Optimize the Search Feature on Your Site for 57.25% More Leads
- Website visitors that use the search function only account for 13.8% of traffic, but they do bring in 43% higher conversions.
- 42% of websites lump search function optimization in with other types of tasks, while 56.9% of businesses don’t use search data for marketing purposes.
- Replacing the open-ended standard search bar with 2 drop-down menus brought a Brazilian real estate agency 57.25% more email leads.
You don’t need us to tell you that Site Search sells. But you probably do need us to remind you that, if you don’t optimize the search feature on your site, you’re basically throwing cash out the window.
Here are some quick facts, just in case you need a primer:
- up to 30% of eCommerce website visitors use the internal search feature;
- search users convert up to 43% better than non-searchers;
- searchers can account for as much as 13.8% of income;
- even though less than 10% of visitors search the site, they can make up for almost 40% of revenue.
Image source: eConsultancy
The sad truth: You’re probably ignoring Site Search
With all that massive amount of evidence pointing to the importance of site search, it’s almost uncanny how many digital marketers are ignoring it.
Need more facts on the oversight that Site Search suffers from? There you go:
- only 15% of companies invest in optimizing website search;
- 42% of companies include search in a wider category of responsibilities;
- another 42% of companies completely ignore search;
- only 7% of companies are mining search data;
- 9% of companies don’t use any search data for marketing purposes.
Why are so many marketers and otherwise responsible business figures ignoring search? Here are your answers:
Image source: SLI
The thing is setting up Site Search in Google Analytics is simply a matter of finding the right tab and then toggling the right buttons from ‘Off’ to ‘On’. The point of this post is to help you optimize the search feature on your eCommerce store, boost conversions, and learn from others’ experiences.
3 solutions to optimize site search
1. Focus on the Search bar
Pro tip: if site visitors can’t find your search bar, they’re not very likely to use it. Here’s what a home décor company did as early as 2008:
Image source: Conversion XL
What they did:
- 72% pixel size increase
- centred search bar
- new Call to Action: ‘Go’ replaced ‘Find’
- more colourful Search bar
The results: 20% more conversions and 84% higher revenues from search-using customers.
2. Show plenty of filtering options on the results page
Below, you’ll find a standard example of search results from popular online fashion retailer Asos. The eCommerce giant seems to understand that the search results page is exactly where the user decides if they stay on-page or head out to a competitor.
The results below are for the ‘cleated sole’ search term. You can further refine the results by a myriad of options, starting with the typical ones (gender and type), but expanding into style, price range, colour, and loads more.
Image source: Asos
The takeaway: Today’s eCommerce buyers expect to be able to refine their results based on numerous criteria, until they par them down to what they’re actually looking for. Let them swim in options and choices and you’ll soon see them head out to your direct competition.
3. Remove and improve results
All right, so you’ve set up Site Search in Analytics and now you’re getting a clearer view as to the queries which come up blank and ultimately drive traffic off your website. A natural question arises:
Is there any way I can improve my search results for queries that come up blank?
The answer is a definite ‘yes’, but there are several methods you can implement. The basic one, outlined by Google’s Head of Spam Matt Cutts, is to display ‘related products’ or ‘temporarily out of stock’, if you plan on restocking the product in the future.
Also look for ‘Refined Keyword’ in Analytics—this will give you a clear picture on how to improve product meta-tags. For larger stores, you can try working with SearchSpring, SearchNode, or even the Marketing Cloud solution from Adobe. They all make delivering related products easier.
Case study: Standard Search vs Drop-Down Search Menus
Finally, let’s have a look at a real-life example: a Brazilian real estate agency, based in one city, with 8 offices scattered around town. Initially, they implemented a standard search box, which they eventually tested against two drop-down forms—one for apartment type and the other for location.
Image source: VWO
The goal of the split URL test, served to 7,500 visitors, was to see which variant got more email sign-ups. The variation beat the control, with a total of 57.25% more leads. Presumably, the less open-ended search function gave visitors a clearer path through the conversion funnel.