For some organizations, search is just a box at the top of their website. But when 50% of users go straight to the search bar and 80% of users leave your site if they perceive your search quality to be low, it’s time to rethink the value of search. Search is a vital part of your web experience and high-quality search is expected in today’s digital environment.
At Cludo, we get a lot of questions about how our site search solution compares to other products on the market. Many of these questions being around Content Management System (CMS) solutions, such as, “I already have a search engine built into my CMS. Why would I need more than that?” The short answer is that most CMS solutions do not provide a quality search.
While using the search function that’s built into your CMS may save you money upfront, in the long run it can cost you conversions and potential revenue due the search not being optimized to its fullest potential.
Read on as we discuss the importance of optimized site search and why it may be time to re-evaluate your CMS’ search function.
Intelligent search is crucial to your website’s success
People frequently use search to find what they want and expect highly relevant results in return. Unless your website is small enough for site visitors to know exactly where to look for content, providing a lackluster search is a quick way lose them.
The search bar is a direct line of communication between you and your site visitors. Each query is someone telling you exactly what they want in their own words. What you can do with that information is endless, especially when it comes to your website.
Optimized search allows you to monitor how users interact with the search, which is crucial to your website’s success. Intelligent search provides important insights on what’s trending amongst users, what content users are unable to find, and what content may be outdated or stale. Using these insights to inform your marketing strategy has the power to improve your website content and keep visitors returning and converting.
How your CMS search falls short
Your CMS is built to do many things, but search genuinely isn’t one of them. When it comes to using the built-in search within your CMS, a few shortcomings you may notice are:
The search is basic
Not all search is created equal. While your CMS is great in many areas, the fact is most CMSs aren’t built to focus on site search. Most CMS solutions, such as WordPress and Drupal, come with standardized features for a basic search experience. More often than not, the search feature is simple and not very functional.
CMS search is built as a “set it and forget it” solution. With that mindset comes a lack of critical search functionality needed to deliver relevant results. When comparing your CMS’ search to a solution like Cludo, ask yourself:
- Is the search accessible?
- Is the content updating in real-time?
- Can I promote certain pages while demoting others?
- Can the search analyze user intent?
If you’re finding the answer is “no” to the above questions when it comes to your built-in CMS search, it may be time to look for an alternative.
Complicated data organization
With CMS solutions, most use an SQL (Structured Query Language) database which, in the simplest terms, is a very structured system designed to store the site’s data. While an SQL database is great for data storage, it doesn’t make sense for search engines.
To create a quality site search, another type of software is required to work alongside the SQL database to help organize the data for search, such as Solr or Elasticsearch. However, these databases require significant investments in time and development resources to build them from scratch and continually maintain them.
What a search provider can provide that a CMS can’t
While having a search is better than no search at all, what good is the search if the results aren’t relevant to your users? One downfall of using a built-in CMS search is the lack of relevance and personalization. Since they are built to manage many aspects of your content and marketing efforts, CMSs tend to lack the technology required for highly relevant search. By implementing search through a dedicated provider, you gain access to search built on machine learning.
Through machine learning, intelligent search solutions automatically inspect your search activity to identify patterns of behavior – learning, refining and improving as it goes along. This automation adjusts the rankings of search results for every query, ensuring that your visitors receive the most up-to-date results and suitable information.
Users that go to the search bar know exactly what they are looking for, and your search needs to deliver. Intelligent search providers have functionality that speeds up the search process for your visitors. By adding facets, filters and sorting options, you can take a search from exhausting to successful. Enabling recommendations like related searches and popular searches can help guide your users through their journey and ultimately keep them coming back.
Control and modification of results
In addition to machine learning, an easy way to ensure relevant search results is by modifying them yourself. Search providers like Cludo equip you with ample tools and features that give you control over your search results. Depending on the needs of your site, you have the ability to make changes to your search algorithm, optimize your search experience, and see the results immediately. No need for extra emails back and forth with consultants or developers as you wait for changes to happen.
Whether you want to promote an upcoming event through custom Banners or cater to your users’ differing vocabularies through synonyms and misspellings, you can modify search results in a matter of minutes. You won’t find customizable features like these within the limited capabilities of your CMS.
If your organization has multiple domains that are associated with each other, it’s important to be able to search across all of them. A dedicated search solution can provide federated search, which allows users to search across multiple websites, combining all of your existing content under one convenient search index.
Extensive, actionable analytics
One of the biggest differences between your CMS and a search provider is the quality of the analytics. Such analytics are essential to monitor and improve the user experience.
Search analytics are an invaluable resource when it comes to checking the health of your site’s content. Dissecting your search analytics can provide deeper insights into what your customers are looking for, what content is trending, and where your site falls short on informing your visitors.
These insights have real-world implications in terms of forecasting and saving time. However, they are rarely available via basic CMS search. There are ways to add some of these advanced features if you’d like, via a patchwork of extensions and plugins, which is more work and still limiting.
The ease of using a search provider like Cludo
The beauty of a using a search provider like Cludo is that the software integrates with your CMS and website, equipping you with everything you need to create a great site search experience. Take away the middleman and enjoy full control over your search engine. Unlike the search modules that come with your CMS, Cludo’s search is easily customizable to your needs, and driven by behavioral data.
On top of that, implementation is simple. The time and cost of going back and forth with your development team and your CMS provider every time a new feature needs to be added can be expensive. Simply copy and paste Cludo’s code and voila! Your search engine is up and running. In the case of switching from an old CMS to a new one, setting up Cludo remains just as easy as re-pasting the code. This gives you more time to do what matters – use search to make data-driven changes.
Once you’re up and running, our intelligent search will start working for you. All you have to do is spend five to ten minutes a week in the dashboard looking into analytics and making applicable adjustments. It’s really that easy!
Ready to optimize your search?
If you’re in the process of re-evaluating your CMS and its search, we know it can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be with a scalable, cloud-based search solution like Cludo.
Request a demo with one of our site search enthusiasts to learn how optimized search from Cludo can enhance your website and user experience.