VP of Product Marketing
Sorry, there is no results for this query
If you’re in the midst of implementing a new site search project or just starting your research on the topic, this blog post is for you. We’ll walk through a brief primer on what site search can do for your business and some examples on how you can implement site search.
Site search is a technology that enables users to search an online company’s content or product catalogs with speed and relevance. Great site search is tailored to your business.
Not only does a great site search constantly index the site to ensure the latest content is easily accessible, it also guides users as they explore and discover a website’s content, helping them connect to content they might not have even known they were interested in.
The best site search personalizes the shopping experience by capturing valuable data about the content and products visitors are most interested in.
Site search has tremendous potential to grow business, reduce support costs, and generate a better customer experience.
When one company made their search bar more visible, they saw:
Search can also increase clicks and conversion rates for businesses like ecommerce:
Google, Amazon, and YouTube are an integral part of our experience on the internet, and they all begin with search. So it’s not surprising that when it comes to searching individual websites for products, content, or information, visitors expect the same level of ease and speed that these sites offer.
You have 15 seconds on average to keep a customer engaged before they bounce off your ecommerce site. About 30% of visitors will use your search bar to find what they’re looking for, the rest will browse your website.
Research shows that visitors that use search are 3 times as likely to find what they are looking for and convert into customers or leads than users that simply browse.
There are a few types of sites that benefit the most from effective site search:
When shoppers know what they’re looking for, they don’t want to navigate through a jungle of product categories to locate it. And you don’t want them to do this either, since wasted time equals lost customers. Therefore, at all times, but especially during the busiest shopping seasons, it’s vital to give your visitors the best online shopping experience. Help them search, find, and buy with ease, and see an increase in ROI in return.
The content on media sites is ever-expanding and changing. It’s easy for readers and video watchers to lose their way in such a content-rich environment. Site search can help them find it, directing them to new and relevant topics of interest and prolonging the time they stay on the site.
Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms that allow customers to search through their created data can greatly enhance the user experience. And with every SaaS company now faced with almost 10 competitors on average, offering a better UX than the competition is more important than ever.
Other types of highly-searched websites that benefit from internal site search include web forums, wikis, and knowledge bases. Businesses in the healthcare and finance industries can also benefit greatly from a smooth site search.
Each time a user searches your site, they generate valuable user intent data. Users are telling you their desires in their own words. With site search analytics capabilities you can implement strategic changes like:
A search overlay is a popup that let’s you search without affecting the underlying screen.
You can add federated search to return results from across multiple domains including your website, support, and community pages. In this image, you get the benefits of descriptive search results and a preview of each page.
And here is a comprehensive federated experience that displays information and many options for your users.
Highlighting the query phrase in search results is an essential UI/UX part of search.
The LA Times (below) has a massive database of articles. To help users navigate them, they have included filters on the search results pages.
Companies can apply filters and facets to search. Facets are similar to filters insofar as they narrow results, but they’re dynamic and can change depending on the context of the results. Dynamic faceted search is shown in the example below:
Instant search and search suggestions — displaying results as a user types — is a site search best practice. Visual results give users a preview of the results to help them narrow down the search. “Sure,” you might be thinking to yourself, “that makes sense for an e-commerce store, but what about other sites?”
B2B sites can also display site search results more visually as shown below — Zapier is using logos in the autocomplete suggestions to help visitors discover results more visually.
An invisible and often overlooked UI element to site search is how to handle typos and misspellings. Somewhere between 10-25% of searches can contain a misspelling! Including typo tolerance of some flavor is a best practice for site search.
LA Times doesn’t handle misspellings well, so a casual searcher may bounce back to Google.
Here are two examples (below) in how the LA Times and The Guardian handle the search for “nutrition” that was misspelled. By displaying corrected results, The Guardian offers a much better user experience versus LA Times “no-results” experience. This is an obvious typo, but less obvious misspellings happen which can lead users to think the site doesn’t have an answer to their search.
Search bars are an essential part of website functionality and design, and for most of us, using a website without a search bar would seem—well, weird. A search bar is a no-brainer when designing a website, but truly helpful site search is so much more than just having a search bar.
World-renowned brands such as Lacoste, Stripe, Twitch and Birchbox, turn to site search Algolia as their site search engine of choice. Trusted for its robust search features, analytics, security, and ease of use, it’s an out-of-the-box solution loved by web visitors and developers alike.
To see what Algolia can do for you, start building for free.