The Battle with the Bureaucracy: Justifying SEO in a corporate environment | Cardinal Path Blog
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The Battle with the Bureaucracy: Justifying SEO in a corporate environment

Unlike small and medium sized companies, in large corporations it’s not as easy as walking down the hall to your developer to let them know that your going to need some URL re-writes, static landing pages and new content. In large organizations you’re generally going to encounter a number of bureaucratic hurdles. At the end of all these obstacles there is one question that is going to need answering: is it worth the costs involved to make these changes? The following is an attempt to provide some friendly guidance to the marketing manager who sees the value in SEO but has got a battle to fight to get their boss on the same page.

Look at what SEO is doing for you now

The case for investing time and resources into SEO is made much easier if you can demonstrate what benefits search engine rankings are already being experienced…

Revenue comparison

Take a look at a product or service that you’re currently ranking well for within search engines and then compare the revenue its generating to that of a product that doesn’t rank well yet is heavily invested in. You can then demonstrate that, if you ranked well for that term, you can use resources that are currently being spent on it more efficiently. You’re then able to plant the seed: what if all of our products/services could enjoy this same type of success on search engines?

New vs Repeat business

Chances are if you’re a large company, you’re enjoying a fair amount of repeat business. Added visibility on the search engines means you’ll able to find more new prospective customers who are interested in the types of products you sell but may not be aware of your brand. If you’re already experiencing a fair amount of repeat business you’re then already doing something right…so the prospects who are finding you for the first time may also be back for more.

Where do I go to find this info to back this up?

If your company is not already properly utilizing analytics, then you’ve got an even bigger, more important uphill battle to fight. Perhaps we can address this issue in another blog post. Let’s assume that you’re already using a properly implemented analytics platform…there are reports that you’ll want to look at to give you the ammo you need to make a strong case. For example:


It’s possible to roughly estimate the efficiency (increase in traffic/revenue) of an SEO campaign.

Let’s say your company has a paid search campaign running as well as some organic search traffic/revenue from some (usually branding or long-tail) keywords. Compare the efficiency of these keywords in paid and organic search reports. Typically, the branded terms you are ranking for organically will be performing more efficiently than your paid terms: you can apply this model to the entire paid search traffic/revenue to see what traffic/revenue you could expect from an increase in organic traffic. Organic search traffic not only provides more traffic/revenue compare to paid search, but you don’t have to pay for each visitor (as you would in a paid search campaign).

Of course, there are many variables that could affect this estimation. This information is intended to give you general idea of what to look for when trying to make the case for investing in SEO efforts.

It’s all about the revenue

One common issue with people’s conception about having an optimized site is that it’s a matter of pure best practices or pure rankings for a few select terms. In reality: it’s all about the money.

Revenue forecasting

This may be one of the more difficult aspects of making a solid case to corporate, but it could be one of the strongest components. You won’t be able to guarantee that you will end up ranking for all of your targeted keywords and you might get a hard time for this. But the thing is, if you don’t go after these terms, you’ll definitely never get them. Similarly, if you don’t make an effort to project how your overall business will look, you probably won’t get much interest in what you’re proposing. Another important point to demonstrate is that it’s not about the money your company could be making by implementing the recommendations; it’s the money that the company is leaving on the table by not implementing the recommendations.

Time is money

One of the biggest hurdles in getting SEO changes implemented is that IT is usually busy with something else that is more difficult, time consuming and SEO is just simply not on the list of priorities. You’ve already made revenue comparisons, revenue forecasting and made the case for repeat business…what is IT currently up to that is making the company more money than what you’ve demonstrated? If you’ve gone through the effort to provide a compelling case based on money, chances are IT will be required to justify why their time isn’t being spent on something as profitable as what you’re proposing.

My brand is bigger than your brand

There are few things that irk managers more than to see that the competition is doing a better job. Show them some key search terms that the competition is ranking significantly higher for. This one usually speaks for itself: they’re where we want to be and we’re not…what does that say about us to all these thousands of prospects who are looking for what we do?

These suggestions may not work for every corporate environment, but they’re a good place to start when trying to make the case for a worthwhile SEO investment.

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