Four ways to get more value from your site search

The importance of good site search cannot be overstated.  A well performing site search improves your customers’ online experience and helps them find products and information more quickly, and the more data you include in the search results, the easier you make the visitor’s purchasing decision.  Following are four quick steps you can take that will ensure your site search has an even stronger impact – both on your customers’ experience and on your bottom line. 

1. Put the “focus” on search. With a simple Javascript command, you can set up your home page (and subsequent pages) to load with the cursor automatically in the search box, so visitors can start typing without having to look for the search box or clicking on it.  This makes it easier for Web visitors to start searching – a bonus given that studies have shown that people who search (rather than navigate) convert at a higher rate.

2. Add social tags and user reviews to search results. If you allow users to provide product reviews and/or social tags to product descriptions (both of which have been shown to keep visitors on a site longer), it makes sense to incorporate that user-generated data into site search results.  Further, you can allow people to refine results by ratings and tags (e.g. people can click to see only results with four stars or with specific social tags), making the search process that much easier. 

3. Add video to search results. With so many companies putting video on their Web sites to give customers more information about products, it makes perfect sense to include a video icon in the site search results next to any items for which video is available.  One of our customers – – does this, and it has been a useful way to help customers find the many types of videos available, such as product instructions and installation how-tos.

4. Incorporate your blog into search results. If your company has a blog, you already know that blogs help improve your visibility and engage customers. Similar to points No. 2 and No. 3 above, incorporating content from your blog into site search results helps make it as easy as possible for your customers to find all the information on your site that’s available. It can help guide their purchasing decision as well.  If you’re not sure how to present blog content in your site search, you may want to ask your customers, perhaps through a blog post, try some options, and measure the impact on your conversion rate.

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