Posts filed under ‘findability’

Search is amazing

A day out of the office workshopping with colleagues then attending an IAB seminar reminds me why, to steal a phrase from Jack Wallington, that search is amazing. It provides customer and business intelligence, helps build and support brands and is key to findability – connecting audiences to the content services and products they need, when they need it.

The big takeaway fo me today was to use data mining more cleverly to gain value from the mass of real data that search analytics provides.

This morning was about improving insight and ROI from search data by harnessing business intelligence tools. We were looking at improved data gathering and data manipulation and the ability to analyse and visualise the data. Search data evidences the long tail in many ways and it sometimes feels a bit overwhelming (or at least hard work) to make sense of data at anything but at a superficial level. But modern business intelligence tools offer the ability to gain insights and actionable information beyond what you might imagine, and; what’s more to iterate rapidly.

Some of the business benefits include:

  • Validating search term categorisation/themes
  • Identifying new search terms and trends
  • Context – is there a semantic gap between the result and the landing page?
  • Findability – how relevant is the landing page for a specific term?
  • Optimising the balance of SEO and paid search
  • Managing ROI

After a quite technical meeting in the morning, it was great to see similar ideas in the marketing focused seminar at IAB this afternoon. Speakers talked about the need to look beyond the traditional search marketing tools and to capture external factors that influence return on investment, including, of course, social media but also real world events such as the weather. The answers for your organisation are in your data, not generic information and you need the tools to analyse it. Again, data warehouse infrastructure was suggested as the way forward and getting developers to write apps to provides data summarisation and ad hoc querying.

So a valuable day which has given me some exciting actions ways forward to demonstrate how amazing search to deliver positive outcomes to organisations and customers.


17 March 2010 at 21:39 Leave a comment

A shout out for findability

A colleague pointed out Aarron Walter’s piece at A List Apart:
Findability, Orphan of the Web Design Industry

Findability does feel a little slippery – it can be misunderstood or ignored, and responsibility rarely lies in a champion. So I liked Walter’s simple definition that findability helps people:

  • find websites they seek
  • find content within websites
  • rediscover valuable content they’d found

and his focus on findability’s fundamental goal “to persistently connect your audience with the stuff you write, design and build”. All of this helps build a strong business case.

So Walter puts out a challenge to advocate findability by working with roles across digital teams to support it.

  • Project managers need to understand findability and embed it into the project life-cycle
  • Information architects to focus on content organisation, using labels and structure that makes sense to users
  • Editors to focus on great content that connects with keywords that meet users’ needs
  • Designers to provide the best cues
  • Developers to use web standards, semantic markup and accessible design
  • Usability experts to evaluate navigability and evaluate how easy the site and content is to find in search engines

All good stuff, but I found Walter dismissive of the role of search professionals (both externally facing and managing site search) and information professionals beyond IAs. Although, in an agency setting, these roles may not exist.

10 March 2010 at 22:32 Leave a comment


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