How To Reap the Benefits of Top Quality On-site Search Ability
Giving your customers a chance to quickly find the content or product they need from your site greatly enhances customer satisfaction. But an experienced SEO agency will tell you that it takes more than placing a search widget on your site to get the full benefits of this feature.
This guide is about getting the most out of on-site search using the following best practices:
- Observing proper search box design and placement
- Allowing auto-complete
- Providing customized ranking options
- Avoiding a no-results page
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Observe Proper Search Box Design and Placement
Does your search box meet your customers' expectations, or is it making on-site searching harder? Are they able to find what they are looking for? Your site search widget or search box is what people use to browse your site for articles, products, or services that they need. A well-designed search box improves the overall user experience.
It has to be well-designed and visible to make the most out of your search box widget. A search widget has three crucial design elements: the search box, the search button, and a magnifying glass. The box should have a distinguishable input field so people can see and edit their text if necessary.
The search box should be easy to find, usually at the top right or middle of the screen. Do not make your customers scroll down or look everywhere for the search box. Consider the following search box design and placement tips:
- Optimize search box placement on mobile. Place the search box prominent so your customers can find it, even on a small screen. Use a responsive mobile site template that formats your pages to display well on various screen sizes.
- Avoid placing it near other boxes. It is hard to click and use the search box when it is near or overlapping other boxes, like your email subscription box or newsletter sign-up box. Keep the search widget accessible and distinguishable from different fields.
- Follow the allowable character limit. This should be as long as possible but at most 27 characters. This can accommodate most of the possible user search queries.
- Add a search button. Lead your users to your search box by adding a search button. This is an additional action before your visitors get the information they need. Many search button templates are available online. Although it is fun to use a unique template, stick to a simple design that your visitors recognize, like a magnifying glass.
- Add a placeholder text. Add text to tell visitors what they can find on your site. If you have an ecommerce site that sells luxury watches, you can use a creative placeholder text that says, "search for luxury timepieces here" or "it's time to find your watch."
Allowing Auto-Complete Features
Impress your customers by giving them exactly what they need when they use your search box. Making the search box produce auto-complete results gives your customers suggested results for their queries.
For example, a customer searches a flooring contractor's website using their search box. They type "wooden floors," but before they can finish, the search box automatically suggests "wooden floor maintenance," "wooden floor installation," and "wooden floor repairs." These suggestions are from popular or suggested queries about your market or niche.
This feature makes on-site search faster and helps customers use better search terms. Here are more tips to further optimize your auto-complete search box results.
- Refrain from overwhelming your customers with a lot of suggestions. Place up to 10 results in your search box. This is enough to help your visitors find exactly what they need on your site – be it articles, products, or services.
- Ask an expert to help you. An experienced web developer can help you optimize your search box with auto-complete features on desktop and mobile devices.
Provide Customized Ranking
As your customers use the search box, type their queries, and select one of the suggestions, an on-site search engine results page (SERP) appears, showing related results to their questions. You can control the pages that your customers get and prioritize content from which they benefit.
Sometimes your customers’ search results only partially match their queries. This leads to frustration and doubts about your expertise and brand. You can avoid this by tweaking the search results returned by your on-site search engines.
Google’s Programmable Search Engine allows you to improve results rankings through these ways.
- Boost web pages with keywords. Make your pages more accessible or easy to find by using your on-site search box and keywords on the title, heading, subheadings, and in the body.
- Optimize rankings using weighted labels. This is a way for you to tell the Programmable Search Engine to promote, demote, or exclude a page. The weights of the assigned labels determine the final rank of the site you demoted or promoted.
- Apply scores to improve ranking. Scores are applied to specific annotations to change or reverse the effect of weighted labels. Scores help improve site rankings.
- Make your results simple. This helps your customers find what they need quickly. Allow customers to simplify their searches using filters. Returning to the luxury watch site example, someone looking for "luxury watches" will be looking for results according to gender, material, price, and more.
Avoid a “No Results” Page
Getting a "no results" page is like telling your customers, "we cannot help you" or "you have reached a dead end." You want to avoid this when customers use your on-site search box.
A “no results” page can lead to site abandonment and a negative user experience. Avoid this roadblock by providing your customers with a path toward the correct search results. The following techniques can help you avoid a “no results” page.
- Build your synonym library. Your on-site search engine should capture how your audience refers to a specific item. Thus, build your synonym list. For example, "luxury watches" could also mean "expensive timepieces," "pricey watches," and "expensive watch brands." Create an extensive library of synonyms for every possible item.
- Utilize query suggestions and autocomplete. These strategies help users to search and find new topics related to their queries. For instance, "luxury watches for men" may have suggestions like "luxury sports watches for men" or "luxury gold watches for men."
- Customize search results based on customers’ needs. This helps you produce relevant results. Personalize your search box using data like past searches, buyer interests, purchases, and more.
You must optimize your search box to reap the fantastic benefits of on-site search. Observing proper search box design and placement, allowing auto-complete, offering customized ranking options, and avoiding a no-results page can boost site search effectiveness.
Work at making your search box accessible, helpful, and efficient. Do this and you can improve on-site search and the overall user experience.
Find out how on-site search can benefit your business. Contact Digital Authority Partners now.
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