If you’ve recently stepped into the role of an Enterprise SEO Director, congratulations! You’ve taken on a challenging and critical position in the digital landscape. However, it’s no secret that the first 90 days in this role can be quite daunting. SEO departments in enterprise settings often face unique challenges, including cultural barriers and a lack of cross-functional understanding.
In this article, we’ll explore how to navigate your initial three months as an Enterprise SEO Director, setting the stage for a successful tenure. We’ll address some common questions and challenges you might encounter, drawing from real-world experience to provide valuable insights.
The High Turnover Challenge
It’s important to acknowledge the elephant in the room—high turnover rates in enterprise SEO departments. This phenomenon is often rooted in cultural challenges. Many other departments within the organization may not fully grasp the significance of SEO or how it integrates with their functions. This lack of understanding can lead to friction and, ultimately, staff turnover.
Your first 90 days in this role are critical in addressing this challenge. You’ll need to demonstrate your expertise, establish trust, and foster collaborative relationships with other departments. Let’s delve into some strategies to tackle these issues head-on.
Becoming a Strategic Player
Your role as an Enterprise SEO Director places you at the helm of significant changes, from site architecture improvements to content overhauls. However, rather than diving headfirst into technical tasks, focus on developing relationships during your initial weeks.
Picture this scenario: you’ve just started as the new SEO Director, and SEO is a new department within the enterprise. Excitement abounds as everyone welcomes you to the team. However, you soon realize that other departments are unknowingly engaging in SEO practices.
In your second month, you present your observations and recommendations to the executive team. Initially, the presentation seems successful, but it later becomes apparent that these other departments aren’t thrilled with your insights. This is a common challenge for SEO professionals in enterprise settings.
To succeed in your first 90 days, position yourself as a strategic partner who aligns seamlessly with other departments. Avoid the trap of being perceived as an outsider critiquing their efforts. Instead, strive to be a collaborator who helps them achieve their goals by incorporating SEO practices.
Building Empathy for Effective Collaboration
In the world of enterprise SEO, your department relies on the resources of other teams. Collaboration is essential for executing your strategies effectively. However, convincing these teams to prioritize SEO can be a tough sell.
One of the most challenging aspects of being an Enterprise SEO Director is persuading other teams to allocate their resources to SEO initiatives. This requires empathy and a deep understanding of their goals and priorities.
Rather than presenting them with technical jargon and deliverables, speak their language. For instance, instead of saying, “I need to set the SEO strategy,” frame it as “I need to align our SEO strategy with your work to enhance decision-making.” This shift in communication can make a significant difference.
Consider the marketing team’s goal of scaling the international audience during a specific quarter. As an SEO professional, you might identify opportunities in site architecture, page layouts, and technical improvements that align with this goal. The key is to bridge the gap between SEO and their objectives.
Remember that your SEO deliverables serve the purpose of creating documentation and standardizing processes, not just implementing change. This perspective will help you secure the resources needed to execute your plans and foster better collaboration.
Your 30-60-90 Day Plan
To guide you through your first 90 days as an Enterprise SEO Director, consider adopting a structured plan. Here’s a breakdown of goals and priorities for each phase:
Days 1–30: Learning
- Get up to speed on the company’s needs, challenges, and internal processes.
- Gain product knowledge and access to essential accounts and tools.
- Start building relationships with key stakeholders and team members.
Days 31–60: Contributing
- Analyze current SEO performance and establish key metrics.
- Identify workflow improvements and share findings.
- Continue building relationships and onboarding new team members.
Days 61–90: Taking Initiative
- Assume more autonomy and practice leadership skills.
- Explore SEO goals for the remainder of the year.
- Focus on automation, reporting, and aligning SEO with broader company strategies.
Your first 90 days as an Enterprise SEO Director are pivotal in setting the stage for your tenure at the company. By focusing on building relationships, fostering empathy, and aligning SEO with the goals of other departments, you can overcome common challenges and thrive in your role.
While high turnover rates and cultural barriers may be daunting, your ability to navigate these challenges will ultimately define your success. Remember that effective communication, collaboration, and a structured plan can be your best allies in this journey.