Zanran Searches Can Reveal The Data Buried On Your Site

For as much as we’re all focusing on social media and the potential for it, Search is still the most powerful way for mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) companies to meet new people and for them to discover what you have to say.

And yet, as I’ve lamented on many occasions, most asset manager content is far down in the search engine rankings. At this point, your chances for overtaking keyword-aware search engine-optimized Websites on page 1 of Google’s results are slim (unless, of course, you start being social but don’t get me started, not in this post).

Asset managers’ poor showing for non-branded keyword searches in search engine rankings is tragic to me because I know the depth and quality of the content that you publish on your sites. Such a shame that it’s buried deep within Adobe Acrobat files with nonsensical names stored in content management system databases that generate nonsensical URLs. Your search visibility suffers from Compliance insistence on .pdf delivery and legacy page-making mis-steps, as you are painfully aware.

All of which is a long prelude to my giddiness Saturday morning when I read about Zanran, a search engine exclusively for data. It was Zanran’s focus on data and the specific search results shown on blog post that got my attention. Blogger Josh Brown used “gold to silver ratio” as a search example and his first result was a .pdf from Claymore Investments in Canada.


By contrast, the same search in Google produces pages of results that go to domains with gold and silver in their names, to heavily-trafficked Websites and to blogs, which are optimized for search. I couldn’t find Claymore or any asset manager on the first 10 pages of results for that search this morning.

Interesting…Could this search engine, still in beta, unlock the value of the data that asset managers diligently publish on their sites, thereby raising awareness of money managers and their communications relevance? I think so. I think it’s possible that the functionality to search “semi-structured data,” as developed by Zanran’s London-based development team, may help your cause.

I’ve done a few tests and the sites and content that I was looking for showed up, and high if not as the #1 result. But you look for your stuff, too. In this screenshot of what appears at, note that the search options can be expanded, you can do site-specific searches.


Zanran is still in beta and a few bloggers are reporting some issues. Overall, I haven’t seen much attention paid to Zanran, though, and something tells me that a marketing blitz is a ways off.

It’s too soon to be giddy. But I wanted you to hear about Zanran when I did. A few suggestions:

  • I’d do a double-check of your database files—you don’t want Zanran finding data in out-of-date prospectuses, for example.
  • You might want to let your Sales group know about Zanran’s capability so they can cite it as a resource for advisors. A Zanran search is likely to produce better results than the average site search and better than a "keyword" search on Google.
  • Keep an eye on your Web analytics to see if and when Zanran starts referring traffic.
  • If nothing else, add it to your own search tools.