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What does your site search mean for your reputation?

Some of you might believe that site search is important to raise your conversion rates and what to make search work. Others might be more resigned to the fact that site search is hard and that you don’t really know what to do to make it better. You probably have thought of lots of reasons that you’d like it to be better: everything from higher revenue to lower support costs to better customer experience. But have you thought about the impact on your reputation?

Your brand’s reputation is one of the most valuable assets you have. We all know that brands have become experiences, so what is your brand’s search experience like? Search is actually a very tricky brand promise. If you think about what your search box means, it basically boasts, “Type anything in here and we will answer your question.”

How are you delivering on that promise? Because poor performance in your site search damages your brand’s reputation. The people who stick around to search probably already hold your brand in higher regard than the rest — the rest just abandoned your site without searching. So when you disappoint them, you are disappointing your core audience. These are the people already rooting for your brand — the last people you want to disappoint, because they are the ones who actually buy from you.

If no other arguments have worked to get you to improve your site search, maybe this is the one that will do it. Your most loyal fans are the ones who search on your site the most. You owe it to them to deliver the information they need. Your brand’s reputation is depending on it.

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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, 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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