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Things you need to know about on-site search

At a certain point, every SEO will experience the content paradox – this means the more quality content your website has, the more convenient it is, and also the more challenging it becomes to find that content. Not every article, product, or other content pieces can have its submenu. And not every visitor will be happy to spend the time to go through the different category.

Your visitors are looking for a particular topic, service, product, or category. These users look for a site search box immediately. According to SEO Expert Joel House, an on-site search is an essential yet underrepresented and undervalued tactic in the SEO industry.

An on-site search for any website is the digital equivalent of a helpful and passionate librarian. You type what you’re looking for, and it shows you related options speedily. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about on-site search.

On-Site Search Tools

Thanks to a variety of tools, you can get a site search right out of the box – from open sources alternatives and more focused software as a service to the enterprise, website search solutions. Most e-Commerce platforms and content management systems will come with a basic search in-built functionality, which you can further enhanced with plugins.

Also, most CMS and e-Commerce platforms will have rudimentary search functionality in-built, which can be further boosted with plugins. No matter your chosen platform, here is a list of best practice functionality, the on-site search should be able to accommodate.

On-Site Search Box Usability

We have all thumb on a mobile screen into a tiny search box that produces no useful result. Unfortunately, there is no one right interface for the on-site search box. Having said that, there are a few best practices you can follow.

Make the search box visible: The placement of your search box will have a significant impact on its usage rate. While there is no position for all sites, most site users usually look for the website search box in the top middle or top right corner on the desktop.

Have a clear call-to-action: The best on-site search experience starts with the form itself. The function of the search box should be visible immediately. Usually, you can achieve this by combining a text timely with a magnifying glass symbol and/or a button labeled ‘Find” or ‘Search.” Within the search box field, you can use placeholder text to guide the users about what they can do on the website.

Improve incomplete entry: Users won’t type your idea of an ideal keyword. So, you must adapt your search function not only to the terminologies but also; its unavoidable failings.

Predictive search inspires input: Predictive search engages user’s right from the first characters input by displaying result suggestions.

Internal Search Result Page Usability

Provide search results quickly

The speed at which a page load is always significant and the same goes for on-site search. Google’s research shows that people search less if search results are slowed by a fraction of a second. If your website is going to take more than a second to deliver results, show a useful animation or progress indicator to distract the user.

Restate the search query

On-site search result visualization can be just as vital as the results themselves. It is upsetting to be on a company’s website, search, and land on a page that looks as if you are on a Google SERP. Your website search result should follow the same style as your site’s category pages. They could include call-to-action buttons, user-focused titles, headings, images, and other rich details.

Improve result relevancy with semantic search

Returning several search results can frustrate your visitors, who may begin to wonder why they bothered using the on-site search. A more sophisticated approach of a semantic search analysis the intent behind a query and the context. Such applications produce more relevant results, particularly for a complex or lengthy query.

Leverage a search within search

If you have a broad query and it returns multitude listings, it is better to help your site user refine results by offering relevant sorting and filtering options. On the contrary, if the facets converse within the search query, an enhanced on-site search will break down the search word(s) and automatically apply filters to give users easy options.

Leverage the “no results” page

If you genuinely have no relevant content, try to handle it more professionally than the usually ‘No results found” message. If users believe you don’t have what they want, they’ll leave — making it less likely for them to engage your site in the future.

You can state there is no result available and suggest a valuable option or next step. This could be in the form of broader matching content, contextual category links, and details to contact support or alternative search suggestions.

On-Site Search Best Practices

Several times, user on-site search experience testing is limited to a quick check that it appears on the desktop and mobile, and it delivers results when a basic query is entered. However, a search box doesn’t really matter if the results don’t help the user.

On-site search user experience is more than the interface alone; having a highly functional on-site search is better than just having the one that gives your user a false impression.

As such, on-site search experience testing should be thorough to ensure both accurate and relevant results. Here are the summaries of certain practices you should keep in mind.

  • The search box has a reasonable width and significantly placed on all relevant pages.
  • The on-site search box provides predictive search suggestions based on query intent
  • Search box essentially prompts user action through placeholder text, buttons, and iconography.
  • Search result pages provide a relevant filter for extensive queries
  • Search function accommodates numbers, misspellings, casings, synonyms, and other variants.
  • Search result pages provide rich experience while restating the search query.
  • Search function shows results for informational related keywords and all types of documents.
  • Search results pages use semantic search analyses to make sure all the relevant results are shown
  • Search results pages provide multiple facet searches.


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