It seems like every time you turn around, the world of on-site search technology is evolving. The thought leaders at Hawksearch work continuously to provide our customers with the most effective and powerful search tool available on the market today. While the advances in on-site search continue to progress, there are a number of key industry terms that never seem to go out of style. Having a good grasp on some of these words and their definitions will be a great help to anyone interested in keeping up with the advances in on-site search technology.

Relevancy

This is one of the key concepts in successful search today. When looking up the definition of the word “relevant”, it means the quality or state of being closely connected. This definition perfectly describes the expectations of modern on-site searchers. When a website visitor types in a query into the search box, they want to receive back results that are closely connected to the products or information they want to see. The more relevant search results are to the information the visitor is supplying, the greater the chance of conversion.

Personalization

Personalization and relevance are closely related. In fact, you could say that they are siblings. Site visitors today want to see search results that are custom selected just for them. Online users today expect that their search results will speak specifically to them as individuals. Search tools now have a number of ways to personalize results such as visitor targeting, machine learning, known purchasing history and demographic/zip code information. Making search results more personal inspires site visitors to transition from shoppers to buyers.

User Segmentation

This concept is directly related to search relevance and personalization. User segmentation is based on the idea that search results are more effective because you can tailor fit those results to a targeted audience. For example, let’s say you have 2 searchers looking for black, winter jackets. One person is in Chicago during January and the other is in Miami. User segmentation is the ability for a search tool to show a lighter, shorter jacket to the person in Miami, but then show several variations of heavy, longer coats to the person freezing in Chicago. In this case, the location of the site visitor is the “user segment” and utilizing such data can have a great impact on conversion – in this case, purchasing a jacket.

Conversion

This is the goal of nearly every ecommerce or information based website. Simply put, to convert means to make a purchase or take a desired step. With ecommerce sites, practically all marketing and technological efforts are aimed at convincing a person to convert from a mere visitor to a buyer. For information based websites, a conversion could be defined as a visitor filling out a desired form or taking another type of action that fulfills the purpose of the site’s marketing goals. Converting a site visitor into a buyer or taking a desired, meaningful action step are accomplishments that all websites are hoping to achieve.

Boost

Boosting or sometimes known as Boost & Bury rules provide website marketers the ability to influence site visitors’ search results by either highlighting or hiding certain products or clusters of information. An ecommerce retailer for example, may want to boost only the products they currently have in stock and consequently minimize (or bury) the items that are unavailable for immediate delivery. Boost & Bury rules still allow visitors’ search results to be relevant and personalized, but the technology gives website administrators the ability to focus results for more positive outcomes.

Autocomplete

This feature found within Hawksearch provides a great help to search box users by completing their searches for them. Autocomplete takes the burden away from site visitors by predicting what they are searching for and making it easier for them to find it. This feature utilizes machine learning prediction technology in order to know what a site visitor is trying to find, within just a few keystrokes. Autocomplete contributes to the personalization process by making the visitor feel as though the website is in tune with their needs. In addition, the technology helps minimize any keyboarding mistakes a searcher might make, which is a very effective way to avoid shopping disappointment.

Synonyms

Synonyms allow website marketers the ability to enter alternative phrases or words into the search engine data base, which helps return relevant search results. Not every site visitor uses the same words to describe the things they want to find. Customizable synonym lists enable Hawksearch to cast the widest search net possible, by making sure that site shoppers don’t miss any relevant search results just because they didn’t describe what they were looking for in the most accurate fashion. The synonyms feature greatly increases the chance of conversion, as it maximizes the probability that site visitors who use alternative phrasing will still be able to receive back quality and personalized search results.

Recommendations Tool

This technology enables on-site search tools to have the ability to provide suggestions of alternative products to shoppers that have a strong probability of conversion. Items that are recommended through this tool have a strong chance of conversion because their inclusion on landing pages is based on known data about specific shoppers. The recommendations tool harnesses the power of “suggestive selling” by organizing alternative buying options under such headers as “more like this” and “also viewed”. Giving site shoppers more products to choose from can play an important role in increasing sales both in terms of dollars and number of products sold.