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Many marketers see search as just a magnifying glass in the top right of the website: necessary, but not an important as other marketing tools. Because of this perception, they often don’t devote resources to optimizing site search features.
The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Customers never use search because the features are frustrating and unhelpful, and marketers continue to see search as a useless tool. However, a robust search experience can be an integral part of an on-site marketing strategy, increasing conversion rates and improving the customer experience.
Marketers face many challenges that can be addressed by site search. Some of those challenges include:
Often, marketers address these problems by fine-tuning the browsing experience at the expense of the search experience. They expect users to find things by manually navigating through the site, not realizing making search more intuitive and improving site search features can help alleviate frustrations on the business side and the user side.
While marketers face a number of challenges in the competitive online landscape, site search can provide a big helping hand in reaching marketing goals, including:
Helping customers quickly locate what they’re looking for will improve conversion rates and decrease bounce rates. Searchers are typically more active users that are looking for specific items with intent to purchase, engage, or convert. In addition, a great search experience helps passive visitors better explore your content offerings, driving them to popular pieces of content more directly than browsing the website menu.
A great search can present content like documentation, guides, and recommendations in the search results. Showing post-sale content early in the buying experience lends credibility to your brand and demonstrates authority to prospects. This type of content keeps users engaged and increases their awareness of your products and services.
A well-crafted site navigation is necessary for any site, but not every user has the patience to learn how your site is organized. Search allows users to decrease time spent browsing through your site, helping them quickly reach their goals. Additionally, when users search, they are giving you lots of actionable data about their needs. You can and should use this to improve the search experience and the site over time.
Through smart recommendations and product promotions, you can help users discover new products and content that they may have not otherwise found. This is particularly the case for websites with large catalogs of products or services and content (e.g., corporate news, CSR, or career site), as users are not willing or able to manually browse through all the content.
There are a number of ways to leverage site search features to achieve your on-site marketing goals:
Search results should be tailored to meet your business’s needs. In addition to showing users relevant results, you should prioritize pages that are most likely to convert, have high engagement rates, and boost products or services that your business is trying to promote. This can be done by utilizing search rules, which allow businesses to easily configure and modify how search results are shown in response to specific queries.
Search merchandising is the ability to curate content and search results in a way to increase engagement and conversions. It gives marketing managers and product owners the power to promote content that matches business goals. Done well, merchandising can even feel personalized to each user, increasing their engagement with your brand.
The search experience extends beyond the search bar. Filters and facets help users quickly narrow down their searches, which gives the system much more data to provide relevant content. This should be done in a simple user interface so that consumers do not get bogged down with too many options.
Search provides you with a significant amount of data. Analyzing search data can drive site improvements, including tuning your search algorithms, term synonyms, and recommendations. Analytics can even help guide your plans for future content or product offerings, as users are explicitly providing you with what they want to see or purchase.
There are a number of site search features that can help guide users to achieve your business objectives:
Algolia provides all the site search features necessary to provide a rich site search experience to users and help you achieve your marketing goals.
Watch our webinar “Supercharge content discovery and drive growth” to learn how a personalized search can power your website marketing and improve the user experience.