3 On-Site Search Optimization Lessons Learned from Google

Jun 20, 2016

SEO and site search

Search engine optimization is a top priority for most businesses these days. Organizations across all industries are focused on creating relevant content, optimizing page elements and following SEO best practices in an effort to "get to the top of Google." 

Unfortunately, too many online retailers and online publishers ignore the principles of search engine optimization when it comes to making it easy for visitors to find relevant content on their website. There's little benefit to making your content easy to find in Google and difficult to find once a visitor clicks through from the search engine results page to your site if it's difficult for them to continue their research once they get there.

We know that consumers use Google and Bing in the initial stages of the purchase path, but not everyone recognizes that they use on-site search as the progress through the funnel. With every query, their intent to purchase grows stronger. Here are a few stats to think about:
  • Over 40% of visitors immediately go to the search box. 
  • Over 40% of users who purchase from a website used site search (they are 2-3 times more likely to convert than browsers).
  • 80% of visitors will abandon a site after a poor search experience.
  • 95% of searchers stay on the first page of search results (just like on Google).

What We Can Learn From Google

  1. Relevancy is Key — Content may be king, but only if it helps your visitors answer questions and make decisions. Modern site search technologies utilize advanced algorithms and machine learning to track individual search and browsing behavior to understand intent and deliver relevant results. (See our blog post to dive deeper into this idea.)
  2. Personalization is an expectation — While most online shoppers are not aware of just how much Google (and Amazon) personalize search results, they've come to expect it. 
  3. Data matters — If you have messy data, Google won't find your site relevant, you're going to have clean and reliable on-site search results, and shoppers are going to abandon their search. This negative downward spiral can be avoided!

Google or Bing's search engine results page is only the beginning of the customer experience. 

Does your on-site search experience measure up to consumer expectations?