Congratulations! You've Gotten the Visitors to your Site?.
now, can they find what they're looking for?
By Robin Nobles
As search engine marketers, we spend an enormous amount of
trying to get targeted traffic to our site. But, once those
visitors get to our site, can they find what they're looking
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
site and not be able to find what you're looking for anywhere
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:
Helping your visitors find what they're looking for on your
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
them are FREE. Yes, you read right: free. Of course, that
means that you may have ads in your search results, which
may not present problems for you. However, even if you choose
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
engine, you want to be able to get help in fixing it.
* Reports that let you know what people are searching for
they reach your site. Just think of the GOLD this will tell
If you don't have a page that covers a particular topic, make
* Ease in setting up the engine. This may or may not be an
to you, but if you're like me, you want something that is
to set up and maintain.
* An extensive "help" section at the site that will
through setting up the engine and answer any questions you
* 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
* 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
site, or even to schedule re-indexing on a regular basis.
In my training material and resource library at the Academy,
had an onsite search engine for a long time. Then, the company
folded. Until recently, I hadn't set up another onsite engine,
because the one onsite engine that I really wanted to use
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
training programs have excellent onsite search engines through
But why did FreeFind stand out among the others, and why was
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
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
will be for me with my training material? Between my two programs
(beginning and advanced), I have over 1000 resource pages
update every single month, and I've been creating the "What's
New" page by hand. Now, it's automatically created for
* FreeFind is the only onsite search engine that enables your
visitors to find the page they're looking for, then keeps
on it for any changes. Their ChangeDetection (tm) monitoring
system lets your users monitor a page for content changes,
notifies them when the page is changed. If you set up this
on your own site, it will build traffic by turning casual,
time visitors into repeat and loyal visitors who return again
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
a regular, non-password protected site, because it will give
Web search engines a page of links to spider.
* 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
Look closely at your site. Is it time to add an onsite search
engine? Is it time to make sure visitors can find exactly
they're looking for when they land on your site? Are you losing
customers who get lost and can't find what they want?
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
Other Onsite Search Engines
A listing of numerous onsite search tools:
Copyright 2002 Robin Nobles. All rights reserved.
Robin Nobles, Director of Training, Academy of Web Specialists,
has trained several thousand people in her
online search engine marketing courses (http://www.onlinewebtraining.com)
the content provider for (GRSeo) Search Engine Optimizer software
She also teaches 3-day hands-on search engine marketing
workshops in locations across the globe with Search Engine