Web site search for the small site

Sometimes it’s not easy being a search expert. People expect that my Web site will have a great site search. And it should—after all, I do know how to do that. But up until now, I haven’t even put a search facility on my site, much less a good one. And I think my reasons are instructive for what drives decisions at lots of small sites.


“Of course I think search is important,” I spluttered to yet another colleague questioning why I have no search on mikemoran.com—I am attracting this question more and more frequently over the months. I never know what to say to people, but I ticked off the reasons again in my own mind:

  • I have other priorities. It is not easy for me to even keep the content on my Web site up to date. I recently went 13 days without feeding the blog. I think that getting compelling content on the site is more important than a search facility.
  • The site is not that big. I only have about 50 pages on the Web site itself with another 50 blog entries. I have an up-to-date site map that can help people find things, although I must admit that finding information on the blog is getting harder even for me.
  • I need something free. Our book on search marketing is selling well, but it is not making us rich. I don’t want to spend money on technology that is out of proportion to what it is worth in book sales. The really good search engines are usually not free, although there are more choices available than ever.
  • I need something easy. I am capable of installing an open source search engine on my site (and so is my wife, who usually does most of that stuff for me, but it all takes time, so I’d prefer a search service.

But I think I am going to take the plunge in the next few days. I looked at Atomz Search and at Google Free. They are both good search engines and they allow me to customize the interface to look like the rest of my site, which is nice. I think, however, I am going to go with ROLLYO. On a site as small as mine, just about any search engine will work, because there aren’t enough results for any one word to stress any ranking algorithm.
So, “Why ROLLYO?”, you may ask. Because it not only offers a free search service to search my site, it also offers a way for me to give you searches of other sites on topics you are interested in. I have already created one on search marketing, which searches some of the best Web sites around for the information you are looking for. If I get a good response to this, I may create a few more searches on other subjects.
So let me know what you think. You can try the search marketing one now and I will make it available from my Web site in the next few days. Thanks in advance for the feedback.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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