With nearly 50% of site visitors going straight to the search bar, you can’t afford to have mediocre search. While there are numerous factors that go into providing an optimal search experience, your website needs to at the very least be search-friendly. By search-friendly, we mean your website must offer an intuitive and accessible search that provides intelligent, relevant results.
Ready to ensure your website is search-friendly and encourages visitors to convert? Below are eight easy ways to guarantee to your users’ searches are successful.
Provide an easily-accessible search function
First things first, the location of your search! Before a visitor can perform their search, they need to be able to easily find the search function. While this may seem like a no-brainer, the importance of a prominently displayed search can’t be stressed enough. Make sure your search bar is noticeable and not hidden within the site navigation or barely visible in the corner of your main menu.
Make your search compatible with all devices
People will visit your site on an array of devices with varying screen sizes, which means your search needs to be responsive and compatible with all devices. With nearly 60% of searches being performed on mobile devices, you can’t afford to offer a subpar mobile search experience. If a user goes to perform a search, their device shouldn’t interrupt finding the information they seek.
Do your keyword research
When creating new website content and polishing up what’s currently on your site, it’s important to do a bit of keyword research. By researching terms that you know visitors will search, you increase the likelihood of two things:
- Those who perform an on-site search will find the answers they need within your site.
- Those who perform an off-site search (via Google or Bing) may organically find your site within the search rankings and choose to visit.
Both of these outcomes have the potential to increase conversions, showing that your website is relevant and search-friendly.
Build a vast content library
In order to provide ample search results, your website has to have an abundance of content. If a search query produces little-to-no results, you run the risk of losing that visitor to lack of content. On the flip side, if that same search query produces pages and pages of results but the visitor finds none of them relevant, that’s also a problem.
Make sure that your content library is full of useful and high-quality content while making sure the information remains accurate and up-to-date. If you find that a good amount of your web pages or attachments are proving to be outdated, take that as a sign to rework your website strategy in order to keep it search-friendly.
You’ve spent time and effort building a beautiful website, and your search page should be part of that. It’s important to visually align your search results page with the rest of your site not only for credibility’s sake, but to reduce distraction.
If a visitor is new to your site, they are there to learn about the organization and what you can offer them. If they become bombarded with ads or prompts to take action while performing a search, they may become overwhelmed and leave.
While incorporating pop-ups and calls-to-action is a great way to move a user down the funnel, it can ultimately be distracting. Find a way to balance incorporating buttons and pop-ups in a logical manner to encourage your visitors to stay on the site.
Adapt to your visitors’ vocabulary
People frequently use differing terms to describe the same thing, for instance someone may search for “support” while another searches for “help”. Your search should be able to handle the varying queries your users search without them having to search again. Providing a search that can handle synonyms is an easy way to ensure your site is search-friendly.
Additionally, we as humans don’t always have perfect spelling and make mistakes from time to time, but that doesn’t mean your search shouldn’t be able to correct it for them. Offering a search that can handle misspellings will avoid a query returning no results at all, sending your users to the wrong page and even keep them off of 404 pages.
Optimize 404 pages
One of the fastest ways to lose a visitor after a search is by directing them to a broken link or a 404 page. And let’s face it, at some point your visitors will be landing on them.
Landing on a 404 page can be discouraging, whether you’re a new visitor or a return user. In most cases the user will lose trust and leave the website. In order to avoid losing frustrated visitors to a “page not found” message, it’s important to refine your 404 pages.
By implementing Intelligent 404 pages, you are able to promote content related to the error page the visitor landed on. Through this content they are guided on a path to relevant content even though the page they initially clicked no longer exists. Optimized 404 pages are crucial in order for your website to be search-friendly and ultimately to avoid losing users.
Offer voice search
While the ability to search with voice isn’t a necessity, it’s definitely a feature that can enhance the user experience. With the popularity of mobile search, voice search is especially appealing to those who don’t want to sift through your navigation. Voice search also makes your search accessible to more devices and users, allowing people to search the way that works best for them.
Get your visitors where they need to go
Not everyone has the time or patience to sift through pages and pages of search results. To optimize both usability and accessibility, give your site visitors a direct path to their exact query with features like web content highlighter. This functionality highlights the exact search query on the specific landing page the user clicks directly from the search results, making it easier for your site visitors to find exactly what they are searching for.
At the end of the day, visitors love to search
It’s no surprise that site visitors opt for the search bar in an effort to save time and efficiently get the information they need. By building a website that is search-friendly and a search that is optimized to provide results, you’ll increase satisfaction while gaining return visitors.