As I will hopefully be attending the WordPress Cafe @ WordCamp Europe this year, I also hope to participate in the discussions related to “Search Engine Optimization”. In my humble opinion, the “first and foremost” question here is: How do you define a search engine? (as otherwise you wouldn’t know what you’re trying to optimize or even talking about in the first place).
Half a decade ago, at WCEU in Paris, I raised a very similar question to Matt in the Q&A session after his talk with Om Malik. In case you missed it, I posted a link to the video of the event here:
please feel free to watch it! 😀“WOOHOO — WordPress Advanced Search!! 😀” [ http://fun.freezine.org/2018/02/22/woohoo-wordpress-advanced-search ]
To cut to the chase, I believe every website is a search engine (yet not every search engine need be a website). Generally, a lot of technologies function as search engines or finding tools without any requirement of being connected to the Internet (also known as “online”). For example: in many applications, <ctrl>+<F> is encoded as a search tool, or the Windows “Menu” key provides access to search functionality, or even an old-fashioned “card catalog” (or the “index” and / or “table of contents” in other paper-based media). Dictionaries and encyclopedias are search engines. Maps. Pedestrian crossings or crosswalks. The McDonald’s “golden arches”. Your eyes, your ears, your nose. Many things are search engines.
In the meantime, WordPress.COM has continued to expand the search capabilities available to the users of WordPress.COM … and yet by and large, they still continue to remain quite basic.
Even if a website has no “search box”, every website (as long as a website exists at all) has a so-called “homepage” … which is the default starting point (sometimes they are even referred to as “start page”).
On the WWW, the optimization of search engines is really the responsibility of those people who maintain websites. About 15 years ago, I would sometimes get into discussions with people who had such responsibilites (e.g. with Matt Cutts or Marissa Mayer via twitter.com ). Over time, I have come to understand that quite often the people who maintain websites have other things on their minds than whether or not the information on their sites is easily accessible or not (see, for example, “This is just a load of crap” [ https://podcasts.video.blog/2022/01/08/this-is-just-a-load-of-crap ] ).