Is your on-site search engine scaring your customers away?

Optimize your on-page search engine to enhance the user experience

When a customer is searching for something specific on your website, studies show they typically spend approximately 30 seconds before potentially giving up. Enhancing the way your website displays on-page search information is a valuable strategy that not only benefits your customers but also positively impacts your business.

Is faster really fast enough?

In contemporary culture, the expectation of quickly finding desired information has become commonplace. It is essential to facilitate customers in promptly locating their specific needs. In an ideal situation, customers may conduct a second search, but if they cannot find what they seek, there is a significant likelihood they will exit your platform.

The significance of on-page search optimization

While incorporating an on-page search engine is a valuable beginning, it's imperative to evaluate whether your search results enhance or impede your customers' search experiences. No one desires to wade through a vast sea of irrelevant content, as it can lead to frustration and deter engagement. Your goal should be to provide a streamlined and efficient search process for your users, ensuring they quickly find the information they need.

Benefits of an on-page search engine

Having an on-page search function brings numerous advantages, from improving user experience to increasing engagement and conversions.

  1. Enhanced User Experience: Helps users find content quickly.
  2. Increased Engagement: Encourages users to explore and interact.
  3. Higher Conversions: Boosts the chances of user actions.
  4. Time Efficiency: Saves users time and effort.
  5. Content Visibility: Ensures all content is discoverable.
  6. Personalization: Offers tailored search results.
  7. Valuable Insights: Provides user behavior data.
  8. Reduced Bounce Rates: Keeps users on your site.
  9. Competitive Edge: Sets you apart from rivals.
  10. SEO Benefits: Positively impacts site ranking.
  11. Support for Large Sites: Essential for extensive content.
  12. Customer Support: Assists with inquiries on e-commerce sites.

You've got it - Now make it faster!

Many content management systems typically generate on-site search results using criteria such as entry date, date range, channel, category, or popularity by default. Nevertheless, there are multiple ways to customize the presentation of these results.

Prioritize page categories

Prior to delving into optimization, it's essential to establish the order of importance for your page categories. Determine whether "about" pages take precedence over "product" pages. On the Ladybird-digital website, we've structured our page categories with the following priorities:

  1. Services
  2. Blog
  3. The Work
  4. Contact
  5. About LBD

Just to clarify, we always intend for our search pages to display categories in the above order.

Utilize backdating entries

Many CMS applications provide the flexibility to edit and track entry publish dates. By adjusting these dates, you can organize page categories and establish page rankings. For example, on the Ladybird-digital website, we began with the "About LBD" category group, comprising only three pages. We prioritized them as follows. To have "About Us" appear last after backdating six sections, we adjusted its date by six months:

  • 2016-01-01 08:02 AM - Testimonials
  • 2016-01-01 08:01 AM - Why LBD
  • 2016-01-01 08:00 AM - Opportunities

This process can be repeated for each category group. In our example, the contact category would be next, and we might begin the re-dating for that section with: 2016-02-01 08:00 AM. Note that we are using a more recent month for this page category to ensure it appears before "Contact."

Handling irrelevant content

If your search results contain numerous irrelevant items, such as photos or meaningless pages, it's important to exclude them from the search process. In ExpressionEngine, you have the option to disable input fields and images to prevent them from triggering the search engine.

Testing the display order

Using relevant keywords, ensure your desired content appears in the preferred order on the search results page. You might need to revisit your original content to include any missing keywords. While it may be a bit labour intensive, the final outcome will be highly beneficial for both you and your customers.

Crafting effective content

After refining the order, it's crucial to make sure entries are concise and directly relevant. In ExpressionEngine, you can establish a custom field for the search engine results statement. This enables you to create tailored descriptions for search results, effectively summarizing the page and even integrating marketing or branding messages to engage users in their search.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.