Life is often about trying to find out what you or someone else really wants; and with the site search function it’s no different. As with many human interactions, trying to get the answer, response or product you desire from someone else is an art form. This doesn’t change in your online life.
Simplicity and rapidity are the most important qualities of a search function. A great example of this is the mighty Google and its search function. If you have a large or content-heavy website, this really starts to matter. A good site search can really help improve customer retention and conversion, and so it shouldn’t be shrugged off or overlooked.
You are trying to offer customers or users an interface that expediently and precisely offers them what they want – nothing more, nothing less. It sounds so simple – and although there are complexities to its application and integration into your page, the search function’s purpose and functionality should always be straightforward.
Even if it turns up no results; a search term that keeps coming up around a single product or request is an issue worth attention. - Highlight to share -
The search function is not only for the user, however. The data it can give you will only help improve your site’s functionality and inevitably improve conversions and user satisfaction. That’s because users are expressing directly what they want. Even the ‘negative’ data can be used to positive effect. Even if it turns up no results; a search term that keeps coming up around a single product or request is an issue worth attention.
Here are five ways to use the site search function to hone your customer experience:
1. Find out the raw numbers of people using your internal search function.
Your web analytics tools will give you this.
2. What are the most common searches?
If they are things that are already on your homepage, what does this mean about clarity, layout or necessity?
3. Where do people search and what are their next steps?
Are those searching coming from somewhere other than the homepage? If so, where did they land on your site?
What are the bounce rates?
If they come from a page that has the search result already on it then you may need to consider the layout or content.
Do they leave your site after the search results or not?
Do they have to search through more than one result to find what they were after?
Customers expect the top result to be what they want. If it isn’t, what do you have to do to your search function to make it work better?
4. Segment your data that you get from looking into search results.
Break it down in to smaller groups of people such as visitors from emails, external search engines and email campaigns.
What did visitors look for before they arrived (from the external search engines) and then again when they arrived?
The big one:
This is what bosses and clients will care about…
Search site analysis is a great measure of positive interaction with your site.
Is there a higher rate of conversion after someone has used your site search function?
Beginning to look at the search site data a little more deeply will only help create a better user experience. - Highlight to share -
Beginning to look at the search site data a little more deeply will only help create a better user experience. In many ways it’s a form of pure and honest feedback from the consumer without any extra effort on their part. There’s a small amount of interpretation involved in the data but mostly it’s a clear insight in to the weak links in your armour – if there are any.