Optimizing Internal Website Search for SEO
One overlooked method for optimizing a website is to take advantage of a consumer’s tendency to continue executing searches once they have arrived at a website. Companies that have installed an internal search engine provide value to both the company and the visitor.
If you have a fairly large website with extensive content it could be a fairly daunting navigational exercise for first-time visitors who are most likely in research mode. These folks are at the very beginning of the conversion funnel – they need information, and they want it fast. A single site search can bypass the lengthy “hunt and look” navigational drill. Getting the right information to the consumer quickly moves them farther into the conversion funnel, and you are saving them time and preserving their attention.
The value that site search generates for a company is significant. To start, you generate good will among those consumers who find valuable content quickly, and you’ve increased the probability of a conversion.
Secondly, you are generating insight into the keywords that searchers are using and the type of content that they are interested in. This can augment your content strategy and your AdWords strategy by providing more focus for both.
Thirdly, the search logs for your internal site search will reveal user intent, and provide you with opportunities to refine or create new content based upon what they are looking for. It will also allow you to examine whether your current navigational patterns are optimized for what they seek (e.g., is the most sought after content one click or four clicks from the home page).
A fourth optimization opportunity is the generation of new Keyword phrases that were initially overlooked, or did not show up in the original AdWords datasets. An additional benefit is that you are capturing a sequence of queries – that is you can see the entire set of search behavior over time that would give you the opportunity to think about co-locating content – if you can anticipate what the searcher’s second or third query is going to be, why not present the content before they execute a new search?
Finally, you have complete control over search relevancy. You can decide which document(s) show up in your search results, and in what order based upon company requirements. For example, product specification, reviews, customer testimonials, marketing tear sheets, blog postings can live in a half-dozen places on a website. A well-executed search can aggregate all this content into a single view with the most important content displayed first.
The following graphic illustrates how a set of search result can be customized to reflect the research – decision making – transactional process of capturing a lead. The order of display can vary depending upon the searcher is a first time visitor or not. This set of results reflects the needs of a consumer who is in research mode.
Research Oriented Search Results
Decision Making Search Results
In the following graphic the consumer is a second-time visitor, and is in decision-making mode – they want to see what the market has to say about your products, and perhaps to learn more about them.
The important concept here is that you can tailor your search results to provide content that reflects where the consumer is in the conversion funnel. These results can be tested over time for efficacy.
To find out more about search technology and other SEO Topics send me an email at: Mark@MSprague.com, or call me now at: 781-862-3126
About Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Providing comprehensive SEO services and strategy to the Boston community…
Mark Sprague’s 25 years of product development experience, which includes expertise in Search Engines, Information Products, SEO platforms and Social Networking applications provide in-depth expertise to help you refine products and services, and improve your search engine marketing and websites performance by:
- Developing a superior data-driven SEO strategy for your website.
- Understanding your customers’ search behavior and normalizing it to your content strategy.
- Understanding how search engine technology practically impacts SEO and content strategies.
- Understanding how search technology impacts content in a social networking environment.
- Developing a superior user experience based on sound information architecture, usability and coding standards.
Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Mark Sprague, CEO
580 Lowell Street
Lexington, MA 02420