How Wolters Kluwer Boosted Visibility by 400% with Conductor
About Wolters Kluwer
- Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands
- Company Size
Wolters Kluwer is a nearly 200-year-old company. In the past two decades, the organization became a global leader in professional information software and services for health, tax, accounting risk and compliance, and regulatory services.
With over 19,000 employees serving customers across 180+ countries, Wolters Kluwer helps its customers make critical decisions by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with technology, delivering both content and workflow automation processes to drive improved outcomes and productivity.
The Wolters Kluwer digital marketing team knew the brand needed help to improve organic discoverability. Despite its storied history, global reach, and respected name, Wolters Kluwer struggled to appear on SERPs and drive clicks to the website unless a user was specifically looking for it. This is a common issue brands face in search, but for Wolters Kluwer, it was actually a symptom of a larger problem: the need for a unified online experience.
Wolters Kluwer is a global company with hundreds of different sites serving industries and subindustries ranging from regulatory and legal services to healthcare. But each division of Wolters Kluwer had its own website, filled with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pages and different teams overseeing each site. This resulted in the many disparate teams across Wolters Kluwer employing different strategies, including content, messaging, and goals. This siloed approach led to significant, company-wide challenges preventing teams from hitting critical KPIs, including:
- A lack of cohesion and collaboration between teams and divisions.
- A lack of consistency in the quality of the content being produced.
- Poor organic visibility on SERPs.
- Unresolved technical SEO issues.
Little cohesion across teams
Wolters Kluwer had teams devoted to each individual division of business oversight. But from a company-wide perspective, it meant that SEO strategies and knowledge weren’t aligned or similar from one division to the next. There wasn’t a singular, comprehensive SEO and content strategy each division could look to as a source of truth. The teams also lacked a centralized hub of information and best practices around SEO, so the knowledge level of SEO, in general, varied significantly by team and division.
In addition, the teams which oversaw each division under Wolters Kluwer had a large amount of autonomy regarding their strategy, content, and website management. So there was initial trepidation from some individual teams that there would be a new unified content and SEO strategy, meaning they would have less autonomy to drive their individual projects and channels.
Lack of a unified content strategy
In short, a lack of alignment in overall marketing strategy across divisions led to a lack of cohesion across the content on the sites. Such varied levels of knowledge and focus on SEO led to different digital strategies from each division. Each business implemented vastly different content creation strategies and processes, eventually resulting in a massive backlog of content across thousands of distinct pages, much of which was driving little to no traffic. Amy Kolzow, VP of Global Digital Marketing at Wolters Kluwer, and her digital marketing team recognized this as a significant problem that needed to be addressed for several reasons.
- They had little insight into their content or its performance. Wolters Kluwer had a lot of content across its many sites, but it didn’t have a centralized database from each division, so there was little understanding, from team to team, of what content was being produced and how each piece of content was performing. Without an understanding of the types of content being published, Amy and her team struggled to properly backlink between related content pages, which is critical to SEO and building domain authority. This made it very difficult for teams to iterate on their strategies and optimize or create helpful content.
- Overlapping content strategies led to cannibalization. Without oversight over the content strategy of each division, keyword cannibalization became a concern for Amy and her team. While each division of Wolters Kluwer focused on a different industry or subindustry, some were adjacent and needed to target the same keywords in their content. Because of the silos around content, keyword cannibalization went unnoticed, causing any content targeting similar keywords to suffer.
- Content was outdated or unhelpful to the audience. One of the most significant pitfalls to a backlog of content is that much of that content is no longer driving traffic because it’s not providing any valuable information to the target audience. In fact, this content may be doing more harm than good in some cases. Google will always prioritize helpful content relevant to a user’s search intent. Outdated content that doesn’t offer new or relevant information will not only rank poorly but also undermine the authority of a site as a whole.
- Each individual page had to amass domain authority. Domain authority is a search engine ranking score that predicts how likely a website is to rank on SERPs. With every division of Wolters Kluwer operating its own site, they weren’t effectively leveraging the name recognition of its global brand. While the Wolters Kluwer domain might have had significant domain authority, content on their healthcare website was separate from the main site. As a result, the healthcare site had to grow and maintain its own domain authority without benefitting from the larger site’s already established authority.
Poor organic discoverability on SERPs
While Wolters Kluwer was a trusted and respected provider in its space, few outside of that space knew who Wolters Kluwer was or what it did because its sites didn’t appear high on SERPs. Wolters Kluwer had trouble ranking because of the lack of unity across the site and internal teams highlighted above, along with many unresolved technical SEO issues within the site’s foundation. Without strong rankings on Google, prospects and potential customers couldn’t find Wolters Kluwer through organic search, drastically limiting the company’s digital reach outside those already familiar with the brand.
Unresolved technical SEO issues
Early on, Wolters Kluwer lacked the necessary SEO expertise to build and manage a strong technical SEO foundation across each of its many sites. Due to this, many Wolters Kluwer sites had unresolved technical SEO issues and, in some cases, poor site structures. A site’s metadata and technical health are significant ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm, so having a technically sound site goes a long way toward establishing the domain authority that Wolters Kluwer needed.
To solve their problems around strategic alignment and discoverability, Amy and her team launched a massive, three-year-long effort known internally as the OneWeb project. The OneWeb project aimed to increase brand discoverability by creating a unified online experience for all of their customers and prospects, regardless of division or industry. It was an initiative to unify the many disparate divisions of Wolters Kluwer on a singular marketing mission and to unify the individual sites under the Wolters Kluwer umbrella.
With this goal in mind, Amy needed a single, unified enterprise SEO platform rather than the disparate tools that each team had been using. And while Amy had prior experience with other SEO platforms, she chose Conductor because of the partnership with our team, along with the comprehensive functionality within the platform itself—both of which were critical needs.
The project started with the process of auditing each site's backlog of content to understand what they had, how it performed, and what technical issues needed to be solved to optimize the content for search. Amy and the Customer Success team at Conductor took the time to analyze every Wolters Kluwer site in the Conductor platform to understand how it had performed over time, both before and after optimizations. An essential stage in this process was using key metrics in the platform to decide what content was worth keeping, what could be optimized with the help of the Conductor’s Content Guidance feature, and what should be deleted or redirected to stronger content.
Once Amy and her team completed the audit, they started to work on migrating the content from each disparate division’s site to the main Wolters Kluwer site. They wanted to be sure that each piece of content being migrated provided real and immediate value to their customers. If the content didn’t do that, it didn’t make the cut.
Finally, the last stage of the OneWeb project was perhaps the most difficult, which was unifying the divisions and teams of Wolters Kluwer under one roof and one strategy. While each division previously operated with autonomy to execute their strategy, Amy knew the impact a unified strategy would have when it comes to SEO, specifically in terms of boosting domain authority and creating a robust map of backlinks within Wolters Kluwer content—key elements needed to increase organic visibility via higher rankings on SERPs.
Amy was able to unify the approaches across divisions by championing SEO throughout the org, getting buy-in from leadership, and spreading the mission to each division. What resulted was the expansive internal adoption of Conductor, which helped to break down the information silos between divisions that held them back from achieving increased results. Conductor broke down those silos by centralizing the disparate data, analytics, content, and technical SEO management tools Wolters Kluwer used into one cohesive platform so they could all speak the same language.
Many of these issues had cropped up in the first place due to a need for more SEO expertise within Wolters Kluwer, which is not something just any SEO tool or solution could solve. Amy needed an SEO solution that could help train her team across the country, provide relevant advice, and help strategize along the way. Conductor’s Customer Success team guided Wolters Kluwer through how to best use the platform and implement SEO from top to bottom, holding office hours with team leaders and individual teams where they provided advice and best practices as issues arose. This helped Amy and her team get the most out of the platform and drive “true transformation” throughout the organization.
Broke down data silos across 1,000+ marketers
When Amy and her team started digging into their content, they noticed they needed a standardized way to measure content performance. Their content was spread across thousands of active sites and multiple different countries. Each site was also overseen by a different team, which used different tools and platforms for content, technical SEO, analytics, and website management. In most cases, these platforms had no way to communicate with one another. These marketers needed an easy way to foster collaboration and the free sharing of ideas and metrics, which is one of the things Conductor does best.
Conductor helped Amy and her team cut through all of that. Since the start of the OneWeb project, Wolters Kluwer and the Conductor Customer Success team trained more than 500 people on the platform, often employing office hours with Conductor experts and specialized sessions with team leaders, so there was an in-depth understanding across the entire organization on how to maximize results using the platform.
Increased organic search results in the top 10 by 400%
Wolters Kluwer started tracking organic search rankings with Conductor in April 2019. At this time, only about 2% of the company’s ranked searches appeared within Google’s top 10 organic results. Today, Wolters Kluwer’s ranked searches appear in the top organic results 10% of the time—an impressive 400% increase.
Boosted domain authority by 23 points
Domain authority takes into account the content and technical health of a site. When Amy and her team started the OneWeb project, their domain authority was a key area of opportunity because they understood how an improvement in this area could benefit the main site, as well as each specific division. With the help of Conductor, they set out to build a technically sound site that offered optimized, value-based content in 25 different languages, hoping this would result in a modest gain in domain authority.
In reality, Amy and her team blew expectations out of the water with the success of their OneWeb project, boosting domain authority by 23 points, currently sitting at a score of 89—an extremely rare score for such a large enterprise site.
Secured SEO buy-in across the organization
Amy admits that SEO had not been a priority at Wolters Kluwer when they started the OneWeb project. While the discoverability issues they faced were well known throughout the company, there was little internal SEO expertise and few SEO champions within the team.
So Amy became that champion, consistently exhibiting the wins that SEO brought the team while also training and educating colleagues on the impact of SEO. The gains Amy and her team made in discoverability and authority even garnered them Wolters Kluwer’s Global Innovation award, proving the impact and change Amy and her team made together with Conductor.
In short, Conductor helped create a cultural shift within Wolters Kluwer, changing how teams think about marketing, SEO, and digital strategy. What had been a pain point for the business quickly became a strength as an increased focus on SEO helped improve Wolters Kluwer’s organic discoverability, domain authority, and internal SEO expertise. These efforts produced a strong, sustainable digital marketing strategy and presence that will continue to drive results for years to come.