Coordinate search engine crawl cycles with site

From BtoB Magazine’s Interactive Marketing Guide SEARCH

Bill Hunt, CEO, Global Strategies International

BtoB: Finding things on a company website is important, but often frustrating. What are the major pitfalls?

Bill Hunt: You would think that if a company is making an announcement about something, it would reference it on its website. But say the web page launched the same morning as the news release, without regard for search engine crawl cycles. If it’s waiting to be crawled, nobody’s going to find it,— even on your website. Our experience shows that 40% to 70% of people who land on a multi-product homepage do an on-site search for what they’re looking for, even if the site has drop-down menus. That makes internal search critical.

Coordinate search engine crawl cycles with siteBtoB: What can marketers do to make sure their internal search is optimized?

Hunt: Coordinate crawl schedules with your webmaster, or folks who manage your on-site search, so cued-up announcements can be properly indexed and found. Then make sure the same results are found internally as are found externally when you Google important keywords. Software companies in particular should consider error codes, so customers can search for solutions to problems they encounter.

BtoB: Are there tests you recommend to gauge success here?

Hunt: First, there’s the “no results clicked” test, which reports when someone does a query, gets a results page, but does not click on any results. Pick a threshold for concern,— five searches in a month for example,— of any search phrase that yields no clicked results, to see which rules or contents need to be added or changed to deliver better and more relevant searches. Then there’s the “all searches with no results” test, which shows the content visitors are looking for that has no matching results. An example of this is a product recently announced in the press, but which searchers can’t find on your website.