1. Build a Team: It's difficult to get beyond basic operational issues to realize the full potential of on-site search without dedicated employees to coordinate a strategy and govern and optimize the implementation.
  2. Prioritize Integration: Add time and budget to address IT's top concern for site search technology: seamless integration with the myriad technologies that power an organization's complex website.
  3. Break Down Silos: The top three areas for search improvement — better relevance, enhanced usability and quality content — can only transpire if IT and marketing work together.
  4. Tie Search with Business Goals: On-site search is critical even for organizations that don't sell products online. Quality on-site search helps save calls to the contact center or helps gather leads for the sales force.
  5. Unite Search and Web Analytics: Search-related data can reveal opportunities to optimize how search performs and quantify progress towards the business goals of your website.
  6. Incorporate Search Beyond the Results Page: Use site search to drive contextual content, such as recommendations, dynamic navigation and custom landing pages.
  7. Target Where Your Traffic Is Coming From: Site search technology can determine what drove people to the site and their device type and can support dynamically assembled content and promotions.
  8. Rewrite Content in Light of Search Logs: Use web search terms along with terms used in the site search box to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and to fill content gaps.
  9. Create More Dynamic, Contextual Web Experience: Use search to control how people browse a website at a particular time — what they see and when they see it — not just for keyword queries.
  10. Automate a Personalized Experience: Search relevance can change based on visitor cues, such as how like-minded searchers behave and what content they consume.

LESLIE OWENS is a senior analyst at Forrester Research. She will be speaking at Forrester's IT Forum, May 25-27, 2011 in Las Vegas.


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