Bill Hunt: You would think that if a company is making an announcement about something, it would reference it on its Web site. 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 Web site. Our experience shows that 40% to 70% of people who land on a multi-product home page do an onsite search for what they're looking for, even if the site has drop-down menus. That makes internal search critical.
BtoB: What can marketers do to make sure their internal search is optimized?
Hunt: Coordinate crawl schedules with your webmaster or folks who manage your onsite search so queued-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 Web site.