Your website search function is more than just a way for visitors to comb through web pages and locate the information they want. As a dedicated space where prospective customers can tell you exactly what they’re interested in, it’s also a built-in, budget-friendly marketing tool.
While site search statistics suggest 68% of users won’t return to a website that provided a poor search experience, nearly 84% of companies don’t actively measure or optimize their on-site search data.
Here’s how to make the most of your website search function.
Start with a well-designed search bar
Before you can benefit from search function results, you’ll need to set up and activate an intuitive website search bar.
Basic elements of a well-designed search bar include:
- A horizontal text-box. Your search box should be placed next to a recognizable search button (most display a magnifying glass icon) and made larger if it’s your site’s main navigational tool (more about website quick links later)
- An easy-to-find location. The top right corner or top centre of a web page is the standard and most convenient placement for users
- Placeholder and predictive text. Adding relevant placeholder text to your search box, and enabling text autocomplete, will save web visitors time by suggesting popular searches and fine-tuning their queries as they type
Once you have a user-friendly search field set up, you can start analyzing the data it provides to better understand and act on your visitors’ search behaviour.
Use search insights to optimize your website
Here are 3 ways you can use site search analysis to optimize your website’s marketing potential.
1. Help more visitors find what they need
When you know what it is website visitors are interested in or looking for, you can take steps to make sure they find it.
You might, for example, use search results to:
- Reduce frustrating dead ends by ensuring frequently searched terms are incorporated into your web pages
- Deepen engagement by developing blog content based on common topic queries
- Launch a new product or tweak a service in response to popular, frequently-searched- items
Regularly responding to the queries revealed by your search function can ultimately lead to more satisfied web visitors and higher conversion rates.
2. Prioritize key web pages
Search engines rank web pages based on which content is most relevant and will best answer a user’s search query.
Site-based web page rankings let you:
- See which pages appear higher or lower in your search results
- Manually determine which pages will show up when visitors type specific terms into your website’s search box (a great way to promote sales or seasonal specials, for example)
- Optimize key sales or product pages for SEO so they’ll automatically rank higher in search results
Enhancing your web page rankings creates a win-win situation: prospective customers will find what they need more quickly on pages designed to promote their buying journey.
3. Make searches faster and friendlier
You can ramp up potential sales and search performance even further by supporting your website search function with targeted header, footer, or sidebar quick links.
Using frequently searched terms or phrases (like “shipping” or “customer help”, for example) to help determine which quick-link buttons you add to your site will:
- Automatically route searchers to your most popular web pages
- Save visitors from having to sift through search results
- Help streamline navigation across your website
Making the most of your website search function doesn’t just mean giving visitors a user-friendly way to find the information they’re after—it’s also about getting prospective customers where you want them to go.
The more you use search site analysis to learn about your visitors’ intent, the more successfully you can help guide their buying decisions.