Start Thinking of Your Website Like a Search Engine

Melissa Fach


August 7, 2013 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

One of the most difficult things a business can do is to set up a website properly. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many people believe that they are doing everything right, but they forget or don’t realize that meeting the needs of visitors is very important. Often businesses are more focused on the design of a website and they forget the needs of the potential buyers.

You can avoid this mistake by thinking about search engines and what they provide to their users. Basically, your website should do the same thing for your users/visitors that a search engine does for their users. Let’s review 3 things search engines do that all business owners should keep in mind.

Search Engines Provide Access to Information, Does Your Website?

When people search they are often looking for information and answers to questions. In fact, there are several large sites (or parts of sites) devoted to Q&A, ex. Yahoo Answers. When you are planning out your website content and marketing strategies you need to think about the information and answers your audience will be looking for.

  • Are you providing the information your target audience needs?
  • Is there enough information to help them make a buyer’s decision?
  • Have you made sure you have answered all the questions they may need answers to?
  • Does your website offer related content?
  • Does your content meet needs?

Search engines help people with information retrieval; does your website do that? If not, you have a lot of work to do. You cannot make sales or create long-term customers without providing the information people need and want.

Search Engines are Easy to Search, Is Your Website?

Some websites are very difficult to search and some websites don’t even offer the ability to search. Your website needs to make it easy for visitors to not only search, but to also find the information they need. Talk to your developers about excluding areas of your site that visitors don’t need to see in site search results.

Websites, in my opinion, need to be upgraded at least every two years. They need to offer everything a user could need and keep up with changes in technology. If you don’t have search functionality it is time to upgrade your website. Can people search your site on a mobile device? Is it easy to do so? Make sure your developers have integrated proper search functionality in your website and make sure your site functions well on all computers, browsers and mobile devices.

Search Engines Make it Easy to Find What You Need, Does Your Website?

Search engines are fairly idiot proof. People go and look for something and typically what they need is right there. Your website needs to be the same way. Make sure your navigation and website architecture are set up to help the visitor find the information they need easily.

You also want to make sure the content that you provide on your home pages and main pages immediately provide what people need and want to know. Your content should help people with their decision making process fairly quickly. Providing related content, articles and Q&A is a good way to help potential buyers solidify a buying decision.

Remember, people are not interested in working really hard to find information. If visitors can’t find what they need quickly they often leave and find a fast answer elsewhere.

Your website architecture should support the visitor in finding answers and solutions quickly.

Your Website is Your Company’s Search Engine for Potential Customers

If you start thinking of your website as a search engine and really think about what your search engine needs to provide to visitors you have a better shot at offering everything a visitor should need.

Always keep in mind that people want information. Your website should provide everything they could possibly need or want. Your website should make it easy for people search and to find what they need, and this is not so simple a task to do right.

A company website is a critical part of your advertising and marketing strategy. Make sure you think heavily about what information you are going to offer and how you are going to present it.

Author Image - Melissa Fach
Melissa Fach

Melissa Fach has been in the SEO industry since 2007. She created her own agency, was the Managing Editor at SEJ, worked as an editor for Moz with their community team, she worked at Pubcon as the Community Manager for 5 years, and is an editor for SEMrush US Blog.

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