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Internal Site Search | What is it and Why Does Your Business Need It?

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

TL;DR: What is site search? Site search is a search engine functionality that allows users to search for specific content within a website. An effective site search, as you’d get with HeyDay, uses AI to make it easier for customers to find what they're looking for, leading to increased satisfaction, engagement, user experience and conversions.

  • Site search is 1.8x more adequate at ensuring conversions.

  • People who use site search on eCommerce sites are at least 50% more likely to purchase products.

  • 84% of customers want to address their own problems using search engines.

A well-crafted site search function is similar to having a knowledgeable and enthusiastic concierge respond to your inquiries promptly and intelligently.

You get quick and vital answers to all pertinent questions at your fingertip. And you can make better buying decisions as well.

Not every website necessarily needs a site search, though. Yet, every eCommerce business owner looking to sustain user's attention in these times of overwhelming distraction and cut-throat competition must inculcate intelligent site search into their website's architecture.

You increase your conversion rate, minimize bounce rate, enhance brand loyalty, and reduce the marketing cost as your sales team won't have to be constantly responding to customer queries...the benefits are humongous!

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a moment to answer the fundamental questions.

What Is Site Search?

Site search is a search engine functionality that allows users to search for specific content within a website. It is essential because it helps site visitors quickly find the information they want on a website, improving their overall user experience and potentially reducing bounce rates.

Site search can also provide valuable insights into the needs and behavior of website visitors, which can inform website content strategy and improve search engine optimization. Unlike general web search engine tools such as Google, an on-site search focuses only on your website and any subdomains.

By continuously indexing content on your website, the on-site search system helps visitors and users find whatever they need.

An intelligent site search tool such as HeyDay also uses your buyers' behavior on your website to deliver valuable content to them and help you connect with your audience on the web.

Site Search: How Does it Work Exactly?

There are four vital components that make up an effective site search. These elements include:

  • Indexing,

  • Querying,

  • Data processing,

  • Results display.

If you craft these individual components well, you’d be sure your site visitors enjoy the overall experience of visiting your website. Again, these are not just a by-process of website development, as we’ve noted earlier. If customers cannot find vital information in a seamless, more harmonious way, how are they going to buy from you?

Having said all that, let’s take a look at the practical angles of the elements listed above.

The technicalities of site search involves:

#1: Indexing

In simple terms, indexing is the process of creating a marker of all the content on a website, including the text, metadata, and other information about each page. The search algorithm then uses this index to quickly search for and retrieve relevant information in response to a user's search query.

The marker is created by a search engine that crawls the website, analyzing the content and organizing it into a structured index.

This allows for faster and more efficient search results, as the search engine can quickly access the indexed information and return relevant results to the user.

In plain speech, before a buyer visits your website, your site search engine goes to work, taking account of your content to ensure when the buyer searches through your site, they can find what they need.

That content can be either a full blog post or just the most essential bits of metadata, such as a product title or categories.

#2: Querying

Querying is the act of submitting a search request to the search engine and receiving relevant results in response.

A query typically consists of one or more keywords or phrases entered by the user, which the search engine uses to identify relevant content in its index. The search engine then ranks the results based on relevance, popularity, and other criteria and returns a list of relevant results to the user.

The process of querying involves matching the keywords in the user's query with the indexed content and retrieving the relevant information from the index to generate the search results.

#3: Data Processing

Processing is a multi-layered micro-steps that search engines such as Google use to summon and analyze the data on a website to create an index for searching. It includes:

  • Crawling, where the search engine uses a web crawler to traverse the website and gather all the relevant information, such as the text, images, and metadata on each page.

  • Tokenization, in which the search engine breaks down the gathered information into smaller bites, like single words, phrases, and sentences, called tokens.

  • Indexing involves processing and storing the tokens in a structured index it uses to quickly search for relevant information.

  • Ranking the indexed content based on relevance, popularity, etc., to determine the order in which the results are displayed to the user.

  • Searching: When a user submits a search query, the search engine uses the indexed information to quickly retrieve the relevant content and generate the search results.

Search engines constantly perform these steps in order to ensure the indexed information remains up-to-date and accurate and that the search results are relevant and timely.

#4: Results Display

The display is the presentation of the search results to the user.

Before the search engine can present the final result to the user, it must take into account the following processes:

  • Relevance. First, it ranks the search results based on their relevance to the user's search query, with the most relevant results appearing first.

  • Popularity. The search engine could also rank users’ search results based on their popularity, such as the number of times viewers have seen or shared the content.

  • Freshness. Search results could also appear based on the freshness of the content, with more recent information appearing higher in the results.

  • Metadata. The search results may equally include additional information, such as the title, description, and URL of each page, to provide more context to the user.

  • User settings. Another factor that can influence search results is the user settings, such as the language, location, and search history of the user.

The goal of the results display is to present the most relevant and useful information to the user in a clear and concise way, as that can have a significant impact on the user's experience.

Why Is Site Search Crucial For Your Business?

Did you know that 43% of site visitors go directly to the search bar upon landing on your web page.

An excellent search framework is a goldmine for user data. Unfortunately, nearly 84% of companies don’t actively optimize or measure their on-site search, as industry analysis shows.

With HeyDay’s cost-effective AI-assisted search tool, you can extract essential customer insight that helps you serve your customers’ needs in ways you can’t possibly imagine.

In today’s complex, winner-takes-all game for consumers’ attention, a great search experience gives you an unfair advantage.

It helps you reduce marketing budget. And you also craft enhanced user experience, make your content better, intuit your buyer’s needs, rank better on search engines, and much more, as we’ll cover below.

Benefits of Site Search To eCommerce Businesses

Below are some crucial benefits of site search.

  • Enhanced Search Engine Optimization

You can have the best business strategy, the loftiest goals, and the best product category, but if no one knows about you, you’re nothing. SEO advantage is one significant way to win the race today.

With HeyDay’s intelligent search framework, you can excavate vital insights from your search results for faster, more accurate, and more relevant search experience and content – which reduces bounce rates and increases engagement on your site.

The increased eyeballs on your website mean search engines like Google will prioritize your site when folks search information in your vertical. And with such priority access to the market, you have even more data to further understand their needs, improve internal linking and promote a more intuitive site structure for category leadership.

That, my friend, is more money in your pocket.

  • Personalized User Experience

AI-assisted site search like HeyDay has become an essential tool for businesses in the digital age. The technology behind AI site search is revolutionizing the way users interact with websites, making it easier and faster to find the information relevant to them.

By using machine learning algorithms, the system can understand the user's behavior and preferences, giving them tailored results that match their needs. That leads to a more efficient and enjoyable search experience, increasing the chances of a user finding what they are looking for and making a purchase. Industry records show that 42% of site visitors get annoyed when information is generic and personalizing site searches generates up to 15% of extra revenue.

  • Increased Conversion Rates

One of the most critical aspects of AI-based site search is its ability to learn and adapt over time. As the system collects data on user behavior, it can continuously improve the accuracy and relevance of its results, leading to better conversion rates.

A well-designed site search is crucial for every eCommerce website, especially in these fast-paced times where customers' needs and preferences are constantly changing.

When customers can easily find the products they are looking for, they are more likely to complete a purchase. Site search eliminates the frustration that can come with trying to navigate a cluttered or confusing website, making it easier for customers to complete a purchase.

  • Access to Valuable Insights

Site search data can provide eCommerce businesses with valuable insights into what their customers are searching for, what products are popular, and what areas of the website need improvement.

Such intuitive information is vital to inform content and product strategy. They also help you optimize your website for search engines. More user insights, also means better KPI decisioning.

  • Enhances Customer Satisfaction

Marketing does not always mean pumping your hard-earned dollars down the advertisement pipe. With a more coherent, customer-centric product design, informed by user needs and concrete buyer's journey, you can craft your site in ways to turn visitors into active promoters.

A fast and effective site search is one crucial step in that direction, as it helps enhance customer satisfaction by providing quick and easy access to the products they are looking for. That also increases customer loyalty and repeat purchases, as customers are more likely to return to a website that provides.

Plus, you spend less money on customer support teams and marketing.

Keyword Search vs. AI-assisted Search

Using a basic website search is not such a terrible thing. Customers could get results when there’s a match between query keywords and content metadata.

For example, suppose your eCommerce store deals in tops. If someone visits your website to search for T-shirts, a basic search may return a list of every cataloged t-shirt, irrespective of style, brand, or size.

The visitor then has to sort through the maze to fill their need.

With an AI-based search tool like HeyDay, you can provide a superior search experience.

  1. It uses natural language processing (NLP) techniques to understand the meaning behind the user's search query rather than just matching keywords. That way, the search results are more relevant to the user's intent, even if the keywords used in the query are not an exact match to the content.

  2. It’s able to understand the context of the search query, such as the user's location, preference, and previous search history, which enables it to deliver more personalized and relevant results.

  3. The system can automatically correct spelling mistakes and typos, ensuring that the user is able to find the information they need, even if they make a mistake in their search query.

  4. By recognizing synonyms and related terms, the search results will include relevant information, even if the user uses a different word or phrase to describe what they are looking for.

  5. More so, it delivers more relevant and accurate results and provides a better user experience, as it helps users find the information they need more quickly and easily.

Typing into a search box looks like a no-brainer. But indexing all that vital, searchable content takes deliberate effort and consideration. Hence, picking a search platform that works for your business model is essential.

What to Consider When Choosing A Site Search Platform

Now that you understand why you must have a smart search function on your website, what should you look for when evaluating prospective search tools?

Here are some recommendations:

  1. Relevance: It’s not enough to say you have a smart search tool. The service should be able to deliver accurate and relevant results to the user's queries.

  2. Display speed: The search results should be delivered quickly to the user. The average user gets distracted if search results take longer than 10 seconds.

  3. Customizability: The service provider should offer customization options to tailor the search results to the specific needs of your business or application.

  4. Scalability: Can the search tool handle bigger queries as your business scales? The service provider should be able to handle large amounts of data and scale to meet the demands of a growing clientele.

  5. User Experience: The user-friendly interface should be intuitive to ensure less friction and make it easy for users to search for information and find what they need quickly.

  6. Integration: If you have to spend more money to make the service integration compatible with your platform, it makes no sense at all. The provider should offer easy integration options with other applications and systems to help streamline your workflow.

  7. Pricing: Consider the cost of the service and ensure it fits within your budget as well.

  8. Technical Support: Technical support is crucial to assist with any questions or issues that may arise during the use of their service.

If you can tick these boxes, then look at the security protocols to ensure there are no backdoors that can put your infrastructure in jeopardy. ISO, SOC compliance are ideal.

In the end, every step of the customer journey is crucial.

If the product discovery touchpoint is poorly constructed, the rest of the process might not yield many benefits.

Rather than being an afterthought, site search should be a central focus point in the entire process, as it directly affects the customer experience and can have a significant impact on sales and conversions. A poor site search experience can lead to frustration and decreased engagement, resulting in lost business.

An effective site search, as you’d get with HeyDay, makes it easier for customers to find what they're looking for, leading to increased satisfaction, engagement, and conversions.

Why not join leading businesses using heyday to make their lives easier?


About the Author

Tom-Chris Emewulu is HeyDay’s Digital Evangelist. With 8+ years of digital marketing and business development experience, he crafts high-intent, high-converting, data-driven SEO articles that put brands on page 1 of Google search. Forbes, DW, Business Insider, Businessss2Community, and many other publications have featured his works. You can find him on Social Media via @tomchrisemewulu.


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