When it comes to creating an effective website there are so many components that need to be considered: Choosing the correct content management system, search engine optimization (SEO), easy navigation, quality content, professional design and appealing templates, the list goes on. However, one factor that is overlooked way too often is the on-site search ability of a website.
There are many benefits to utilizing on-site search. So many in fact it would take several posts to truly explain and capture the importance of this feature. Below, I describe four main benefits of a proper on-site search feature for your website and why this tool should not be ignored.
The first one, in my opinion, is really the most obvious - it dramatically improves your visitors’ experience by giving them the information they want in the quickest way possible. Everyone wants to have a lot of quality content throughout their site to improve SEO. However, this can make it more difficult to find very specific information about a product or service which can then decrease the user experience and defeat your ultimate goal.
Providing your visitors with what they want in the fewest clicks will help ensure they stay on your site and don’t leave out of frustration to visit a competitor. Having a fully functional on-site search feature eliminates this problem and guides your visitors to the desired information with ease, thus tremendously improving their navigation experience.
The next benefit is that on-site search actually helps increase your revenue. Yes, this is true! A study by Econsultancy found that, on average, visitors who use the on-site search feature generate more revenue for companies than those visitors who do not. What’s more, this same study found conversion rates are double for visitors using on-site search when compared to those who do not.
OK, still don’t believe me? One more fact that was taken from this study, visitors who use the on-site search feature are more likely to re-visit that site with the intention of buying again. Knowing this, wouldn’t you say on-site search seems to be a pretty critical factor for your website revenue generation?
The third reason why on-site search should not be ignored: It will help you better understand your customer base and what products & services they are looking for. This one requires some research and analytics tracking but when done properly, you can receive some valuable data and insight about your customers. Just like SEO keyword research helps determine what the general public is searching for in search engines, tracking your own on-site search activity will tell you exactly what your customers want from you.
With this data, you can improve your product strategy and really pinpoint what products and services are most desired and which ones are not. Think of it like this, every time a visitor uses the on-site search tool it’s like they are taking a survey, they are telling you what’s important to them. Now it’s just up to you to provide it.
Last but not least, the final benefit I wanted to discuss today is about setting yourself apart, in a good way of course. Having the on-site search feature for your website will give you a head start on your competitors. Remember when I started this post and I mentioned that on-site search is overlooked way too often? Well, I meant it and the stats back it up. According to a report by Econsultancy, only 15% put forth the resources needed to create and optimize the on-site search experience for their website.That means about 85% of your competitors are not taking advantage of the benefits we have outlined today.
The most common reason behind that is because of the lack of knowledge they have on the topic. A lot of companies simply are unaware of how important this tool is. So, now that you know what the majority of your competition does’t know about on-site search, it’s a great time to take advantage of that!
Next time you look into improving your company’s website design, navigation, SEO, content, and all of the other factors we always consider, please do not ignore the importance of having a well-functioning on-site search feature. The first step to ensuring that your website will have an optimized and comprehensive on-site search feature is by choosing the proper CMS to have your website built in.