Site search is one of the most useful features you can add to your website. It enables visitors to find exactly the information they need in a quick and easy manner.
Best Rank currently supports internal site search for:
Surprisingly, more than half of today’s webmasters still haven’t added site search script or software to their websites. This is mostly because people tend to think that site search tools are too complex or costly. In fact, this is hardly the case. Website search software is just one of the services that Best Rank uses to help optimize our client’s websites and make them attractive and easy for visitors to use, and we can easily add site search to any site.
Example Site Search
Below is a screen shot of a sample site search tool results page. Results are displayed on the left and dynamic search facets are displayed on the right. Site search facets allow the user to drill down and refine their search. As an administrator, search facets are fully configurable and can appear in any order desired. Facets can also be customized on a per-client basis and need not be the same as shown here. For example “post date” and “type” are two facets in the below example, but it’s possible to modify the system to use custom facets such as “price” or “popularity” if the site is ecommerce-based.
Benefits of Site Search Engine Software
If you’re operating a five-page site you probably don’t need to include a site search into your website’s infrastructure; but then again, you’re probably not getting much organic traffic. Larger sites such as e-commerce stores with a more complex architecture and a large number of pages are generally expected to have some type of site or product search available to users, however.
Some of the benefits that come with site search software include:
- Usability improvement – Site search lets visitors navigate more easily through the information provided by your site, allowing them to quickly find the exact piece of information needed.
- Higher level of user trust – A good site search will generally result in visitors using the search again and again… Google is one great example.
- Longer time on site – Studies have shown that a useful site search engine option can lead to a higher level of user trust and, as a result, a longer time on site. A site search yields longer visits, which can mean that your customers are looking at more pages/products.
- Higher sales volume – A higher level of trust combined with longer on-site times allows customers to make more informed purchasing decisions and can lead to an increased level of sales.
How Site Search Software Works
Site search systems are essentially smaller versions of the larger search engines. Rather than crawling through the entire web, however, Best Rank provides its customers the ability to offer a custom search engine to their end users, powered and hosted by Best Rank, that serves up only content from the website in question.
- Best Rank can index any or all of the pages on your website; we then store the indexed content on our servers.
- Best Rank provides the customer with a URL that can be queried via REST parameters (the search query) and at which point returns an XML feed of the search results.
- The customer can choose to implement their own front end search interface to allow their visitors to perform searches and display the resulting XML feed in any way they desire. Or Best Rank can implement a custom front end search interface solution.
Search Technology Specifics
Our search technology is fast, flexible and incredibly powerful. Remember, because we host the search index, your website’s resources are not taxed and can serve up search results lightning-fast. For those technically savvy here are some of the features of our search engine:
- Boolean operators and subexpressions (subqueries)
- Range queries (numeric, date and text ranges)
- Synonym filtering/matching
- Stemming filtering/matching
- Word delimiter filtering/matching
- Phrase queries and term proximity searching
- Fuzzy query search
- Spell checking (“did you mean … ?”)
- Similar results (“more like this …”)
- Inclusive/non-inclusive queries (“all items that do or do not include …”)
- Score-boosting and function queries (we dynamically apply a user-defined function to boost search term relevancy at index or query time. For example, if you had an ecommerce shop, during a clearance or sale of certain item, you could boost up the value of those products to temporarily increase their visibility and help them potentially sell better)
- Filtering (force certain types of searches only)
Optimizing for Site Search
In order for your site search tool to be useful, it’s important that you optimize your pages for your website search software in the same way that you optimize your site so that it can be easily indexed by the major search engine spiders. This means providing your internal search engine with good content, keywords, meta tags, and an easy-to-access navigational structure.
At Best Rank, we use the same proven organic SEO techniques that give our clients high visibility in Google, Yahoo!, and Bing searches to devise useful and effective site search tools for them as well.
Simplicity is the Key
They key to making the search feature on your website accessible and effective is to integrate it into your web design in a way that is simple and straightforward. Make the search box a type-in field, rather than a separate search page. Statistics show that having a search box instead of a search link to a separate page increases the chances that visitors will actually use the search feature by 91%.
Place the search field directly on your home page, somewhere near the top (upper center or upper right is best) so that it is clearly visible. This way, visitors can start searching immediately for what they want without having to wait for another page to load.
The search box itself should be wide enough to display all or most of the search terms. If the search box is so small that most of the query disappears as they’re typing, visitors will get confused. In terms of search results pages, a moderate amount of results is best (50 per page at most), as not very many people like to scroll though a huge list of results.
If implemented correctly, website search software can add a whole new dimension of interactivity and usability to your website.
Give us a call today or fill out our contact form to learn more about this useful feature and about how Best Rank can help you add a site search engine to your site.