Written by: Guest contributor from our partner at Coveo.
Websites that deliver a great search experience often see more repeat visitors, more conversions, and higher customer satisfaction than their competition. With a few quick fixes, better site search can enhance your customers’ digital experience and make a significant impact on your bottom line.
CMSWire recently improved their site search and found that its enhanced user experience had a direct impact on the company’s revenue. By indexing almost 32,000 articles and unifying it into one seamless search experience, CMSWire was able to deliver personalized content the moment their customers needed it, which resulted in a 125% increase in mobile conversions.
While CMSWire did not experience this level of success overnight, they implemented several changes that you too can benefit from. In this post, we’ll do a deeper dive into what CMSWire did and what worked best; we’ve cordoned off a few easy-to-implement fixes that can help you get started and seeing results in no time.
#1: Make the search box more visible
43% of site users use the search box first when looking for a product. Making your search box noticeable is probably one of the most important changes you can make to your website. Why? Because if your visitors don’t know where to go to look for information, there’s a good chance they won’t find that information. If they don’t find what they’re looking for on your site, they’ll look elsewhere, giving another company the opportunity to claim them as customers.
You’ll also want to make sure that your search box is in the same place across all of your digital properties. Where you place your search field is not as important as keeping its location consistent — this will improve usability and let your users know that findability and ease-of-use are one of your priorities.
The size of your search box matters as well. Best practices dictate that the search box should be wide enough to fit at least 80% of your previous site queries. An expandable search box is even better, as it adds a layer of interactivity that could engage your users to use your site search more often.
#2: Make your search responsive
As of 2017, mobile web users made up 63% of all web traffic. Mobile visitors, even more so than desktop users, prefer good search due to the limited amount of space on small displays for navigation.
Optimizing your search box to work well with mobile screens is a sure way to boost usability and overall engagement on your website. When it comes to optimization, A/B testing is important. Hope should not drive your strategy, statistics should. Try different locations, sizes and ways of drawing attention to your search box and see to what your audience responds best. You may be surprised to learn that your instinct or preference is not aligned with those of your visitors. Let the data guide you.
#3: Provide filtering options with filters and facets
Giving your visitors options to find the best results according to their interest is another way to personalize your digital experience. This is made possible by cutting the clutter and irrelevant information via facets. They ensure that your visitors get the best content without having to sift through pages of search results.
Pro tip: the number of categories that you display should depend on the number of search results that each query returns. Machine learning could help you provide these relevant categories.
#4: Offer quick view capabilities
Respecting your visitor’s time is one of the best ways to quickly improve your digital experience. Offering a quick view capability enables your user to see an instant HTML-rendered preview of any result, whether it’s a PDF file, a web page, or a layered file.
This is a big time saver for your visitors as they no longer have to download an entire document to determine if it’s relevant to their needs. Quick view capabilities also make the search experience more engaging, which can significantly boost time spent on-site and passively improve your conversions.
#5: Incorporate intelligent query suggestion
Query suggestions recommend queries for your users as soon as they start typing. Suggestions can either be pulled from a unified index, or they can be recommended based on previous searches from your website.
Making your site search smarter doesn’t require you to reinvent the wheel. With a search solution that is powered by machine learning, you can predict what your visitors will need next and proactively complete their query, offer them content recommendations, and help them find what they need quickly and autonomously.
If you’re interested in learning about additional ways in which you can improve your site search, check out our ebook on site search best practices:
“Site Search Best Practices” https://www.coveo.com/en/resources/ebooks-white-papers/best-practices-for-site-search
Written by a guest contributor from our partners at Coveo.
Fedor Karmanov is a Content Writer at Coveo, currently working from Montreal, Quebec. With an M.A. in English from McGill University and a research background in machine learning and natural language processing, Fedor has combined his writing skills and technical experience in order to write lucid and readable content for the high tech industry.