What is site search?

Whether you’re a content publisher, an ecommerce site, or whether you simply have a large website, you need to what it is, how to use it, and why it matters.

What Is Site Search?

Everyone knows what Google is. It’s a search engine that crawls the web, retrieves web content, and delivers the results in a list.

Web search is very similar to site search.

Site search is a search engine that focuses entirely on a single website. These site search tools are common, and can be found on many sites throughout the web. The next time you visit your favorite media outlet or shopping site, keep your eye out for a search box or a magnifying glass.

On some sites, search is more prominent than on others. Ecommerce sites, for example, use search as a primary navigation tool. It makes sense for shoppers to use a search tool rather than attempt to wade through countless menus and submenus to find products.

Why Site Search Matters

As site size grows, so does the necessity for site search. So content publishers, wikis, and large websites can also benefit from site search tools.

Site search, therefore, forms a critical part of the website user interface. Usability relies on it. The better the search, the better the user experience.

When users can’t find what they’re looking for, however, bounce rate increases, engagement decreases, and the bottom line is affected. Whether you’re selling products or whether content is your revenue engine, you need to have a site search solution that helps your users.

Who Should Use Site Search

For some sites, site search may be too powerful or irrelevant.

These are the sites that will make the most from a site search solution:

  • Content-Rich Websites – Media outlets, big blogs, and other content-heavy websites should have a site search component on board. There is still plenty of room for other navigation tools, such as related content widgets and menus. But site search plays a huge role in the site’s usability.
  • Ecommerce Sites – Ecommerce sites stand to lose a lot if visitors bounce. Frustration at poor usability is a chief cause for low user retention and high bounce rates. The right site search can pay for itself in dividends by improving retention, increasing conversions, and elevating customer satisfaction.
  • Knowledgebases – A knowledgebase or a help site cuts support staff costs and improves customer relations. For these sites, search tools are often the primary means of navigation, so it’s critical to have one on board. An offsite provider, such as Google, isn’t a good choice, since it may not even index much – if any – of the site’s articles.
  • Forums – Forums are also go-to information sources for many visitors. Many members enjoy browsing and interacting with forum members. But if visitors are searching for specific information, they need to use a search tool. Forums and other sites that are updated regularly, such as classifieds, need internal search engines, since external search engines will often index small portions of these sites.

Regardless of your business, the right search solution can improve your users’ experience and put money in your pocket.

However, not all site search solutions are created equal…

What to Look for in a Site Search Solution

There are a variety of in-site search providers on the market.

What should you look for when shopping around?

On the surface, you may think that all on-site search is created equal. Since Google provides its own in-site search solution, many opt with the world’s largest tech engine. But Google’s in-site search tool doesn’t offer all same benefits offered by other site search providers.

Here’s what to look for when shopping for site search providers:

  • Analytics – Analytics and search data tell you what your users are searching for. More importantly, it offers insight into their intent. On ecommerce sites, it tells you what they’re shopping for. On content sites, it tells you what content they want. This helps you better meet their needs and improve your site design.
  • Customization – With the right search solution, you can customize your search tool as needed. You can prioritize content, serve ads, change the algorithm, and alter the design. The more you can control, the more you can tailor the search box to meet your customers’ needs.  
  • Design – Design is becoming more important than ever. Today, online content needs to be visually rich and concise. The more eye-catching it is, the better. 
  • Functionality – In other words, you need a search engine that works. Older site search solutions may not work well or may deliver irrelevant content, which is a sure way to decrease engagement and increase bounce rates.
  • Monetization – Monetization may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of site search. But if you want to make more money – as every business does – you should investigate site search solutions that are monetized, such as SiteFuel and SearchFuel.