Most of us spend lots of time rolling out the welcome mat on our website’s homepages, making the best possible first impression through visual and informational design, filling it to the brim with content that reflects our brand essence and point of view. This level of attention needs to be reflected across all pages of a website. While homepages are the official front door to a company’s online experience, it is important to remember that 1) it is not the user’s final destination and 2) it is not the only way that users will find the content they are seeking on a company website. Every web page needs to be optimized to welcome, engage, and deliver exactly what users are looking for.
Exactly 82.6% of internet users use search (eMarketer, July 2011) and one must acknowledge that search usage influences the point at which users engage with your content. Type in the search term ‘chemical analysis lab equipment reviews’ and you will be served 9.1M results. The top four search results (as of this posting) were: 1) a lab equipment quiz, 2) company product page, 3) company press release page, and 4) company homepage.
The homepage is only one of hundreds of ways a user can find your website and each of your web pages should be optimized to capture this moment when customers are searching for information related to their specific needs. While we could talk at length about page optimization, here are two quick, actionable tips for getting started.
- Trigger Word Analysis: Review your website’s search log and see what search terms are being used to find content on your site. These are trigger words, words that users look and scan your pages for to find information that is relevant to them. When they don’t find these words on your page, you can bet their next action is to type these words into your search box to find them on your site.
- Search Term Analysis: Google offers a free tool, Google Insights for Search, which is useful for looking up search terms related to your specific product or application focus and understand the patterns and trends around them.
Doing just these two things will lead to a wealth of data and get you started on optimizing your pages for a more relevant and user-friendly experience.