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Have an onsite search strategy?

site search

Do you have an onsite search strategy?

By Shaun Ryan, CEO, SLI Systems. March 2010

In our line of work, we’re talking to retailers locally and overseas on a daily basis and what we’re hearing more and more is that improving site search results pages is a major focus for 2010. It seems a growing number of retailers are realising that a little fine-tuning goes a long way when it comes to offering quality site search and browsing capabilities on an e-commerce website, and I’m very pleased to hear this.


It’s no surprise that retailers are prioritising site search improvements though, when research shows that people who use site search convert at 2-3 times the rate of those who don’t. These are compelling facts and something retailers cannot ignore.


So where are you at with your site search strategy? All Australian retailers need one and it must be comprehensive and effective. For example, retailers should no longer be viewing their search box as simply a nice option to have on their website. Instead, site search is a critical tool that has a profound impact on conversions if it is done right.


To help us get back to basics and refresh our approach to site search, here are a few tips for ways you can improve your site search today:


Location, location

Position your search box ‘above the fold’ or high up on your website so that it’s easy to find. Like I said before, people who search are twice or three times as likely to convert so make the box easy to find. Also, you should place the search box on every page. Some retailers only offer the search box on the home page which means it’s inconveniently placed for visitors happy to browse your site in the first instance but then looking to search once they’re a few pages in.


Test drive

Try different positions for your search box and identify which locations generate more traffic. We’ve had customers test different places for their search boxes with very interesting results. Certain locations are better than others and by increasing the search box size and using bold colours, you can expect to see substantial improvement in its use and potentially in your revenue.


Make a suggestion

Search topics or products that are hard to articulate can often yield ‘no results’ pages for your site visitors. So I recommend you provide suggestions as they type in search terms. Your visitors will already be familiar with this feature since it’s used on Google, Yahoo and a growing number of other sites. This can be a really easy way of reducing spelling errors and helping your visitors formulate their queries.


These are just a few of the fast and effective ways to improve the overall user experience of your website and I hope you’ve found them useful. But if you’re looking for more information and tips perhaps check out the Big Book of Site Search Tips. (link to:

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