“User journey” is an idea that describes the experiences of one user on a website for one session, in pursuit of some goal. It’s significant in web design because it offers a narrative way of thinking about site structure and functionality.
When building their online presence and developing their SEO strategies, most businesses take the user journey into account. It’s a big idea with many different parts, but the part we’re looking at today is the utilization of on-site search.
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Visitors who use the search bar on your site are more likely to convert into a customer. It helps convert potential buyers who already know what they’re looking for. With auto-complete, it can suggest relevant products that a visitor might not have thought of. The search queries are data you can track, which can only help your SEO strategy. Moreover, whenever a visitor types in something that gets no results, that gives you valuable information about user behaviors you can optimize for in the future.
At Coalition Technologies, we help companies build game-changing on-site search functionality. Here’s a more in-depth look at five ways this can help your website:
1. It Will Give Visitors What They Want
One of your top digital goals should always be to always provide your customers with the best and most efficient user journey possible. You need to understand what consumers want to achieve this, and, as the data shows, many people want to be able to browse your website quickly and easily.
Per a study conducted by SAP, among those who were asked to give the top features and functions they want most from suppliers, 60 percent said they want enhanced search functionality.
As a study conducted by Baymard concluded, “On-site search was found to be the preferred product-finding strategy of the test subjects, as they perceived it to be faster than category navigation.”
This is especially important in the age of the smartphone: Per Baymard, the majority of people use on-site search when browsing on a mobile device.
2. It Can Increase Your Revenue
If users can’t figure out how to get what they want through your homepage content or your site’s navigation menu, they’re probably going to look for a place to conduct an on-site search. According to a report authored by Econsultancy, 30 percent of consumers will perform on-site searches.
But, if your site is not equipped to intuitively direct the respective user to the desired page, product, or service, you are going to frustrate them. And, they’ll ‘back-click’ out of your site and visit a competitor’s instead, costing you revenue!
If your on-site search is effective, however, you should see steady, demonstrable improvements in the user journey. By comparing revenue earned from those who performed on-site searches against those who didn’t, Econsultancy found that people who performed on-site searches generated more revenue overall.
Moreover, those who use the on-site search feature are twice as likely to convert. They’re also more likely to revisit your site with the intent of buying your products.
Put simply, a well-crafted on-site search feature will enhance the user journey, and, in turn, make you money.
3. It Can Give You a Leg Up on Your Competition
The data is clear: Most companies are not investing much time in their website’s on-site search feature. This is a mistake—one you should take advantage of moving forward.
Econsultancy found that just seven percent of company respondents said mobile site search is “very much” part of their plans, and that a mere 10 percent had a person or a team dedicated to this subject. Amazingly, 52 percent are not doing anything to improve their on-site search or are “not really doing anything.” And only 41 percent said that this tool is “on the radar.”
Additionally, when presented with the free-form question of “What is the single biggest obstacle to improving you or your site search?” the most common response was “Lack of knowledge and experience.”
In other words: the vast majority of your competitors don’t know enough about on-site search, and they aren’t giving it the commitment it deserves.
“Unfortunately, search is almost entirely broken on most mobile e-commerce sites in practice,” Baymard’s team noted. “This comes as little surprise, as we’ve already documented how severely desktop E-Commerce Search misaligns with users’ search behavior.”
Baymard also found that 70% of (desktop) e-commerce search implementations are unable to return relevant results for product-type synonyms, which means users have to type whatever it is they want in the same way you’ve written it. And a third can’t handle simple misspellings.
This, of course, can stop the user journey dead in its tracks. However, if you do your due diligence and learn how to use user behavior to drive your e-commerce search strategies, you’ll have a significant advantage.
4. It Can Lead to Valuable Insights Through Analytical Research
Every business with an online presence should be harnessing the power that analytics has to offer. One crucial piece of information you can evaluate is your on-site search results.
As you delve into these numbers, ask yourself some key questions about the relationship between the user journey and the analytics. What are your customers and potential customers searching for? How can you use those results to better understand what people want and improve your product strategy? How often do people receive a “zero results” page, and what exactly are they seeking when they are left without any answers?
Every business can utilize Google Analytics to parse your on-site search results. Using data-driven analysis in this manner can lead to some crucial insights about customer behavior, your site’s functionality, and the quality of your current blueprint.
Contact Coalition Technologies Today
Optimized on-site search is one of the many services that we offer at Coalition Technologies when you sign up for our SEO services. With us on your team, you’re not on your own. You don’t have to know the best practices or keep track of these countless little details.
So if you want to improve the user journey for your customers, and you want to do it to the standards of one of the best SEO firms in the business, Coalition Technologies has the resources and dedication to help. If you have questions about our on-site search services or need a quote, call us today at (310) 736-2327.