Informa SEO Case Study

September 28, 2019

Informa Logo

Operating in the Knowledge and Information economy, Informa Middle East is a world leader in the events, conferences, exhibitions, and training business. Informa hosts several thousand events, conferences, and training courses annually.

Informa Middle East sought out SEO Sherpa after experiencing a decline in website visits and conversions. Informa signed up for the SEO Sherpa Premium package. In just six months, Informa saw exceptional results in their website performance:

  • Organic sessions increased by 62%
  • Organic monthly impressions increased by 154%
  • Course registration increased by 908%
  • Monthly revenue increased by 1024%

About Informa Middle East

Informa Middle East has been present in the MENA region for two decades organising conferences and training and managing events and exhibitions. A leader in events services, Informa provides services in business intelligence, academic publishing, and event management.

Informa Training

Informa operates content-driven events and programmes in key industry sectors. Informa’s training division conducts more than 400 training courses per year across 14 categories, which include everything from healthcare to real-estate.

Informa is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100.

The Campaign Objectives

Compared to the year prior, Informa had experienced a 25% decline in visits and a 47% decline in website conversions from organic search resulting in a substantial negative impact on revenue and profit. With an average course selling at $4,500 and a high contributing element to the company’s total revenue, this impacted the business massively.

The challenge laid down by the client was to increase traffic and registrations for courses via the training section of the website. Our primary objective was to recover lost rankings and traffic before growing both beyond the prior year’s baseline.

We managed this goal by prioritising organic traffic and organic search. By successfully recovering lost rankings we could improve profitability and minimize the client’s dependency on paid search. This would increase organic performance resulting in registrations via course pages.

The Campaign Strategy

A poor website migration resulted in Informa experiencing drops in organic search sessions and organic conversions. This had a substantial negative impact on the company’s revenue and profit.

As such, our campaign strategy revolved around consolidating the website on to a single root domain and creating standalone category pages to meet primary search intent.

We wanted to achieve this by moving the blog on to the main domain. This, in turn, would pool link juice on to one top-level domain (TLD). We would then create standalone course category pages on fixed URLs to better Informa’s chances of ranking.

Our next priority was to optimise user and usage signals by delivering content that met the needs of searchers looking for in-depth course information. With the site’s structure, content and UX optimised, we would then focus on link acquisition via email outreach, mostly to education and business websites.

The Execution – Website Structure

We created course category pages to answer core query intent and improved site structure and migrated to a single TLD. We achieved this by:

  • Designing and developing new course category pages using studies into searcher task accomplishment, customer surveys, and competitor research.
  • Redesigning the website menus to channel users and link equity to the newly created course categories on fixed URLs.
  • Moving the blog from the subdomain (blog.informa-mea.com) to subdirectory (informa-mea.com/blog) to pool link juice
  • and content on the top-level domain we wanted to rank.
  • Crawling the existing blog and mapping the subdomain URLs to the new /blog/ URLs on the root domain to maximise link equity and user experience.
  • Implementing a custom 404 page, updating robots, XML sitemap, Search Console.
  • Closely monitoring the migration process and fixing broken links that arose.

Informa Menu Design

The Execution – Technical SEO

Fixed crawl and indexation issues caused by faceted navigation and used Event Schema to aid enhanced SERP features:

  • Implemented robots.txt directives to block parameters caused by faceted navigation. The directives aided proper indexing and conserved crawl budget previously consumed by thousands of dynamic URLs.
  • Set up a CMS-side module to automatically generate Events Schema.org markup for all courses added to the website by the client. This resulted in rich SERP features.
  • Moved the full website from http:// to a secure SSL https:// hosting environment.
  • Improved critically slow page speed by eliminating render-blocking javascript. We also compressed large images and enabled browser caching.

Informa Schema

The Execution – Content

We used TF-IDF analysis to expand the content on 70+ course listing pages to maximise relevancy. Here’s how we managed it:

  • Conducted an in-depth content quality audit using GA, GSC, and link data to isolate low-quality pages, resulting in the removal of 66 pages (mostly outdated courses).
  • Developed content for new training course category pages and key course listing pages based on user and data-driven keyword research.
  • Used TF-IDF and LSI keyword analysis to determine content optimisation opportunities. We then optimised more than 70 of the top course listing pages targeting mainly medium and long-tail terms.
  • Wrote pillar content for the migrated blog targeting mid to bottom of the funnel keywords. This allowed us to win more traffic and reach users earlier in the buying cycle.
  • Identified and created content for rich answer opportunities resulting in dozens of rich snippet listings.

Informa Blog

The Execution – Promotion

Link building via email outreach focussed primarily on link reclamation and guest posts. We won links from 48 unique referring domains using the following steps:

  • Targeted business and education websites with guest posts and other content contribution pitches allowing us to control the destination URLs of links.
  • Links built mostly to course category pages with a mix of exact and partial matches, plus branded anchors.
  • Discovered link attribution opportunities, securing links to Informa’s website.
  • The link acquisition process was conducted via email outreach. We used an email account set up in the name of a company spokesperson to leverage Informa’s brand equity and maximise pitch to conversion ratios.
  • Built local citations for the Informa head office. We also fixed many citation inconsistencies.

With the help of SEO Sherpa, Informa was able to resolve their poorly managed website migration issues. Consolidating the website stop further decline in organic traffic and conversions. In six months, Informa saw exponential growth in organic performance.

Our data-driven, SEO-focused, topical content strategy saw an increase in organic keyword rankings. Collectively, rankings increased 2,176 positions with 68 of target keywords reaching the top-three. 89% of target keywords reaching the top ten by the end of the campaign. 

Informa Ranking Increase

In total, 44 of our target keywords, such as “project management training courses,” “procurement training,” etc., had reached the number one position.

Organic search also saw dramatic improvement. Monthly impressions increased by 153% and organic sessions increased by 62%. Total traffic from organic improved from 20.4% to 59.5%.

Informa Serach Engine Impressions

Our scalable solution to course registrations enabled Informa to increase registrations by 908%. Course registrations were not the only growth area for Informa. Course brochure requests and course inquiries experienced tremendous uplifts. Course brochure requests grew by 84% and course inquiries climbed by 164%.

Informa Google Analytics Goal Conversions

Despite a previous net loss in organic performance, where Informa saw a 25% drop in organic traffic and a 47% loss in organic conversion, we turned the website performance around. By the 6th month of the campaign, made around $200 in course sales for every dollar invested in SEO, an impressive 20,000% ROI.

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James Reynolds

About the author: James Reynolds is passionate about helping you get more traffic and sales from search engines.

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