National Geographic Digital Media (NGDM) – a division of National Geographic Group – was confronted with the dilemma that various stakeholder groups within the organization had established their own practices for developing search engine friendly web pages. This included using their own preferred mechanism for content management, friendly URLs (FURLs), and keyword selection. With no enterprise-level governance in place, several groups had created processes that were not optimal for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and were resulting in keyword overlap across other divisions within National Geographic.
NGDM engaged EyeTraffic Media to assess the current web site and content management environment at NationalGeographic.com and to determine a set of best SEO practices that would be embraced across all core areas of the organization. The EyeTraffic Team worked closely with NGDM developers, content managers, editors, and designers to propose an enterprise level SEO implementation. This engagement resulted in the development of workflow documentation with guidelines for all NGDM content owners to follow as they change or develop site pages within the parent domain. The best practices and workflow were developed after extensive interviews with members of the National Geographic Digital Media stakeholders and steering committee over a two month period, in-person meetings with Google engineers, and the EyeTraffic Team’s knowledge and experience in the field of SEO. Most importantly, this documentation was designed to be used by the NGDM as it continually updates and improves the NationalGeographic.com website.
Through our collective efforts with NGDM, National Geographic has developed a set of primary and secondary best practices that have been now instituted as part of the essential workflow process to ensure successful SEO implementation. The documentation that was created and used across NGDM was modified to address the specific needs of other National Geographic groups as well, including National Geographic Channel and National Geographic Magazine. As each stakeholder group continues to incorporate the SEO best practices laid out in the governance documentation, the keyword overlap that existed across the organization has been minimized and content management processes for effective SEO are now centralized.