Far too often the terms “findability” and “searchability” are used interchangeably, but are they the same thing? The answer in short-no, but why should you care? Although the words find and search are used as synonyms, there is a big difference between something being findable and something being searchable. The difference in these terms are as stark as day and night and if you don’t have a balanced mix your page could be sitting underexposed in Google’s Search waiting to be discovered.

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the ability to easily find your website is the most important factor in upping your page views. To rank higher in an organic search your page needs to be both findable and searchable. Learn the difference between the two to increase your page views and bump your place up in an organic search.

What makes a page findable?

Findability is an important aspect in marketing and sales and without it businesses would lose a considerable amount of profit. So what is it exactly? Findability is how easily a site is found through an organic search; it also indicates how easily content is found from within the site. In this instance, the word find indicates locating known information in an expected location.

To make a page findable, there are many aspects that should be combined. The most important are:

  • Good user interface design – A good user interface design would include a search bar allowing the user to search terms from within the site as well as an advanced search option, which locates complex terms. Sorting can also help in bringing relevant pages to the top of a search from within a website.
  • Accessibility
  • SEO
  • Information architecture

Findability allows a site visitor to rerun a previously saved search through saved records or bookmarks. Good findability allows a user to locate specific information even by similar spelling or concepts. Some examples of good findability are:

  • Search term suggestions that pop up as a user begins to type in a term.
  • Offering alternative spelling suggestions. (for example “Did you mean___?”)
  • Highlighting terms within the search results to verify term matching.

What makes a site searchable?

Searchability is the ability to pull up information through an external or internal search by using known information. A specific phrase or word is typed into a search engine and all sites that contain that phrase are given as results. For a website to be searchable, the website should be accessible, contain well-written content and contain user-focused content.

Some methods people use to make their page more searchable are:

  • Meta tags
  • Strategic keyword placement
  • Relevant content
  • Links to related content

Why You Should Care

If your business deals heavily on the web you might rely on SEO to attract visitors to your website. You may have been told that stuffing keywords in your content and having thousands of backlinks to your content is a way to rank higher in the search engine, but it’s not that simple (especially after the latest Google Panda update). You’ll need a combination of searchability, findability, and SEO for your site to rank higher in a deep search.

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