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Why don’t searchers click on my site search results?

We’ve talked about why searchers click on your site search results, but what about when they don’t? Because sometimes they won’t. If you know why searchers fail to click on your search results, it can help you improve your Web site search.


Here’s a news flash. One of the biggest reasons that searchers don’t click is they get no results at all. Some studies show that more than 20 percent of Web site searches do not yield any results. What’s more, searchers tend to enter second and third queries using many of the same words that were in the first query, which can yield even more “not founds.”
But searchers also fail to click bad results. (What would you expect them to do?) If they don’t click on irrelevant results, what do they do?

  • Look at the next page of results. Relatively few searchers look deeper into the results, but a searcher intensively looking for information is more likely to do so.
  • Search again. Perhaps this sounds like exactly what you want them to do, but the outcome is typically bleak. Studies show that the second search (and subsequent searches) usually fail at even higher rates than the average.
  • Abandon your site. OK, this isn’t a good outcome, either.

We try to talk ourselves into the idea that site search that’s mediocre (or worse) doesn’t cost us. After all, we know where it is, so our customers will find it if they will poke around just a little longer, right? Except they mostly don’t.
If your search engine is not producing the results your customers need, maybe it’s time to try something new. If you’re looking for a free search engine for your Web site, one that is easy to try, provides highly relevant results, and that has a configurable user interface you can change to your heart’s content, try the IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet 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, a leading digital media marketing consultancy based in New York City. 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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