The Insight Direct SEO and PPC Case Study

Key Takeaways

  • #1 ranking for SEO in several highly competitive organic keywords
  • 233% increase search engine traffic
  • 113% increase in the number of organic keywords driving traffic
  • ROI of $21,525 for organic SEO traffic
  • Score of 90 in Hubspot Website Grader puts site in top 90% percentile


The Situation

Insight Direct is one of the leading providers of field service management software. Their two software products are sold to thousands of field service businesses in the maid service, carpet cleaning, plumbing and HVAC industries every year. Chances are that you have probably hired a firm that uses their software to run their business. The products are marketed exclusively online using search engine marketing (SEM) and are sold via a large internal telesales team. At the time, this team was 100% dependent upon inbound leads generated by SEM. Starting at the beginning of 2008 Insight Direct saw a rapid decline in the in the volume and quality of leads that were being generated from their search marketing efforts relative to their SEM competitors.

This graph from Keyword Spy dramatically illustrates the SEM decline starting 2008 and hitting bottom in April 2009.

Full Disclosure: Unlike other DMZ Interactive engagements, this SEM project began prior to Derek Gilmore becoming the CEO of DMZ interactive. Derek Gilmore took on the assignment of fixing the Insight Direct SEM crisis while acting as the VP of Software Engineering of Insight Direct. Working closely with their COO, Chris Chapman they rolled up their sleeves and tackled the SEM crisis.

The Challenges

There were several key challenges that needed to be addressed. The first was to indentify why the volume and quality of leads that were being generated by Google Adwords had declined. The second was to increase the efficiency of the PPC ad budget. The third challenge was to make sure Insight Direct was beating its key competitors in ad placement for targeted keywords. The fourth challenge was to increase the volume and quality of traffic.

The Strategy

Since Derek’s a software engineer at the core, the approach to developing a strategy was heavily influenced by analyzing the data inside Google Analytics and Google Adwords. The analysis identified several key issues ranging from problems in keyword bidding strategies, to issues with negative keyword usage to keyword selection and landing page design. For organic search Derek identified several on-page SEO factors that where inhibiting Insight Direct’s SERP rankings. To address these core issues, Derek developed a multilayered strategy that leveraged numerous SEO and PPC best practices and tactics. Derek also conducted an extensive competitive analysis to identify the competitors’ SEM strengths and weaknesses.

The Results

As illustrated in the first graphic, by July 2009 we had addressed the core issues with the PPC campaigns and were consistently beating the competition at the PPC game. By September 2009, the internal sales team began to see the SEM lead volume and lead quality turnaround. On the organic search front, our recommendations had significant impact and ROI.

233% Increase in search engine traffic based upon the SEM recommendations:

Search Engine Traffic: BEFORE



Search Engine Traffic: AFTER




Data Source: SEMRush  

113% increase in the number of organic keywords driving traffic:

Organic Keywords: BEFORE



Organic Keywords: AFTER




Most importantly, more than doubling the number visitors to the website, we established Insight Direct as the leader in some of the most important keywords in their target markets:

#1 in several critical keyword categories (Data Source: Spyfu)



For Insight Direct, the value of organic search traffic was significant and had very large ROI. According to iSpionage data the value of the organic SEO traffic to the Insight Direct website was over $21,525 per month.



In addition to leveraging SEM best practices, Derek took a holistic approach and looked at several other components of the website inbound marketing’s effectiveness. In the end, Derek’s optimizations resulted in a score of 90 on HubSpot’s inbound marketing grader which at the time put Insight Direct head and shoulders above the competition in the inbound marketing game.



The Insight Direct SEM situation was not unique. Today, there are thousands of companies attempting to run their SEM programs using a Do-it-Yourself approach with similar lackluster results. Fortunately, companies have many options to choose from when it comes to SEM. The difficult decision is choosing the right SEM vendor.

If you’re in the same situation with your SEM programs, we’d recommend selecting a vendor and partner who takes a data driven approach (both qualitative and quantitative) to your company’s online marketing activities. At DMZ Interactive we perform a holistic data analysis before we make any SEM recommendations to our clients.