Helping Customers Make Use of Your Keywords

If you have good keywording it's a cardinal sin not to get your customers to take advantage of it. Here are some simple tips to help you maximise the value of your keywords.

1.  Make Your Search Window Prominent - It's no coincidence that Google, the most successful search engine of all, has its search window as the most prominent feature of its home page.  So why do so many other sites tuck their search windows away in the corner, and often very small?

2.  Give Your Customers A Chance To Enter Their Search - Once again, Google shows the way with plenty of room for people to put a lengthy search in, using multiple words.  People don't like putting in searches which they can't see because most of it is obscured by the small window.  That may explain why on many celebrity sites researchers often stop at the celebrity's name - that's all there's room for!

3.  Try A Tag Cloud - A tag cloud, such as the one on this page offers suggestions to researchers as to what words they could be using to find what they want.  The cloud on this page is static, but you can have these generated dynamically depending on what initial search terms were used, thus allowing people to narrow or expand their search.  The great thing about these clouds is that they show the most used search times by making the text bigger. People unfamiliar with searching, or how your particular site works, instantly understand how to search.  It also acts as a prompt for people to use keywords get what they want much quicker, rather than giving up and going to a competitor's site.

To find out more about tag clouds, just search on Google.  There are numerous companies offering software.

4.  Warn Customers When Their Search Produces Too Many Results - If your site has a finite number of results it will generate, make sure you tell your customers about it.  And while you're at it, it would be worth suggesting the search be narrowed using keywords.  We know of a number of sites where the arbitrary cut off isn't advertised, leaving customers thinking the library hasn't got what they need.

5.  Give Some Tuition - If you have advanced search facilities don't leave the customer to guess how those are used.  Include a user-friendly tutorial in text or video.