5 Tips To Upgrade Your Users’ On-site Search Results
On-site search results can drive conversion rates, but only if they are useful. The best SEO agency can design an aesthetic and functional internal search engine to ensure that your users get the desired results.
In this article, we also share the top five tips to make on-site user experience (UX) more accessible, helpful, and relevant. They are:
- Minimize the mental stress of the users.
- Use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve search relevance.
- Gather analytics to identify search gaps and opportunities.
- Design on-site searches with your content in mind.
- Optimize the onsite search for mobile.
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5 Ideas To Elevate On-site Search Results for a Satisfying UX
How do you create the best on-site search navigation for your visitors? It must satisfy two primary criteria:
- UX design focusing on accessibility, usability, and satisfaction
- User interface (UI) emphasizing design, simplicity, and flexibility
Good digital marketing firms know how to combine these critical principles to create an effective on-site search experience. We can also integrate these by applying the following five ideas:
1. Minimize the Mental Stress of the Users
More people are using on-site searches to find products and services, and they are also impatient. If what they want isn’t found in seconds, they leave and go to your competitors.
How do you avoid site abandonment? One strategy is to reduce the mental stress of searching for information. Incorporate these features into your search tool:
- Filters. These elements let users narrow their search criteria to get the best results. For example, if they search for a laptop, they can filter by brand name, memory capacity, and other specifications.
- Facets. These are the best pair for filters because they further customize the search results. Using the example above, visitors can choose different laptop sizes and brand models.
- Autocomplete suggestions. It automatically populates or suggests possible keywords or products before users can complete typing queries. It is ideal for those who know what content they want to see, but do not know which keywords to use.
- Smart snippets. Like featured snippets in Google, this one includes a short description or summary of the article or product. It improves UX because it minimizes the number of clicks.
- Related categories or searches. This element avoids a no-results page, which really hurts the user experience. If your search engine cannot find an exact match to the query, it offers the next best options.
2. Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) To Improve Search Relevance
With algorithms and consumer preferences constantly changing, Artificial intelligence (AI) can be your best friend. It automates many processes, such as recommendation engines and predictive analytics, to improve on-site search relevance.
For instance, AI can help you identify visitors’ behaviors when they conduct searches while browsing your site. It can also track and store their online activities to determine their wants and needs.
AI can then apply the collected data to improve the quality of search results, in terms of relevance and accuracy.
Further, you can use this technology for:
- Synonym detection. AI can detect similar words and phrases in queries, including slang, misspelled words, and other terms.
- Personalization. Machine learning, a branch of AI, can customize search results based on the user’s previous searches, location, device type, and more.
- Ranking of results according to search intent. AI can classify queries into various types and appropriately rank the search results. For example, informational searches such as “how to” or “what is” will display blog posts ahead of product pages.
3. Gather Analytics To Identify Search Gaps and Opportunities
You can only optimize your internal search engine if you know if it is doing its job, and if it needs help.
This is where analytics comes in.
Because it can process large data sets and provide relevant, comprehensive, essential information to identify opportunities and gaps in your search tool, analytics help answer these questions:
- What key terms or phrases do your visitors use to find the information they want?
- What are the click-through rates (CTRs) and session durations?
- Which products have the highest conversion rates? Which ones need more push?
- How do your numbers compare with industry benchmarks and your competitors (if you can get that data)?
With this data, you can implement key strategies to make your search site more competent, valuable, and even necessary for users. These strategies include:
- Analyzing keyword traffic and trends
- Revising search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, such as creating optimized titles and meta descriptions
- Enhancing content for better findability
- Improving the interface design (e.g., color, size, and typeface of the search bar)
- Providing new filters and facets to narrow down results
- Creating better content structures for easier navigation
4. Design On-site Search With the Content in Mind
On-site search optimization should always go hand in hand with content. This way, you can sustain user engagement while they search for what they need.
How do you do this? Here are the three steps:
- Identify the sources. What content types should appear on the search results, and for what keyword types? Options usually include infographics, blog posts, and white papers such as case studies, product pages, and resource pages.
- Prioritize unified indexes over federated search. A federated search retrieves results from different sources, while a unified index combines all data into one repository. Each has pros and cons, but focusing on a unified index first speeds up the response time of your internal search engine.
- Add the search box strategically. Determine the places where users are most likely to search for data, and put a search bar there. These are product pages, blogs, forums or community pages, and resource or FAQ hubs.
5. Optimize the Onsite Search Site for Mobile
Partly due to the pandemic, more people rely on their mobile devices for almost everything: work, takeout, leisure, shopping, and more. These users hope your onsite search bar can quickly answer their questions while they are on the go.
Develop a mobile-friendly on-site search bar focusing on these factors:
- Accessibility. Does it work in dark mode? Are the fonts clear and readable? Is the bar distinct from your mailing list box? Is it wide enough to occupy at least 27 characters? Can people with large thumbs type conveniently?
- Voice search. Does your search bar work with voice-enabled devices? Do you have a keyword list ready for this feature? Can people easily switch from keyboard to voice?
- Time sensitivity. How does your search engine respond to location-specific queries? Are the results sorted according to time (e.g., events, sales)?
- Prominent location on the page. The best places for the search bar are at the top right or the top center. These locations ensure that the box is above the fold, and is accessible from anywhere, regardless of the device.
- Testing and iteration. How do search engines work across browsers, OS versions, and devices? Are you ready to update it with bug fixes as needed?
- Responsive website template. Speed supports your sales funnel strategies by keeping visitors engaged, even when the Internet connection drops. Hasten the response time of your search bar by opting for a uniform template that does not use many codes, and includes only essential elements, such as filters and facets.
- Content prioritization. Because mobile devices have small screens, prioritize which content should appear on the search results and in what order. Sort content based on user intent, and use analytics and AI to anticipate user behavior.
Your onsite search bar is only as useful as the content you share, as well as how you optimize its design and function for users.
The five tips above tell you how to combine UX and UI to ensure users have an amazing experience on your website. This encourages them to stay longer, explore, engage, and take action.
If you want to customize the design and experience, Digital Authority Partners (DAP) is an onsite search SEO expert that considers your niche, marketing goals, and customers’ needs. Contact us now to learn more.
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