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 theyre looking for? If not, guess what? Weve 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 youre 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 theyre 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 theyre 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?
In my training material and resource library at the Academy, I had an onsite search engine for a long time. Then, the search company folded. Until recently, I hadnt set up another onsite engine, because the one onsite engine that I really wanted to use didnt 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 FreeFind.
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 couldnt find on other onsite search engines, features that would help me tremendously with my work.
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 theyre looking for when they land on your site? Are you losing customers who get lost and cant find what they want?
FreeFind is an excellent onsite search engine that met my exact needs. However, to be fair, and because this article isnt 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
Robin Nobles is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops, where they teach "hands on" search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe. They also provide a networking community for SEOs called The World Resource Center for Search Engine Marketers and have expanded their workshops to Europe with Search Engine Workshops UK.
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