For those who don’t know me, I’m a longtime IT person. But even I will tell you that having IT run your website search is a big marketing failure. Marketing runs the rest of your website, and needs to be running website search too. Is there a lot of technology involved? Sure, and we’ll need the help of your IT team to make it work — just like with the rest of your website. But does your IT team choose what goes on the home page, or decide which messages get used for offerings?
No, you don’t let IT decide any of that. That’s marketing.
Well, then why do you let IT decide which messages show up on the search result page? If marketers have completely handed website search to the IT team, they are asking the IT folks to do a job they are not trained for.
Sure, your IT folks can choose the search engine technology. Yes, they can make sure that it is installed properly, performs well, and has five 9s of uptime. But that is probably what they do for the rest of your website, too. If you put them in charge of the results that the search engine displays, then you’ve given them a role that you don’t give them for the rest of the site.
Marketers must own website search results. Marketers are in charge of the messages shown. Marketers are in charge of the effectiveness of website search in turning lookers into buyers.
So why don’t more marketers take charge of website search? I believe it is because they don’t know what to do. It’s human nature to deny the existence of problems that we don’t know how to solve. But ask yourself–when’s the last time your tried a few searches on your site? If you don’t have an ongoing effort to monitor and improve your website search results, it’s time to figure out what you don’t know. I work with clients every day in website search who started in the same place you are–the only difference is that they didn’t end there.
Your prospects are desperately trying to find the information you put there so they can become customers. Remember, if they can’t find it, they can’t buy it. You want them to find it.