Internal Search Checklist

The rise of Internet search engines can be credited with the growing demand for fast, easy-to-use search. Similarly, shoppers who are now comfortable searching the web are demanding faster, easier-to-use and relevant site search. When implemented correctly, site search can have a dramatic, positive impact on business. For example, research from MarketingSherpa showed that site search users are almost three times more likely to convert than those who don’t. Practical E-commerce says good search can easily increase conversions by 100%.

An effective site search solution can also be a gold mine of information. It can provide useful data about the terms people are entering in your search box and which search terms are successful or not. This information can be used to improve the overall user experience, as well as other areas of your marketing – including merchandising, paid search and SEO.

Some Basic Tips that you probably haven’t thought about:

  • Visitors don’t have the patience to look for the search box, so keeping it at the top of the page makes it easy to spot and less likely that people will leave your site.
  • It’s important to design the size of your search box to meet the needs of your site visitors, so make sure your search box is large enough to contain most search phrases.
  • Make sure the search box is distinctive from other input boxes.
  • Test different positions for the search box, and note which positions generate the most search traffic. In general, top right works best.
  • Placing a search box on every page of your site will make it easier for visitors to find the search box and use it wherever they are, without having to click back to find it on the home page.
  • It is a good idea to include text in your search box to help visitors recognize and use your site search.
  • Label your search button “Search,” “Find,” or “Go,” or use an icon.
  • display a clue like “Search by Keyword or Item #” or an image in the search box, use JavaScript to make the clue disappear as soon as people click in the box and begin typing
  • If a visitor presses the search button without typing any text into the search box, prompt them, or show them the most popular products on your site.
  • Allow people to search by hitting the “Enter” key so you don’t force visitors to click the “Search” button.
  • Add autocomplete – This feature suggests possible terms when visitors start typing the first letters of a keyword. Rich autocomplete takes it to the next level by showing products in the search bar.
  • Test out a floating search box.

Search Results tips

  • Consistent look and feel on and off the search page.
  • Speedy delivery of the search results
  • AJAX removed the need for the page to reload – this speed reduction could easily cause a conversion lift.
  • Keep the search term within the search box.
  • Show a breadcrumb trail – helps users understand how they came to that page.
  • Store your user’s search history for personalisation
  • Don’t show too many results
  • Test infinite scrolling
  • Show search suggestions based on searches that converted.
  • Test grid versus list views
  • Highlight the first result
  • Present various sorting options – eg, Popular, Top Rated, Price, On Sale
  • Use quick view windows so that users can obtain more information without leaving the search page
  • Show Ratings & Reviews, social buttons and the ability to buy from search.