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Best Practices for On-Site Search for SEO & User Experience

A key component of how visitors interact with your website is on-site search, which is more than just a search box. An on-site search feature is essential, regardless of how simple your website is to use or how well-designed the user experience (UX) is. Visitors to your website expect a simple, fast way to locate what they’re looking for. An integral part of how visitors interact with your website is on-site search, which is more than just a search box. The standard has been set very high by Google, and today’s users want faultless search results. It implies that your site’s search function must produce pertinent results else visitors may leave and you may miss out on prospective customers. How therefore can you ensure that your site search aids in turning visitors into paying customers? On-site search recommended practices are included below, along with information on how the data may help your SEO efforts and a fix for the associated SEO hazards.

On-Site Search Best Practices

Is adding a search widget to your website sufficient? I guess not quite. If the search tool falls short of consumer expectations, it starts to work against rather than for customers. It implies that you have now created a barrier between people and the goods they wish to purchase from you. Seven excellent practices for introducing an on-site search to your website are listed below.

1. Search Box Placement

Your search bar needs to be simple to locate. Nobody will navigate to your website’s footer to look for it. Your website should be visible when someone visits it on a desktop, preferably in the upper right corner. The top of the screen should include a separate line for each mobile device. To avoid confusing consumers, avoid positioning the search box too close to other boxes, such as a newsletter sign-up.

2. Search Box Design

Similar to that, the function of the search box should be instantly clear. A search box, a search button, and a magnifying glass are the three visual components. Users enter their inquiries in the search field. People can’t read their whole text if the input field is too small, making it difficult to easily change their query. Having a text input field with a character limit of 27, which fits most user search queries, is a decent rule of thumb. Users will recognize there is an additional step required to initiate the search activity if a search button is included in your design. The fact that the magnifying glass is a well-recognized sign for “search” makes it necessary to include it. The emblem should be large enough to provide the consumer with a clear indication, even on a mobile device.

3. Add Placeholder Text

To show users what they may search for, it is a good idea to provide placeholder text in the search field.

4. Auto-Complete

Based on frequently used or suggested search terms, auto-complete anticipates what the on-site search user is looking for. By anticipating the user’s search term, the search box will suggest a product or category that they might find interesting, saving them the time and effort of typing. The purpose of this function is to assist users in creating more effective search queries, not to speed up the search process. Be cautious not to overwhelm consumers with too many ideas; the ideal number of results is up to 10.

5. Custom Ranking Option

Let’s now discuss what occurs following the search. Your user quickly locates the search box, types some text into it, clicks the search button, and is then sent to the search results page. You want to have control over (or priority over) which pages appear at the top of your on-site search results as the website owner. The option to manually rank pages gives you the power you need to advertise specials or seasonal items.

6. No Results Page

A “no results” page is the opposite of what you want to happen. A “no results” page seems to be the end of the line. Visitors may assume your site doesn’t contain what they’re seeking and leave if they get “no results” when searching. The ideal procedure is to provide visitors with direction. Try putting a few relevant items or categories under the “zero results” notice to stimulate visitors’ curiosity.

7. Simplify Results

The goal of an on-site search is to locate your information fast. It implies that on-site search outcomes must be made simpler. Customers may use filters to narrow down their searches and locate what they’re looking for. For instance, someone looking for “wedding guest plus size gowns” may wish to filter the results by price, color, size, and other factors.

How On-Site Search Is Good for SEO

To better understand how to communicate with our audience, marketers are piecing together first-party data and third-party data while experimenting with various tools. On-site search has the advantage of eliminating the mystery around website visitors’ activities. Users will enter their precise search terms into the on-site search box. Additionally, Forrester Research found that people who utilize the search bar online are two to three times more likely to convert than people who do not use it. Now, it’s important to pay attention to the information about site visitors who are three times more likely to convert. The following methods that you may assist your SEO efforts can be supported by routinely tracking data from your on-site search:

  • Site UX.
  • Keyword Research.
  • Gaps in content.
  • SERP Feature: Sitelinks Search Box.

Site UX

Something is wrong with the navigation if you see a pattern in searches starting on a specific page. Check out that website and try experimenting with giving the popular search term a bigger focus on the page. For instance, you could want to experiment with ways to make the login button more noticeable on the site if most on-search searches start from your homepage and are for the term “login.”

Keyword Research

Okay, let me reveal a fast SEO analyst’s exclusive tip. Users will enter their search terms into your website’s search box. These site search terms are probably close to what they entered in Google search at first. These searches have a higher likelihood of resulting in paying consumers. Your “grand slam keywords” are those that generate three times as much interest. Take use of on-site search when conducting keyword research.

Gaps in Content

People are hunting for this information but are having trouble finding it if they notice phrases with unusually high searches and high departure rates. not readily, at least. This information reveals where to create new content that your audience is looking for.

Sitelink Search Box

Google Search may display a scoped search box to your website if the homepage of your website appears as a search result. This does not, however, ensure that a sitelinks search box would appear in the search results.

Indexing Site Search Pages: The Risks

At this point, I’m assuming you support using on-site search! You should be aware of potential SEO risks before using this on your website. If you let internal site search URLs be indexed, several effects may affect how well your site performs. Google’s position on this issue is made clear in the webmaster guidelines. Use the robots.txt file on your web server to limit your crawling budget by blocking the crawling of endless places like search result pages, according to the message in the image. There is a ton of internet available! To keep things moving, Google allots a specific amount of time to scan each site (known as the “crawl budget”). The size and condition of your website determine how much time (crawl budget) it receives. Additionally, it is not ideal to crawl a large number of internal site search URLs. No-index your internal search results pages.

Final Thoughts

Make sure the search box is simple to discover and that both desktop and mobile users understand how to utilize it. Look for a search widget on the website that lets you alter the output. Don’t be lazy on the “no results” page; take advantage of the chance to provide relevant interest categories. To protect your crawl budget, don’t forget to no-index your search result pages. Last but not least, make use of this data gold mine to your benefit. Tip for high-quality data: To guarantee that all search phrases are tracked in lower case, add a GA filter. This prevents your reporting data from splitting apart whether a user writes “TERM X” or “term X.”