Simply Minimalist



Findability and SEO – It is about the content…

I recently attended the Enterprise Search Summit in New York to meet with search professionals focused on ‘internal’ search. By ‘internal’ I mean the content that languishes on internal intranets, file systems etc. Enterprise search systems are there to crawl, index this collection of documents, pages etc etc. Some notable vendors present at the conference were Autonomy, Mindbreeze and Search Technologies. Some of the enterprise search products under discussion were  Microsoft SharePoint / FAST, the Google Search Appliance, Amazon CloudSearch, Autonomy, Attivio, Endeca, LucidWorks, Vivisimo, Sinequa, NXT / Folio and open source alternatives such as Solr Lucene and ElasticSearch.

One major difference between internal and external search is that in external or web-based search there are usually links between the content. In enterprise content that is not always the case. A marketing professional who writes up a product brief won’t naturally link their content directly to another document on the intranet that was written by the product manager or designer. Therefore, in the enterprise search world, other techniques have to be employed to make the content more findable. Note that I didn’t say searchable. The problem isn’t that the content isn’t searchable it is that a user can’t find the content they need for the problem they are trying to solve or the information they are trying to retrieve. I just read a great article on this very subject over at everypageisonepage.com. This article discusses the issues at hand AND I heard this echoed at the enterprise search summit. It is about creating good content that can be found and genuinely helps the reader and not a search engine. If that is done well then good internal AND external search will follow and the tools and the implementers can do their job more effectively.

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