As search engine marketers, we spend an enormous amount of time
trying to get targeted traffic to our site. But, once those visitors get to our
site, can they find what they’re looking for? If not, guess what?
We’ve lost a customer.
Think about it this way. How many times have you found a site
through a major search engine or directory, only to visit the site and not be
able to find what you’re looking for anywhere on the site? What do
you do next? You go back to the search engine and click on the next site. That
site has lost a customer: you.
Helping your visitors find what they’re looking for on your
site can cover a great many areas, such as navigation, user interface issues,
and the lack of a clear “call to action.”
But one way around many of those issues is to offer an onsite
search engine, so that once visitors hit your site, they can easily find
exactly what they’re looking for.
The really neat thing about onsite search engines is that many
of them are FREE. Yes, you read right: free. Of course, that also means that
you may have ads in your search results, which may or may not present problems
for you. However, even if you choose to purchase an onsite engine, the cost is
generally not expensive.
What should you look for in an onsite search engine?
- Good customer support. If you begin to have problems with the
engine, you want to be able to get help in fixing it.
- Reports that let you know what people are searching for once
they reach your site. Just think of the GOLD this will tell you! If you
don’t have a page that covers a particular topic, make one!
- Ease in setting up the engine. This may or may not be an
issue to you, but if you’re like me, you want something that is simple to
set up and maintain.
- An extensive “help” section at the site that will
walk you through setting up the engine and answer any questions you might have.
- The ability to keep the engine out of certain areas of your
site that you don’t want spidered and available through the search, such
as employee areas, password-protected member areas, etc.
- The ability to spider password-protected areas so that your
member areas can have their own onsite search.
- The ability to customize search results pages.
- The capability to request re-indexing whenever you update the
site, or even to schedule re-indexing on a regular basis.
In my training
material and resource library at Search
Engine Workshops, I had an onsite
search engine for a long time. Then, the search company folded. Until recently,
I hadn’t set up another onsite engine, because the one onsite engine that
I really wanted to use didn’t index password-protected areas. So, I
“patiently” waited for the onsite engine,
FreeFind, to add this to their list of
features. When they recently did, I jumped on it, and now both of my online
training programs have excellent onsite search engines through
But why did FreeFind stand out among the others, and why was it
so important to me to wait until they could index password-protected areas?
FreeFind offers some features that I couldn’t find on other onsite search
engines, features that would help me tremendously with my work.
- FreeFind will automatically create a What’s New page,
after you’ve any changes to the site. Just think of how much help that
will be for me with my training material? Between my two programs (beginning
and advanced), I have over 1000 resource pages to update every single month,
and I’ve been creating the “What’s New” page by hand. Now,
it’s automatically created for me.
- FreeFind is the only onsite search engine that enables your
visitors to find the page they're looking for, then keeps an eye on it for any
changes. Their ChangeDetection (tm) monitoring system lets your users monitor a
page for content changes, then notifies them when the page is changed. If you
set up this engine on your own site, it will build traffic by turning casual,
one-time visitors into repeat and loyal visitors who return again and again to
look at changes made to the page that are of particular interest to them.
- FreeFind will automatically create a Site Map of your site.
This Site Map is an alphabetical listing of the pages on your site. The Site
Map will be even more valuable to you if you have a regular, non-password
protected site, because it will give the Web search engines a page of links to
- FreeFind will search across several domains. So, if your
company has numerous domains, your onsite search engine will cover each of
those domains, without having to set up separate engines.
Look closely at your site. Is it time to add an onsite search
engine? Is it time to make sure visitors can find exactly what they’re
looking for when they land on your site? Are you losing customers who get lost
and can’t find what they want?
FreeFind is an excellent
onsite search engine that met my exact needs. However, to be fair, and because
this article isn’t meant to be an advertisement for FreeFind, here are
some other onsite engines that you may want to consider. Look closely at their
features, and find the one that works best for you.
Other Onsite Search Engines
of numerous onsite search tools
Robin Nobles teaches 2-, 3-, and 5-day hands-on search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe as well as online courses
in SEO. They have opened the first networking community for SEOs called The Workshop Resource Center for Search Engine Marketers, and they have expanded their workshops to Europe with Search Engine Workshops UK.
They have taken their workshops to the local level with Search
Engine Academy at http://www.searchengineacademy.com.
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