Standard Chartered : Dis-integrating investors
Standalone investor sites slip under search radar.
Standard Chartered, a UK-based global banking group, has moved its annual report beyond the reach of its internal search engines.
Standard Chartered’s corporate site has a preview display for the results of a site search that highlights a ‘Hot topic’ and the top five matched links. A search for ‘annual report’ produces a Hot topic link to the 2008 Annual Report and Accounts; the top two links also launch the same report microsite in a new window.
The latest annual report, for 2009, is offered in an illustrated link on mouseover of the Investor Relations heading in the primary navigation bar. This opens a standalone report site in the current browser window. Searches within Investor Relations for ‘annual report’ are not trailed by a preview and do not contain links to the report (current or earlier) on the first page of (20) results nor to the PDF version that is archived within the Annual Results sub-section of Financial Results.
Standard Chartered’s main search engine has an admirable and inherently useful preview feature that allows promotion of a particularly relevant or ‘hot’ match. Unfortunately, this apparent sophistication is likely to encourage users to put their faith in a tool flawed by the way the search function is set up. Thus, a search for the annual report (a popular enquiry) may lead many to accept that the 2008 edition is the most recent and so miss the latest version. Attempts to initiate a search within the Investor Relations section will unearth news releases but not the report itself.
The clue to what is going on is in the URLs of the different locations. While the 2008 report is on the same template as the main site, Investor Relations and the 2009 report site have standalone web addresses. On the face of it both discrete sites are integrated well with the main site, but at the search engine level they appear ingloriously isolated. The situation is not uncommon, but this is a particularly stark example of what can be lost when investor services are allowed to operate off-platform.http://www.standardchartered.com
First published on 01 March, 2011