Unless you’ve spent the last 15 years living on a desert island somewhere, you’re probably well aware that ecommerce is booming. B2C is riding a healthy wave, with retail ecommerce sales expected to hit nearly $2 trillion this year. And B2B results aren’t too shabby either, predicted to hit 6.7 trillion (yes, with a “t”!) by 2020. So how do all these purchase-happy consumers find what they want to buy?
In today’s digital world, we take search and search results for granted. We may not think about it, but they actually do lead to many of those sales. However, at the macro level, search for businesses can be complicated. Companies need to be found online, and they have no choice but to “play the digital game” in order to get those coveted spots on Google’s first page of results.
Everyone knows that organic search is important and requires time and effort. However, there are times when organic search just doesn’t serve your audience well enough, and in those cases, a targeted on-site search is far more effective.
Where Organic Search Falls Short
While organic search ranking is extremely important and definitely something you should be working toward when it comes to your digital real estate, it’s also a part of the search process that you, as a brand, have little control over.
For instance, one of the biggest problems with organic search from a business standpoint is that you can’t decide what the algorithm will display. For example, if a user Googles “pants,” then organic search will give them the pants you sell. Maybe, in a best-case scenario, you’ve done some SEO optimization to promote a specific style of pants that you are looking to push so that style comes up near the top of the search results.
But what if that customer really needs warm pants because she lives in the north and it’s winter? Or maybe this particular searcher wants men’s pants because, well, he’s a he.
That’s where you come in. Once a visitor makes it to your site, you can control what he sees in the search results by providing him with targeted search options to help move him along the purchase process.
3 Ways Targeted Search Results Can Beat Organic
- You control what your visitor sees: Targeted site search allows you to optimize search results and ensure the content you want highlighted is filtered to the top. This could mean that when a prospect visits your B2B site, you may recognize her IP as coming from a certain region and be able to show her targeted content. Or it could mean that you place a newly released piece of content as her first search result. This is a key feature of a well planned site search, and is especially important because year-over-year, growth in unique site traffic is nearly eight times higher for content marketing leaders, and showing customers what they want to see—even if they don’t know it yet—is what makes or breaks content leaders.
- Filters, filters, and more filters. Personally, I can’t stand scrolling through hundreds of product search results, and I know I’m not alone in that regard. Filters like price, size, color, category, author, date, location, and even content type allow consumers to weed out the unwanted items and zero in on what they want, resulting in higher sales. To no one’s surprise, Amazon is one of the most successful ecommerce sites out there today. And in a recent survey, 54 percent of respondents chose great site search capabilities as one of the main reasons why they placed Amazon at the top of their lists.
- Intuitive site search and autocomplete. Shoppers who use internal site search convert at a 216% higher rate than those who do not. And with 81% of shoppers abandoning shopping carts before completing their purchase, your goal is to get consumers from search to check out completion as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s why having site search capabilities like auto complete, intuitive search, and comprehensive spell check is vital to your success.
Overall, organic search is a huge component of any type of content related marketing. But having a targeted search system in place that allows you to provide the very best digital experience for consumers—and delivers the right content at the exact right time—is another huge step forward when it comes to customer satisfaction and corporate success.