How Infor improved its organic search results
Objective: To develop a single Infor Web site following a rapid expansion, and to improve search-engine results.
Strategy: To use keyword analysis, organic search techniques, and Web site optimization to drive traffic to a newly consolidated Infor Web site.
Results: After two years, unique visitors have increased 220%, and the company has received traffic on 14,600 different keyword combinations, up from just 1,947.
Infor is a major business software company (it counts among its competitors SAP and Oracle) that, in just six years and largely through acquisitions has grown to $2.3 billion in sales and 9,000 employees. By 2006, however, with a plethora of divisions and brands spread over more than 100 separate Web sites, Infor's search marketing efforts were unfocussed and ineffective.
"Frankly, we had grown quickly," said Dave Alampi, VP-global marketing strategy and services with Infor, based in Alpharetta, Ga. "All these companies had their own brands and Web sites, and it was pretty confusing."
In addition, Alampi said, Infor's own Web site offered a fair amount of content, but didn't focus on "how to get people to learn about us, engage, and raise their hands when they were interested."
Over the better part of a year the company focused on developing a new main Infor Web site with robust content, along with 26 country. Case studies and white papers were developed for download, and the sites were ready to be found.
Working with digital marketing company Oneupweb, which had been working on behalf of one of Infor's acquired companies, Alampi started an organic search campaign driven (at first) by just 50 keywords, and with a focus on the four search engines Ask, Google, MSN and Yahoo. A goal was to continually refine the words and combinations of words—"cash management," "CRM solutions," "asset management," "human capital management," "supply chain management," and the like—driven by research into what potential customers were actually searching for, and determining multiple variations of what was being entered into search windows.
"What's interesting is, we had our own suspicions of what we thought people would search for, but we found that there is a much broader set of keywords they use," Alampi said. "We didn't just consider the single phrases 'enterprise research planning' or 'enterprise asset management.' We wanted to have every variation of those phrases."
Refining the site
Using tools from Omniture, Infor also tested and revised Web site features that invited further clicks. The alterations have been as simple as changing a static photo to a Flash animation. In one case, moving a graphic from the left to the right helped increase the completing of informational forms by 50%, Alampi said.
Duncan White, director-client services with Oneupweb, based in Travers City, Mich., cited in particular the value of internal links, which the search engines tend to like. Infor's site, and in particular its separate site map page, is rich with links, aiding the search engines in finding pertinent material.
Meanwhile, content is continually tested and revised to dovetail with search terms. But within reason.
"You can't optimize for 8,000 keywords," White said. "What you do is pick those that people think of, so that your site becomes themed and relevant for variations of your most important keywords."
Oneupweb also worked with Infor to optimize the company's online news releases, so they also could be readily found by searchers.
Alampi said Infor's search marketing efforts "have been very successful."
"We started this journey a year and a half ago, and right now we are up dramatically in our natural search traffic being driven to our Web sites. And it's continuing to go up."
Specifically, White said the Infor main site received about 10,000 unique visits per month at the beginning of the program. That's now up to 33,000 unique visitors.
White offered another benchmark of progress.
"When we started our program in October 2006, Infor received traffic on 1,947 different keywords in one month from organic listings," he said. "A year later we had traffic from 8,511 different keywords. And as of September 2008, we have 14,600 different keyword variations hitting the Infor site."
White stressed that all pertinent Infor Web pages are optimized for organic search; the company is receiving search-engine-generated traffic through 17,000 of its pages.
But he stressed that the effort is a continuous one.
"When we look at keywords, we're constantly seeing trends," White said. "For example, at one time we might have been sitting at position eight on a search result, but now we're at No. 2. So we have to ask ourselves what's causing that. We're continually re-optimizing."
Alampi said that, as with any savvy search marketing campaign, Infor will continue to do A/B multivariate testing of the company's sites and what drives search results, as well as implementing new tools to augment conversion. The company is testing various methods of having Web site visitors fill our informational forms for the privilege of downloading white papers and other collateral.
Also on the horizon: implementing search engine optimization on the company's regional country-specific sites, with appropriate keywords and phrases used in local languages.
"I would say that close to half our marketing budget is devoted to Web-based activities, including search engine optimization," Alampi said. "Because, at the end of the day we know that when people search for something, you have to be there to be found."
How Infor improved its organic search results
: To develop a single Infor Web site following a rapid expansion, and to improve search-engine results.
: To use keyword analysis, organic search techniques, and Web site optimization to drive traffic to a newly consolidated Infor Web site.
: After two years, unique visitors have increased 220%, and the company has received traffic on 14,600 different keyword combinations, up from just 1,947.