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FEATURE FOCUS: Driving Web Site Traffic With Collarity

by Susan Esparza, February 28, 2007

Last newsletter we discussed the impact of personalization on SEO, touching on some of the challenges that the search engines' personalised search programs will present to search engine marketers. This time around we'll introduce you to a tool that allows for personalization and optimization to work hand-in-hand, increasing usability and supporting your search marketing goals. At the beginning of February, we implemented Collarity onto BruceClay.com in order to help our users find related information more quickly.

What is Collarity?

Collarity is a search engine unlike any other. Traditional search engines use links, Meta data, and page content to rank Web pages. Collarity takes traditional results and adds a community intelligence-twist. Without ever needing to log in, any user can have their query filtered and understood by Collarity, delivering results that are more relevant. And all this occurs not in the usual search page but right where queries begin, in the context of a Web page.

Collarity has been making news recently for its innovative site compass and unique ability to leverage the power of community to direct search results right on the Web page. Select the search box and see Collarity work. As you type, Collarity offers searchers related keywords that have been determined by their community clustering technology to be appropriate to their query. Select one of these words and watch the refining process continue.

The advantage of Collarity to a site user is obvious-searching is made faster and more accurate at the convenience of a click. But the advantage to the site owner is just as great. By integrating Collarity into your site search, you provide a way for customers to more easily find what they're looking for on your site.

Currently, site search technology is poor at best and often expensive and complicated to install. Collarity works with your current solution and it's easy to install, lightweight and best of all, completely free.

The Collarity Compass

The most obvious component of Collarity is the search compass. This tool can help you increase Web site stickiness, improve linking, discover hidden gems and focus optimization efforts. And that's just the organic results.

Looking at the compass, there are four important sections to note. First is the slider at the top of the compass. By default the slider begins right in the middle at Community but can be slid to either side to make the results more user-specific or more generic. The next section is the community clustering suggestions which provide a way to narrow the user's search to be more precise. Below that are three organic results, these are the same results you'd get by hitting the search site button right now.

Underneath the organic results is a single highlighted box that contains an ad, this one points to the SEOToolSet. We'll cover the ad section in a little bit, first, let's continue to check out the organic area of the compass.

In the keyword refinement section, we can see that the initial query [search] offers several related category groups. Because we are on the page related to Collarity, many people would like to know more about the service, thus the compass offers the suggestion [engine | collarity | marketing] as three layers deeper that a user might want to search.

Below the suggestions are the pages on the site that Collarity judges most likely to satisfy the user's query, again based on community data, including analytics analysis. On the BruceClay.com site, the page most related to search as judged by the community grouping is our search engine optimization methodology page, which we think is a pretty good result.

Since that isn't the only thing people look for related to our site, the suggestions continue. Click on [headlines] and the search suggestions refine again.

Targeted suggestions for further refinement take the place of our previous batch. Here we can see that people who are looking for search headlines are also often looking for information about the Search Engine Strategies conference and the 20% discount coupon that we offer for domestic SES conferences. The pages that most satisfy the query as written come from the blog--clicking through would take the user to entries that cover the search headlines of the day.

All of these results have remained tightly targeted to BruceClay.com because we are searching in the site tab. Clicking the Web tab on the side of the compass would open the possible results to the entire Web, giving users a way to find an answer without having to leave the page they're on.

As a site owner, this means a couple of things for you. First, it increases the time spent on your site by a user, directing them to the pages that will best satisfy their needs. Time spent on site increases brand recognition and makes it more likely that the visitor will become a repeat visitor.

The second advantage of using Collarity is that you can quickly and easily see how people are relating to your site. What are they searching for? What does the community think is most relevant? How does the community put concepts together and have you provided enough content to be a resource? Because you're not seeing the results of individual users but the consensus of a group, trends are easy to spot. Knowing what people are looking for means that you'll be able to better direct your optimization efforts, increasing content in the areas that people are looking for, providing links to pages that you may not have even known were able to draw valuable traffic.

Advertising

When you put Collarity on your site, it gives you an easy and unobtrusive way to monetise your site, and direct traffic to services and promotions that might be of interest to your visitors.

As seen above, Collarity ads can be used to direct visitors to other products and services on your site. Launching a new tool? Want to highlight a section of your site that doesn't get quite as much traffic as you'd like? Hoping to get more sign ups for your newsletter? Advertise it in the compass and make the ad box work for you.

Don't have anything that you want to promote and you're just looking for a way to earn some extra money? Many site owners turn to AdSense in order to monetise their sites. Google's targeted ad delivery system is a good way to put ads in front of a user but presents a problem--if your content is good enough to draw a user to your site, it's probably good enough to make them reluctant to leave. Valueless "Made for AdSense" sites are quickly being cleared out of Google's index as they improve quality standards. Here again Collarity can help. Using ads from Google, LookSmart and others, Collarity will provide targeted relevant advertising that is useful to the visitor without competing with your site content.

Collarity is extremely configurable and can be skinned to perfectly match your site design, making the whole process unobtrusive and helpful instead of invasive. The more your visitors use Collarity, the more you'll know about them and the more they'll learn to love your site. For more information on Collarity's site compass and to learn how to get in on the beta trial period, visit their website and sign up.