Site search vs. Google search – which is better?

Many website owners feel that these are the same. They may include Google’s on-site search solution, without realizing there are big differences between the two. Those differences can impact the user experience. And they can have a big impact on user engagement, user retention, and the bottom line.

In this article, we’ll explain the differences between in-site search solutions and Google’s on-site search box.

Site Search vs. Google Search

According to the marketing research firm Econsultancy, up to 30% of site visitors will use the site search box. That means that 30% of your visitors could be demonstrating purchase intent. As we’ll see below, this information has big implications for the user experience and the bottom line.

But is there a real difference when it comes to site search vs. Google search?

There is.

Google search operates just like the search engine does when adding the “sitename” operator to a query. Therefore, Google’s in-site search will use the same algorithm and dataset when delivering results.

There are several problems with this:

  • Website owners have no control over the search algorithm.
  • The search algorithm itself may change, which can impact the results that users receive.
  • Website owners can’t prioritize content, products, pages, and so forth.

Although Google’s on-site search tool works, it doesn’t offer the same benefits as an in-site search solution:

  • In-site search tools give you control over the search algorithm.
  • You can prioritize whatever content you wish in the results.
  • Since you can customize the search experience, analytics are even more powerful and can have an even bigger impact on your bottom line.

In-site search can even be monetized. Site search solutions such as SiteFuel and SearchFuel, both offered by CodeFuel, allow website owners to earn revenue with every search.

The first solution, SiteFuel, delivers results inside a visually appealing search grid. Revenue comes from recommended content and ads, which add more value to the user since they are tailored to search queries.

The in-site search solution SearchFuel works similarly, with a traditional search experience. Website owners can easily embed the box into their website, then earn a search revenue share with every query.

Why Site Search Is So Important

Today, in-site searches are becoming more common than ever. In fact, the larger the site, the bigger the role that site search plays in the user experience. Many times, in-site search is itself a go-to navigation tool.

In large websites, the search box is the first go-to navigation method people use to find what they’re looking for. On ecommerce sites, for instance, many customers would rather type in a specific product than delve through countless menus.

Other sites also make heavy use of search boxes:

  • Knowledge bases
  • Support websites
  • Wikis
  • Content-rich websites and blogs
  • Media outlets

The more content you have – whether it comes in the form of products or articles – the more you need an in-site search solution that works.

Here are the major benefits you get when you implement the right in-site search solution:

  • In-site searches indicate search intent. This allows ecommerce sites to find out what products are popular and which aren’t.
  • Searchers are buyers. A study from Econsultancy suggested that visitors who use search can be as much as 50% more likely to buy than those who don’t…all the more reason to have a custom on-site search tool.
  • Search data offers insight into customer needs. The right data will tell you what customers want from your business and your website. With this information in hand, you can turn around and offer it to them.
  • Searches tell you about site usability. Search is critical to your site. But if users are searching at the expense of other navigation tools, you may need to make some changes to your information architecture.
  • The search algorithm and search results can be optimized. When you can promote your own content, products, or services, you can influence customers. This is ideal for any website owner or business.
  • The right search solution increases engagement and retention. The right search tool improves the user experience – the wrong one can increase bounce rates. The longer that users stay on your site to view content, the more they are engaged and the greater the chance they have of becoming long-term customers.
  • A better user experience means a better profit margin. Ultimately, search solutions will have a direct impact on your bottom line. The better the search tool, the better the impact on the user experience and the profit margin.

Every search optimization tool is different. Some are geared towards analytics and some are designed to put money in your pocket.

Regardless of which search tool you choose, it’s important to recognize the benefits of site search vs. Google search. From increased user engagement to increased profit margins, site search offers many benefits that you just can’t get from Google’s tool.