Jun 06, 2024

How to optimize your site search experience

Jeff Larche

Jeff Larche

How to optimize your site search experience

Consumers across the globe have come to expect seamless, dynamic experiences from every website they visit. If they don’t like the experience, they simply head for a competitor’s site.

Recent studies show that 15% of visitors regularly use site search, and these visitors account for about 45% of all revenue. Think about that. One out of seven people search within your site, but they comprise nearly half of all your online revenue. These are the people you want to become loyal customers and repeat buyers.

If that weren’t reason enough to make you want to ensure that your internal site search is performing well, it can also help you collect more data about visitors’ behavior and interactions. That data can be highly beneficial, especially for your marketing and SEO strategies.

To provide the experience that today’s consumers expect, you’ll need to take a close look at your site search performance. Much of this kind of optimization depends on the specific tool you use, but a few best practices apply no matter what powers your internal search. Here are three aspects to focus on.

How to Optimize Your Site Search Experience
How to Optimize Your Site Search Experience

Search bar:

Users should be able to easily find your search box. Pay attention to its location and size and make sure it's located at the top and center of the webpage. If it doesn’t seem to stand out clearly, you can increase the pixel size or add a distinct color. Use pre-text language to encourage users, like “Search,” “Find,” or “What are you looking for?”

How to optimize your site search experience
How to optimize your site search experience


Employ an auto-suggest or auto-complete feature to direct your visitors to products or services they may not know they’re looking for by providing options that are of higher quality, are related to what they’re searching for, or are add-ons. Conduct research to make sure you use effective keywords or phrases in your strategy.

How to Optimize Your Site Search Experience
How to Optimize Your Site Search Experience

Tracking & Analytics:

Link and use analytics software or tools (such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics) on your website to find out what website content is working for you and leave out what’s not. For instance, if certain products have higher sales rates after particular search terms are used, you can apply that insight to other products as well, replacing poorly performing terms with other phrases.

Optimization checklist

You’ll also want to check these things as you audit and optimize your site search performance:

  • Would your business benefit from generative AI to answer questions with full sentences or paragraphs?

  • How fast are results returned?

  • Are all results accurate and useful?

  • Is that relevance and speed consistent?

  • How does your search handle typos?

  • What happens when you add complexity to a query?

  • Does your search support queries that include dates, numbers, or special characters?

  • Can you sort the results or bucket them using faceted search?

The bottom line

Site search is an invaluable way to drive sales and increase customer loyalty. But users expect a great experience, so it has to work very well to be effective. It’s imperative to optimize your internal site search, or you may find that it can do more harm than good.

Schedule a call with our specialists to make sure your internal site search is driving conversions and inspiring loyal customers.

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