The time of search is here. With 50% of visitors visiting the search bar immediately after arriving on a website, the quality of your search results can now make or break your website. So why throw your shot away on a mediocre site search design? Let’s make sure your search can stand up to the pressure. Check out the most common design problems we see with site search results pages – and get our tips on how to improve yours.
1. Not optimized for mobile
Even in 2020, this is still one of the most common user experience issues with search results pages. You know your site should be responsible, or at least mobile-friendly. But have you applied the same standards to your SERPs? If you’ve had the same search platform for years and rarely paid attention to your results page, there’s a definite possibility it’s living in the past.
Here’s why that matters: 41% of 2019 website visits occurred on a handheld device. That means almost half of your website visitors are likely checking you out on something other than a desktop computer. And considering our research shows 80% of your users will leave your website if they consider your search results to be subpar, that’s a lot of people you are driving away if your search results don’t work correctly on their device.
And here’s another idea you may not have thought of: what’s the next step for a mobile user to take after failing to find what they need through your search bar? That’s right – hit the number to call support. If you want to keep support load down, consider a search platform that is built to perform well on mobile devices.
2. Search styling doesn’t match website styling
If your search has different fonts, colors or logos than the rest of your website, you are sending a loud message to your customers. That message is: “Our site search isn’t important to us.” This shows clearly that you haven’t taken the time to design or invested the money in a platform that can match your existing style guide.
Users who see a SERP with disparate styling elements are inclined to be confused or even uncomfortable: is this new page spam? Or did they accidentally leave your website? Basically, it’s a huge UX roadblock.
Poor design quality is one of the biggest factors that detracts from a website’s trustability. Multiple studies have shown that color schemes and site design greatly affect your business’s perceived value. If you put a lot of work into your website’s design, only to throw it all away when you get to your site search, you run a big risk of diminishing your credibility.
3. Inability to filter results
This item may be a little controversial. Don’t get us wrong: we’re not suggesting every single website needs the ability to filter search results. But adding facets, filters or categories can be a great way to improve user experience on your search page. The inability to filter results can make it really difficult for a customer to find what they’re looking for, especially if your website has thousands of pages or hundreds of results.
Lack of filtering can encourage the dreaded endless scroll. This means you watch your click-through-rate stay close to zero as users scroll and scroll to find the right product or the right landing page.
Lack of filters could also increase your bounce rate. A problem like this could cause a user to exit your website before they even scroll, overwhelmed by the number of results before them. That’s why filters are especially crucial for conversion focused websites, in industries such as:
- Higher education
- Journalism/content producers
4. Serving ads in results
Here’s a simple one: ads are distracting to users. What you want is to keep people on your website, looking at your content and engaging with your CTAs. Saving a penny on free search that includes ads may seem appealing at the outset, but the ads included will eventually cost your company a fair amount in lost website users.
5. Results page does not meet accessibility standards
Lastly, time to talk about accessibility. Does your search results page live up to accessibility standards? Here at Cludo we focus on WCAG 2.1 – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, published by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative. (We know, that’s a lot of titles.)
Basically it boils down to technical standards that allow users of all abilities to access your website. One of the most common is that screen readers used by the visually impaired are unable to correctly parse your text. Other common accessibility barriers include:
- Low contrast on text
- Missing alt text
- Empty form labels
- Unclear form labels
Cludo’s platform strives to live up to WCAG 2.1 standards, meaning our platform is accessible to most people if it is used on an accessible website. 15 – 20% of all people have some sort of disability that impacts their ability to use the web, so having an accessible SERP is crucial.
Looking for a better SERP design on your website? Cludo can help you with that – we offer custom search results pages for our customers, as well as expert developer assistance during implementation. Reach out today to see an example of our custom SERPs, and schedule a demo!