Onsite Search Improves Conversion Rates: – Phil Gregory
Implementing on-site search on your website will literally be the gift that keeps on giving. Looking at site search data one of the easiest ways to gauge what your customers/visitors are actually looking for on your website. this will allow you to better react and make key marketing decisions that will help your customers and your bottom line.
Correctly implemented and configured, web CMS platforms and Google Analytics can record customer searches. These days website platforms such as WordPress and Magento have some kind of internal Site search tracking built in. If your platform doesn’t, then there are usually lot’s of extensions or plugins that will add or enhance the ability to monitor what users search for.
Why Internal Site Search Data Is Important
Learning what people search for will give you key insight into:
- What your customers want.
- What content customers find it hard to find
- What your customers describe the product they seek.
- How many people use search, and why.
- Searcher types
Let’s split the searchers into 3 core searcher types and therefore different ways to deal with improving the customer journey for each
Default Tendency- AKA Lazy Search Monkeys
Some customers just use search as their first option. They often perform broad term searches such as ‘dresses’ or ‘men’s shoes’ etc.
There is a good chance that they are searching for something which is probably already well signposted via the main website navigation. They just choose to search.
The Well Informed Shopper
Most people don’t even notice product codes. However, Anyone who works in retail or ecommerce knows that product codes are a fantastic way to identify EXACTLY the product you seek.
Many websites have product codes, MPNs (Manufacturer Part number), barcodes or a unique code which the user might come to the site with. Especially with popular products, the EAN (International / European Article Number) is a great way to get fast product price comparisons across channels and find the best deal.
Novice Searcher & Frustrated Users
These people are the ones where your business is most at risk of losing the conversion. If users can’t find what they are looking for via the navigation, they often turn to search.
We’ve all done it right? You know what you want, you can’t find an obvious place in the navigation, the navigation is poor, the website is cluttered and you can’t be bothered to try and seek it out.
NB: These customers offer a golden opportunity. Check their searches and improve your website based on their searches.
Default Tendency Searches
Customers who use search as their first action when visiting a site can be annoying for you, because they are ignoring and bypassing your site layout, and asking a question without looking. Are you prepared for this?
Actions to take
Look at the list of search terms, where a search term is broad, make sure that you redirect that term to hit a relevant category landing page. This way users will arrive at a more relevant page, helping them to narrow their search.
Product Code Searches
Some customers, particularly tradespeople, may search by product codes. Other users may have simply researched the product and are seeking just that, they may search in this way because they are single-minded and efficient types.
Actions to take
Try to segment these users after checkout. Later you could email them, ask them to complete a questionnaire and offer a discount on upcoming purchases for completing it. This will help you to learn more about why they search this way.
Novice & Frustrated Searchers
If people can’t find what they are looking for quickly, there could be an issue with your navigation menus. Ask yourself:
- Is the navigation clear and simple?
- Are the products in the correct categories?
We often see products that are not even in a category, or they have been placed in the wrong category by accident.
Actions to take
It’s worth checking the search terms for exact products and making sure that matching products are located in the correct category.
Make sure that your navigation is simple to follow. Less is more. You want your navigation to be clear and obvious. Try to avoid duplication in your menu/nav bar as this leads to customer confusion, and worse, Google confusion.
Our research shows that taking action on the issues mentioned above have shown an uplift in conversions from 50 to 100%.
It’s easy to ignore internal search data, Many companies don’t even track it. Yet it really does offer you some low hanging fruit in terms of understanding user behaviour data.
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Phil Gregory, Digital Marketing Consultant and founder of Peak District SEO. He helps businesses make more money, using traditional Search engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, and paid advertising (PPC). Phil loves Real Ale & Fell Running.