them into 1 page that ranked higher.
Two pages ranking for the same keyword confuses Google, and it also confuses search engine users. Neither will know which page to choose. To avoid this confusion, only go with one page per keyword.
If you do have two pages for the same keyword, pick the page that ranks higher and/or converts better and use a 301 redirect for the other.
13. Are You Targeting Any Opportunities for Featured Snippets?
You’ve seen a featured snippet if you’ve ever typed a common question into Google. You’ll see the answer in a bolded snippet at the top of the results page.
Featured snippets are highly desirable for SEO. If you can land one, you’ll enjoy additional billboard placement on Google.
There’s a catch, though. The goal of a featured snippet is for the user to click through to your page. If your snippet answers everything, they won’t have any need to check out your web page for the full explanation.
The most successful featured snippets are ones that intrigue the user to learn more. To increase your chances of landing a snippet, ask the target question in the first 100 words, and provide a clear answer. Include the answer in a single paragraph in bold or italics or in an ordered or unordered list, and give readers incentive to click through to your page.
14. Does Your Website’s Internal Search Perform Optimally?
The quality and functionality of your internal search is a big deal to search engines. Does your site have a user-friendly internal search feature? Can users quickly and easily find blog, product/service pages, support/help docs, technical articles, and other pages?
Just like the rest of your site, we should optimize our internal search…
To supercharge your internal search, try out other software, like Coveo, and optimize it for SEO. It grants you all the tools you need to build an intuitive internal search for your website.
IV. What’s Essential for Your Technical SEO?
You’ve now arrived at the technical audit portion of the process. Now that your content is nice and polished, it’s time to do the same treatment to the technical side of things.
Enterprises face some unique challenges in this department as well. In addition to tweaking content, resolving technical issues is a whole other ball game for larger enterprises. It can take weeks of working with developers, getting authorizations, and lots of persistence to get things right.
15. How Easy is it for Google to Locate & Index Your Enterprise Website?
All your SEO work is for naught if Google can’t properly index ALL of your website. Even if you think you have all your ducks in a row, it’s still necessary to make sure Google can see you.
How do you do that?
Here are a basic ways to check on things:
- Google Search Console. It’s a good rule of thumb to submit your sitemap to Google’s Search Console. That will ensure that Google has visibility of your layout. The console has other features too, such as viewing your indexing and monitoring your performance.
- Advanced Search Operators. Typing ‘site:domain.com’ into Google will allow you to view all the pages the search engine has indexed for you. It’s one of the many advanced search operators that you can use to find out all sorts of data. If your site isn’t showing up, there are likely indexing errors going on.
16. Do You Have Healthy Sitemap.xml and Robots.txt Files?
There are two files that are vital to the health of your enterprise website. They are:
- Sitemap.xml file. As the name implies, this file maps out all the pages on your website to search engines. It also includes pages in their order of importance, as well as the most recent updates. It lets Google know everything that it needs to see.
- Robots.txt file. This file lets Google know what it needs to ignore. These are your directory files, individual pages, and more. This file grants you the ability to enable or disable Google’s robots from crawling your site.
These files are considered unhealthy if they’re unorganized or tell Google the opposite of what you intend to indicate. Your robots.txt file needs to go in your root folder.
17. Does Your Loading Speed Pass the Core Web Vitals Test?
Google has a series of tests it runs for the loading speed of a web page. It’s to guarantee that search engine users will visit a web page that loads in the blink of an eye. If your web pages take forever to load, you’re failing the Core Web Vitals standards. Here’s what they entail:
- Load speed? The Longest Contentful Paint should be under 2.5 seconds.
- Interactivity? The First Input Delay must exceed 100 milliseconds.
- Visual stability? The Cumulative Layout Shift has to be under 0.10.
18. Does Your Website Have Sitewide SSL and is it Mobile Friendly?
Whether or not you process payments on your website, sitewide SSL is a necessity. You need to make sure that your site is totally secure for your customers & Google wants to see a more secure web. So it favors sites with sitewide SSL. Websites that don’t have it get labeled ‘not secure,’ which hurts SEO and UX.
In today’s age, the majority of people use mobile devices to browse the web and make purchases. That’s why your website needs to be mobile responsive across your entire site.
To test it out, view your enterprise website on your smartphone. Is the formatting off? If so, then you need to fix it so that your web pages show up perfectly on any device.
19. Are There Broken Images, Links, or CSS Files?
As time consuming as it is, you need to scour every page for broken links, images, and CSS files. These broken files are hurting your SEO, and they look bad for your customers.
Note that broken internal links are going to hurt your SEO more than external ones due to lost SEO link authority and UX.
Still, it’s imperative to fix every broken link, internal or otherwise. Once you get everything fixed, maintain a regular technical audit schedule to avoid them breaking again.
20. Do You Have Issues With Page Canonicalization?
Canonical tags are meant to tidy up your web pages, but they can cause issues of their own. Here’s what to look out for:
- Incorrect tags. Human errors occur, so it’s important to check that the rel=canonical tag is on the correct page. The formatting and data inputs need to be picture-perfect for each one. If the tag is on the wrong page, you could run into duplicate content.
- Missing tags. Equally as damaging are missing canonical tags. Even if you don’t have any problems with duplicate content, every page needs to have a canonical tag. If it doesn’t have a duplicate page, then make those self-referential.
21. Are You Taking Full Advantage of Google Search Console & Other Enterprise SEO Tools?
SEO performance tools are crucial for ensuring your success. Every enterprise business owner should use Google Search Console. With it, you can actually get a glimpse into how Google views your web page. From there, you can go about making your website picture-perfect for Google’s crawler/indexer.
Here are some other great paid tools I use to monitor and measure a site’s SEO performance:
- Ahrefs. The folks at Ahrefs put together a comprehensive software suite for SEO. There’s analytics, keyword research, site auditing tools, link building support, and much more.
- SurferSEO. Want to optimize your writing for search engine performance? Then SurferSEO is the perfect tool. Its content editor contains language processing to recommend keywords, structure, and more.
- ScreamingFrog. Competitor insights, and more.
22. Do You Have HREFLANG Tags for International Multilingual Pages?
Large enterprises often have an international presence. As such, they have web pages available in a multitude of different languages. In order for Google to know which to display to which user, you need to use HREFLANG tags.
These are HTML tags that let search engines know which language to display. An example would be a user with a French URL seeing a translated version of your website in French.
You need to make sure that all your HREFLANG tags are labeled properly and aren’t missing.
23. Are Your Subdomains and URL Directory Structure a Mess?
How is your URL directory structure? Are you correctly using your subdomains? Here’s what you need to know:
- You should keep your directories and folders in a natural, hierarchical order.
- Use target keywords in your URL folders.
- Don’t use too many subdomains, as that spreads your SEO link authority too thin.
24. Do You Make Adequate Use of Internal Linking or Not?
Internal linking does great things for your SEO, and it’s handy for your users. On blog posts, try to find areas where you can link to other blogs or pages on your website.
A way to automate this at scale is to use breadcrumbs for onsite navigation (and internal linking). Breadcrumbs let users know where they are on your website. Here’s an example with my website:
Search engines love breadcrumbs because they make your website easier to crawl. While auditing, be on the lookout for orphan pages. These are web pages that have no internal links. To add visibility, place internal links to them so they aren’t orphans anymore.
25. Are You Missing Structured Data/Schema or Not Using it Right?
You can think of structured data, or schema, as the language that search engines speak. It’s what the search engine uses to interpret the data to display your web page. If it’s missing or incorrect, Google won’t know how to display additional visual features in Google results (reviews, ratings, pricing, etc.).
During the audit, we need to ensure that your structured data fields are used correctly and not missing. Here are two relevant examples of structured data affecting enterprise-level SEO.
- If you want Google to display your local locations – including reviews and hours – you need to use structured data. Being able to show these features makes your business visually stand out in Google.
- The same is true if you want to display information about your software app. With proper schema usage, you can show off positive reviews, pricing, and more right on the search page.
26. Do You Use 302 Redirects Instead of 301 Redirects?
As stated before, 301 redirects are what Google likes to see on duplicated pages. 302 redirects are temporary, and they don’t pass domain page authority. If you’ve placed 302 redirects and forgot, change them to 301s instead. If a page truly is temporary, then a 302 redirect will suffice.
27. Are There Any 404 Not Found Pages?
Missing 404 pages are bad for SEO, and they hurt your UX. Nobody likes reaching a dead end via a 404 page. There’s no redirect, and users are forced to hit the ‘Back’ button to look elsewhere.
With a 301 redirect, you at least get the chance to save the click by sending them to a related page. You should strive to get rid of all 404 pages on your website.
Need Consulting Services to Turbocharge Your Enterprise SEO?
Those are the 27 crucial optimizations for enterprise SEO audits. Since enterprise-level companies have unique SEO needs due to their size and level of influence, it takes a special touch from an experienced team or consultant to get results and not waste time.
A robust enterprise SEO strategy begins with a thorough audit that will uncover which web pages aren’t performing as well as you’d like and how to prioritize fixing certain pages, with the most SEO opportunity, first.
I have the expertise, resources, and proven experience to take your enterprise’s SEO to the next level. If you’re ready to significantly grow your search engine results, reach out to me to chat today.