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6 Tips for Choosing the Right Enterprise Search Solution via @sejournal, @marktraphagen

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6 Tips for Choosing the Right Enterprise Search Solution via @sejournal, @marktraphagen


If you’re doing SEO at the enterprise level, going it alone is a recipe for disaster.

The size and scope of SEO concerns and tasks are exponentially larger than for smaller sites.

That means not only building a good team and excellent relationships with other stakeholders in your organization but also using third-party solutions to help you make better decisions.

This article will give you the criteria you should look at when deciding which SEO solution provider to use for your enterprise SEO efforts.

For this overview, we’ll focus on platforms that provide essential organic search data and analysis scalable for larger sites, so I’m not including things like internal search or PPC under the umbrella of “search solution platforms.”

Here are the main criteria you should use to evaluate which enterprise search solution platform will be best for you.

1. All the Data You Need in One Place

A true enterprise SEO solution platform should be your “single source of truth” for organic search data and analysis.

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Such a platform involves a big investment on your part, so it should be able to replace most or even all of your point solution tools.

There’s a hidden but expensive cost in relying on multiple point solutions: the time you have to invest in downloading, coordinating, and analyzing all of that data outside the tools themselves.

The best SEO enterprise solution should be able to integrate all data in useful ways across the platform’s own features.

For example, you should be able to analyze third-party analytics data in conjunction with the platform’s own data and analysis tools.

Also, be sure to take a look at what restrictions are placed on your data. One platform might seem less expensive at first glance, but if you have large data needs that it will upcharge you for, it may prove to be more expensive in the long run.

Summing up, here are the key questions to ask when investigating the data capabilities of an SEO platform:

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  • What data does the platform provide — and from what sources?
  • How well does the platform integrate with other third-party data sources, such as my analytics program or Google Search Console?
  • Are there any artificial limits on data I can access within my plan?
  • If a platform says “unlimited data,” what does that really mean? Make sure none of the exceptions are mission-critical to you.
  • How often is the data updated?
  • How easily does the platform make use of integrated third-party data across the various research and analysis functions of the platform?

2. Data is Fully Accessible

An enterprise SEO solution should not only be fully transparent about the sources of its data but should provide you with full access to that data in whatever form you need.

No matter how complete a platform’s analysis tools are, there are times when you will want to grab the data and do your own analysis outside the platform.

The ideal solution will make it easy to export that data, either by direct download or APIs.

Key questions:

  • How accessible is the data in the platform for use outside the platform?
  • In what forms or by which methods can it be accessed?
  • Are there any limits on how much data I can export out of the platform?
  • Does the platform give us the ability to easily verify its data, such as one-click SERP snapshots in its keyword research tools?

3. Transparency in Pricing, Innovation, Service & More

Enterprise SEO solution platforms usually involve term contracts and a substantial investment on your part, both in the monetary cost of the platform and your time in learning to use it effectively.

As with any potential long-term relationship, full transparency upfront is critical to success.

That starts with how the platform presents and sells its various packages.

  • Is the pricing of each package clearly delineated, as well as what you get for it?
  • Are there any hidden upcharges, such as fees for more data or access to other parts of the platform?
  • Are there unreasonable limits, where there isn’t a good reason the platform needs to charge but they do just because they can?

Every platform is going to have certain limits on usage or data access, but make sure those limits make reasonable sense, such as having to limit to avoid abuse or cause unreasonable stress on the platform’s capabilities.

A great enterprise solution should also be transparent and honest about its commitments and follow-through on innovation and new features.

  • Does the platform have an accessible roadmap of innovations and new features?
  • Is that roadmap updated regularly?
  • Are there indications that they follow through on promises in the roadmap? How many projects have they completed and how often?
  • What level of involvement do users have in the roadmap? Can they suggest new ideas? Comment on them? Upvote them? Is there any indication that suggestions from users heavily influence what the platform builds?

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Furthermore, what does the platform offer and commit to in terms of customer service?

This may be one of the most overlooked value aspects. The best suite of tools in the world will be useless if you can’t learn how to use them or get help fast when things don’t seem to be working as expected.

  • Are both client success and technical support included in the package?
  • Are there any limits on interactions with either of those?
  • Does the client success team provide proactive training to get your team up and running on the platform as quickly as possible?
  • Does their training focus on learning the platform only, or do they actually help you to be successful at SEO using the platform?
  • Is technical support available 24/7? What are the contact options and average response times?

Other areas where there should be full transparency include security and the ability to customize to your needs.

4. Unlimited Site Audit Crawling

A complete enterprise SEO solution should offer a robust crawler backed by sophisticated analysis tools to give you an accurate picture of your site’s health.

To meet the needs of a larger site, there should be no real limits on the number of crawls you can run.

Key questions:

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  • Is site crawling and auditing included in my package or is there an upcharge?
  • Are there any limits on the number or size of crawls I can run?
  • How sophisticated are the audit and analysis tools provided?

5. Automated, AI-Driven Insights

An up-to-date enterprise organic search platform should go beyond just accumulating and displaying data.

The best platforms available today include sophisticated AI-powered tools that sift through your mountains of data and audit reports to surface the things you need to pay attention to first.

These tools should be able to alert you to an array of issues or opportunities, including but not limited to:

  • Technical issues that might hamper indexing.
  • Page speed or other usability issues (security, mobile-friendliness, etc.).
  • Issues that might affect ranking, including improper tagging, missed SERP features opportunities and cannibalization.
  • Issues that affect page authority such as opportunities for internal linking or where more external links might be needed.

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Also, look for alerting capabilities such as automated notifications for changes to pages or fluctuations in ranking.

Key questions:

  • What levels of analysis automation are included?
  • How much information do they provide?
  • Are they customizable?
  • Are site and page monitoring tools included?

6. Content Optimization

Content and SEO are inextricably interdependent.

Success in SEO will never be fully achieved without effort to build the best, most relevant content, and to continually improve the performance of existing content.

Therefore, an enterprise SEO solution should include tools to help you research, create, and optimize content for your site.

That starts with a robust content gaps tool that can sniff out your true search competitors and find the biggest opportunities where they rank but you don’t yet, for things relevant to your site and business.

The platform should also offer sophisticated research tools that go beyond traditional keyword research to being able to tease out search intent, overlapping audience interest, and semantically related topics.

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The very best platforms will also have a content creation/optimization tool that allows you to either create content inside the tool or analyze existing content.

That tool should give you proven, actionable insights into how to improve your content based on its analysis of the pages currently ranking for your chosen topic.

Key questions:

  • Does the platform include tools specifically for content research, creation, and optimization?
  • How robust is its content gap analysis? Can it identify your true search competitors (those who actually compete with you for your topics in search, not just those you think of as competitors in the “real world”)?
  • Can its topical research tools identify semantically related terms? Can it tell you how relevant those terms are to your identified topic, including audience overlap and user intent?
  • Does the platform provide a content tool that gives you on-the-fly analysis and suggestions as you write? Can you plug in existing content to get the same recommendations?

Choosing Your Enterprise Search Solution

This post has given you a lot of features to look for and questions to ask.

That’s a good indication that the process of finding the right solution for you will involve some time and effort, but considering you’ll want this to be a long-term relationship, your investment will be worth it.

In reality, there are a great many SEO point solutions and software suites out there, but only a few can provide all that you need at the enterprise level and scale.

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To help you narrow down the field, Search Engine Journal has published an in-depth guide to the top enterprise SEO platforms.

More Resources:





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