In today’s market, online search has become muscle memory. We don’t think about how to find information; we automatically begin entering words into a search box and expect to be presented with whatever we’re searching. This tendency to search for anything and everything we desire to know is precisely why the search box needs to be optimized. It’s not surprising that buyers make it more than 70% of the way through the buying cycle before engaging with one of your sales reps.
In this post, we’ve outlined five simple, yet often overlooked, ways to improve your search box.
Make It Prominent
Don’t make visitors search for the search box. One option is to place it at the top right corner of every page, as people have grown accustomed to looking there first. Another popular and user-friendly trend is placing it in the center, just under your site header.
Keep It Simple
Make sure your visitors know your search box is your search box! A common practice is to mark the box with a magnifying glass icon. You can also include some guidance as a “watermark” in your search box by adjusting the search box component parameters that come in the search box view.
Don’t confuse your visitors with multiple search options on a single page. If you want to offer a larger search box on specific pages of your site, make sure to hide the site’s main search box in the header of all site pages.
Make It Smart
Make it easy for visitors by placing the active cursor on the search box when they first enter the site (your frequent visitors will appreciate this).
As soon as visitors start typing, suggest queries with keywords from your taxonomy or based upon queries often performed by others. You can also recommend specific content as they type. Suggested content helps visitors quickly narrow their results, especially in cases where they may be less familiar with your products or services.
If a visitor mistypes a search query, make sure your search engine does not return a “No Results” message. Instead, direct them to a search results page, and display suggested search results or offer “did you mean” options.
Test and Adapt
Regularly A/B test your search box for location, behavior, and other best practices. The right intelligent search solution will provide you with the analytics you need to evaluate search performance.
Regularly monitor your results page. Results pages need to be as compelling as the rest of the website. Web design too often neglects the results page, but for many, poor design and overwhelming results leads to higher exit rates after the search.
Break Out of the Search Box
The traditional search box may be where site search begins, but it’s not where it ends. Voice-integrated products, chatbots, and virtual assistants are all examples of tools that essentially create search queries. Consumers’ interactions with a brand are no longer separate incidents but are all part of one ongoing experience. This concept is often referred to as “the unified layer of relevance.” And only with this unified layer of relevance, powered by artificial intelligence, can you deliver the level of personalization and site search expected by consumers.
Download our guide Top Tips To Boost Conversions With Personalized Site Search for more insights!