- What Is On-Site Search?
- Why Is On-Site Search Important In SEO?
- How Can You Optimize On-Site Search with AI?
- On-Site Search Best Practices
What Is On-Site Search?
On-site search is the functionality by which a user can search for a piece of content or product directly on your website by entering a query in the search bar.
This functionality, also known as internal search, can significantly impact your website: it allows users to find what they are looking for and discover new content or products they are interested in but didn’t know about. It also gives you valuable data and insight into what content or products your audience likes and is most interested in, allowing you to tailor the website to the visitor’s specific needs.
Building an optimized on-site search can get you more conversions and foster brand loyalty. If the user doesn’t have a relevant search experience, they may choose to go to your competitors, risking losing customers.
On-site search is critical, not only if you have an e-commerce store. Any website with a collection of content can reap the benefits of relevant, fast, and easy-to-use site search: better click-through rates, more user engagement, and a better understanding of customer needs.
Why Is On-Site Search Important In SEO?
There is a relevant connection between SEO and on-site search. SEO allows you to increase organic traffic to your website. On-site search makes sure that visitors to your website find what they are looking for quickly and easily. SEO focuses on creating quality content that is relevant to your audience. But the more content you have on your site, the harder it is to get it found. That’s why there’s an internal search. It makes it easy for users to find your content, whether they’re looking for information or products, or services.
In addition, analyzing data on searches made by visitors to your site helps you understand which content or products are most popular and if there are any gaps in your content marketing, sales, or product development strategies. Knowing this data allows you to define more effective strategies and actions to optimize your website for both content and user experience.
How Can You Optimize On-Site Search with AI?
The Knowledge Graph is the key to your on-site search optimization. And below I will show you why.
The Knowledge Graph is the dynamic infrastructure behind your content. It allows your website to speak the native language of search engines, allowing Google and others to understand what you do and what you’re talking about. In this way, you build well-contextualized, related content that contains consistent information and addresses the needs of your audience. By providing users with a relevant experience, you get higher rankings on Google and more organic traffic to your website.
Not only that. We’ve seen that Google search is changing, moving from information retrieval to content recommendation, from query to dialogue. So the search engine is not only answering the user’s questions, but it’s also capable of discovering new content related to the user’s interests. Training the Knowledge Graph allows us to go in this direction, showing the user new content related to his search.
If Knowledge Graph makes Google search smart, it can make your on-site search smarter.
Creating a custom Knowledge Graph and then adding structured data allows your website to better communicate with Google and other search engines, making your content understandable to them. The same will happen for your website’s internal search engine.
So, when a user enters a query, the results will be more consistent and respond to the user’s search needs. Also, through Knowledge Graph, you will be able to build landing page-like results pages that include FAQs and related content. In this way, the user will have relevant content, and their search experience will be more satisfying.
By answering users’ top search queries and including information relevant to your audience, these pages can be indexed on Google, also increasing organic traffic to your website.
For example, this is the result for the query vakantieparken met subtropisch zwembad (trad. “vacation parks with subtropical swimming pool”). As you see, we have a page with all the solutions offered by the brand and a FAQ block that will help give the user additional answers for what he is looking for.
If we search the same query on Google we will have the same page as a first result in the SERP.
Search engines use entities and their relationships to understand human language. A generic occurrence of the term ‘delivery’ on the website of a logistic company might indicate the more specific concept of ‘last mile delivery’- using structured data the term is lifted as it gets uniquely identified by a Machine-Readable Entity ID that references a similar concept in public graphs like Wikidata or DBpedia (ie last mile in this example). When a term is semantically enriched (or lifted in our jargon) a search engine is also able to leverage its synonyms and neighboring terms. A user making a search for ‘last mile delivery’ or even ‘last mile’ on that website will be able to find that page.
With WordLift, you can build your Knowledge Graph and add structured data to your website content. Together, we can optimize your site search if you already have it or make it in a way that your customers will love.
To discover how you can use WordLift to create your Knowledge Graph and optimize your on-site search, book a call with our experts.
On-Site Search Best Practices
To have on-site search optimization, you can follow some best practices.
Make the search box user-friendly
Make sure the search bar is visible from any device and long enough to contain the user’s query. Usually, it will be at least 27 characters long. Remember to place search bars on your site’s primary pages, but not on all of them. Putting it on the checkout page or landing pages may be inappropriate and distract the user from other required actions, such as purchasing a product. Insert a clear call-to-action in the search bar and encourage research with phrases like “insert product, code or brand” or “what are you looking for?”, etc.
Analyze your search data
Analyzing data on internal searches on your website allows you to understand what users are interested in, what they’re looking for, and what content, products, or services are most popular. Also, you can see there may be search intents that aren’t covered with existing content, so work needs to be done to create it. (For example, if a user searches for “how to add FAQ markup” on wordlift.io, we know we are missing that content, and it needs to be created).
Improve imperfect inputs
Facilitates on-site search by improving imperfect inputs and making them predictive. Use autocomplete, autocorrect, filters, and facets to assist the search. Users will appreciate it.
Make the results page intuitive, helpful, and inspiring
Semantic search analyzes the context and searches intent behind the query to deliver relevant results to the user. Also, take advantage of “No Results Pages” to make suggestions to the user about other similar content or in line with their search, so they don’t miss out.
Always redirect the user to the right page (when you have already one)
Bypassing the search result page will make the customer journey smoother. If you have a laser target page on “outdoor speakers” and the user is searching for that, make sure to redirect him/her directly there without passing by the results page.
Not all result pages need to be the same, you can curate some of these pages to cover long-tail intents that really matter. You can do this by adding intro text and FAQ content on these pages. Now, these “enriched” result pages will also work well in search (provided that you add them to the sitemap).
A good-looking search box doesn’t mean anything if the results aren’t helpful to the searcher. And that’s where structured data and the Knowledge Graph come in, as we showed you above.