The Swiftype Blog / Category: Marketing

How to add advanced search to WordPress and other CMS’s

Businesses need advanced search for their CMS’s

Content management systems (CMS’s) like WordPress and HubSpot make it easy to create and manage content including landing pages, blog posts, and other types of media. In general, CMS’s provide a robust platform that can be implemented with much less technical expertise than a system built in-house.

Navigating CMS’s with lots of content

CMS’s are great platforms for enabling you to create and publish content, but they can become difficult for visitors to navigate once you have published a lot of content.

Take a moment to think about how website visitors land on your site and how they navigate around once they are there. If a visitor didn’t come to your site by directly entering your URL in their web browser, they probably found your content through social media or a Google search.

Once a visitor consumes the content that they originally visited your website for, are they able to easily find other relevant content pieces? It’s likely that you have a header or sidebar menu for the visitor to find additional content but do you also have a search box?

If you have advanced search implemented on your website, visitors have a single window into all of your content.

Site search keeps visitors on your site and gives you insight about their interests

It’s important to have a search box on your CMS website because visitors who utilize in-site search are high intent. They trust your website enough to explicitly search for content, and they’re expecting relevant results. If you have advanced search implemented on your website, visitors have a single window into all of your content.

Additionally, site search provides you with rich analytics including popular queries, queries that return no results, and CTRs. After reviewing your search analytics, you can optimize your search results and add new content based on queries that are returning no results.

Gain full control over your CMS search

If you’re using out-of-the-box CMS search, your site search might be delivering relevant results. Unfortunately, if it’s not, there’s not much you can do to fine-tune the results. On the other hand, if you add Swiftype Site Search to your CMS, you will have full control over your search experience including the ability to weight certain data fields, re-rank results on a query-by-query basis, and set synonyms.

Swiftype Admin Dashboard

Adding Swiftype Site Search to any CMS

You can use the Swiftype web crawler or API to index your content and make it searchable on your website. If you elect to use the Swiftype web crawler, you can easily optimize content extraction with HTML tags. If you elect to use the Swiftype API to index your data, you will create a search engine schema that makes sense for the data you want to make searchable.

To implement a search UI on your website, you can use the Swiftype Embed Code or our jQuery libraries.

Adding Swiftype Site Search to WordPress (via a plugin)

The Swiftype Site Search WordPress plugin replaces the standard WordPress search with a better, more relevant search engine. It is used by many of the largest WordPress sites (including TechCrunch) and has over 3,000 active installs. 

The Swiftype Site Search plugin doesn’t require coding and takes a minute to install. Swiftype uses the WordPress search results template, so you have total control over the design.

To get started, just create a Swiftype account, copy your API key and paste it into the Swiftype WordPress Plugin. Then you click a button and Swiftype will index your WordPress site. For more advanced use cases, Swiftype supports the WP-CLI.

Additional resources:

Search Quiz: How much do you know about search history and technology?

Search is playing an increasingly important role in our lives. Much of the world’s knowledge is now on the internet and search is the technology that unlocks that content, making it accessible with the stroke of a few keys. Here are a few data points about the growing volume of search queries and internet content.

  • Google handles about 63,000 searches per second (Source)
  • In 2016, Google handled 2 trillion searches, up nearly 70% from the year before (Source)
  • Researchers estimate that there are about 1 billion websites and 4.66 billion web pages (Source)
  • There was about 81.8 million WordPress blog posts published last month, a 27% increase from the previous year. (Source)

As the amount of information on the internet continues to grow, search researchers and companies will continue to innovate, leveraging technologies like AI to make search even more intuitive and relevant.

Swiftype Search Quiz: Top scorers get a t-shirt

At Swiftype, we like to think we know a thing or two about search, so we created a Search History and Technology Quiz. From the name of the first search engine to some of the key search algorithms, this quiz is a chance to test out your search knowledge.

How much do you know about search? Take the quiz here.


If you score in the top 10 percentile on the quiz, we will send you a free Swiftype t-shirt.

*Limit to one entry per participant during the contest period. Contest ends on Oct 31, 2017. Winners will be notified by email.

Site search is your marketing website’s killer feature

A visitor lands on your site. Now what?

Congrats, you’ve succeeded in driving a prospective customer to your website. Although most first time visitors to your site are not ready to buy (approximately 96%), you have a huge opportunity to educate them and create a future buyer.

Now that you have someone on your website, you need to make sure they can quickly understand what your product does and whether it is relevant to them. As for navigating your website, this new visitor will likely take 1 of 3 actions:

  • Click a link on your navigation bar
  • Click a CTA on the page they landed on
  • Go to your search bar and enter exactly what they’re looking for

As a marketer, you want to make sure you think through each of these customer journeys. According to Aberdeen Group, 39% of marketers say that promotion and discovery of content is a top challenge. No doubt, it can be difficult to show the right content at the right time to push a potential lead down the funnel so every bit of effort spent improving your conversion rate is worth it.

Website visitors who utilize site search

Here at Swiftype, we think a lot about search, so I’d like to really focus on the third customer pathway that I highlighted: when a customer decides to use your search bar. Over the past 15 years, Google’s powerful search engine has made searching second nature for many people and other leading tech companies like Amazon and Facebook are centering their products around search.

Amazon’s website prominently features search

 

Search done well is an extremely flexible and intuitive way to navigate a product or website, and it’s also a huge source of valuable data that can, among other things, signal macro trends and help companies to improve user experience.

Site search for marketing websites

As for companies that do search well on their marketing websites, let’s take a look at HubSpot’s website. HubSpot is a B2B SaaS company that builds marketing and sales software primarily for SMBs. They are well known for their effective inbound marketing strategies, and they’ve done a great job with their marketing website, including the site search feature.

HubSpot Marketing Website Homepage

 

Search Results Page

 

It’s clear that HubSpot has made sure that the experience for website visitors who want to utilize search is optimized. And for good reason.

Website visitors who perform a search are 216% more likely to convert than visitors who don’t.

Why is site search so important?

Website visitors who perform a search are 216% more likely to convert than visitors who don’t. When a visitor searches for anything on your website, it is a strong sign of intent. For one, you know they’re interested enough in your product to try and learn more and two, you know exactly what they are searching for.

When visitors utilize search on your website, you want to make sure they can easily find what they’re looking for. If they can’t, they will use Google to search your site at which point you will lose all control of your potential customer’s journey. If one of your competitors outranks you on Google for certain topics, it’s likely that your new website visitor will end up on your competitor’s website.

The benefits of great site search

Aside from helping your website visitors to find what they’re looking for, site search is also a great source of actionable data. You can use search analytics to determine:

  • Volume of search queries
  • Popular search queries
  • Queries returning no results
  • CTRs on search results

There is a LOT you can do with this information. At Swiftype, one big way we’ve seen our customers utilize search analytics is for data-driven content development. They look at what their website visitors are searching for that is returning no results, and then they create content to fill those voids.

By pinning their highest converting content to the top of the search results for relevant queries, companies can boost conversions and ultimately increase revenue.

Since the Swiftype Site Search Solution features a drag-and-drop interface for ranking results on a query-by-query basis, it’s easy for companies to make changes, and they have full control over their site search experience. The drag-and-drop interface also makes it easy for companies to optimize their search conversion rates for popular queries. By pinning their highest converting content to the top of the search results for relevant queries, companies can boost conversions and ultimately increase revenue.

Drag-and-drop interface for ranking results

 

Getting started with Swiftype Site Search

To get started with Swiftype, you just enter your website’s address and Swiftype will index your site and create your search engine in real-time. No coding is required, but developers can use the API for extra control. Swiftype can index any amount of content and new content is indexed automatically, so your search is always up-to-date.

A free trial makes trying Swiftype risk-free

Want to try out Swiftype Site Search for your website? You can sign up for a free trial here.

Mobile Search and the Modern Marketer

“Mobile mobile mobile!” No, this isn’t an episode of The Brady Bunch—it’s the rallying cry of marketers everywhere. Why? Because in 2016, mobile overtook desktop as the primary way users accessed web content. Of course, if you take a look around the next time you’re in a mall, restaurant, on public transit, or attending a sporting event—probably even in your own living room—this won’t come as a huge surprise.

According to a January 2017 report, time spent in mobile applications climbed by 69% in the United States alone. U.S. users spend an incredible five hours each day using apps on their mobile devices, with messaging and social media in particular eating up a large chunk of that time.

Not only are web users mobile and in love with their apps, they also tend to be multi-platform users, switching from desktop to laptop, to tablet, to mobile phones, (which is why omni-channel marketing is so important).  

Problems to Contemplate When Considering Mobile

Clearly, it would behoove most organizations to have mobile marketing—specifically as it relates to mobile search—squarely in their crosshairs. But, like most things in life, mobile isn’t 100% perfect. There are definitely some mobile-specific issues that you need to take into consideration when crafting your mobile strategy.

  • The potential for higher latency. We have all been spoiled by our rapid-fire desktops and having to wait for a site to load turns a lot of visitors off. I can personally attest to the fact that I bounce if something is taking too long to load and I know I’m not alone. In fact, if a page doesn’t load within three seconds… POOF! 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned. And when mobile sites were compared, those that loaded within five seconds (versus as long as 19 seconds) saw increased ad views, had searchers remain on site 70% longer, and decreased bounce rates by 35%.
  • Errant clicks sink ships. Similar to latency issues, you can also blame the desktop for this mobile problem. Instead of mouse clicks, keyboard strokes, and trackpad precision, it’s our clumsy thumbs and fingers poking around mobile sites. Poorly placed banners, ads, or hard-to-find search elements can lead to incorrect clicks, which lead to increased drop-off. The result? You might have just lost an engaged user on your site to your competitor.
  • Search must be simple. While you don’t want to immediately hammer visitors over the head with your search options, you must ensure that your mobile search capabilities are up front and crystal clear. Since real estate on mobile is limited, it’s especially important that the search results that the user wants are at the top of the list—otherwise users will have to scroll, potentially encouraging them to check out other sites. This means autocomplete takes on an even more important responsibility and misspellings still need to lead a user to the right place.

What Marketers Need to Know About Mobile Search

Mobile’s popularity and continued growth has definitely upset the traditional ideological mantra of: “build (and optimize) your website, and they will come.” Today, many companies—including behemoths like Google and Apple—are opting for a mobile-first push when it comes to website design.

The reasons behind a mobile-first strategy are pretty straightforward. Mobile screens (and their functionality) are fundamentally different from desktop screens and their design should reflect that. Add that to that the fact that people tend to browse more on desktops and search more on mobile, and the need for an easy and efficient mobile search experience makes perfect sense.

Also, as mentioned above, people are spoiled these days. Mobile users are highly goal-oriented, want to achieve results quickly and easily, and don’t want to encounter confusing navigation or crowded screens full of touch-sensitive elements. Not surprisingly, according to a report on SearchEngineLand.com, some of the most common (and most annoying) issues for mobile search users hunting content, also happen to match perfectly with these mobile search issues:

  • Content not sized to screen: Scroll scroll scroll.
  • Font size too small: Pinch pinch pinch.
  • Touch elements too close together: Bounce bounce bounce (see above re: errant clicks).

Adapting to the Evolution of Mobile Users

When you add up all the moving parts around mobile search, you wouldn’t be far off the mark to think that mobile hasn’t actually changed search as much as mobile users have changed search. And these days, the user/customer/client holds all the cards. To sum up, you can help mobile users achieve optimum mobile search success in a few ways:

  • If possible, adopt a mobile-first strategy.
  • Ensure that users can search immediately to find the content they are looking for.
  • Implement advanced search functionality like autocomplete, spelling correction, phrase matching, and more.
  • Do as much as you can to reduce latency.
  • Provide highly targeted content so users find what they need as quickly as possible.
  • And remember micro-moments on the user’s journey, like “I want to know, go, do, and buy.”

It’s predicted that customer/user experience will be the top brand differentiator—topping price and product—by the year 2020. If it’s not already, fine-tuning your mobile search experience should be at the top of your priority list.

Ready to take a hard look at your site search solution and how you can improve your mobile and website search? Chat with the Swiftype team today and they can help find the best fit for you.

Site Search: Your Online ROI Answer Button

As a marketer, you’re aware of all the traditional lead generation channels as well as the latest up-and-coming trends. You might even consider yourself an early-adopting, marketing maverick since you’re open to trying the latest technology or strategies that give your campaigns some edge. But with all the options out there, nothing beats the black and white facts of customer need and intent.

Your website’s search box is the ultimate window to your customer’s intentions. When a visitor takes the effort to go to your website or application’s search box and enter in a search term, it reveals not just what they’re looking for, but a higher level of interest and willingness to take action. These queries can also reveal important information about what content you’re missing or synonymous terms you should be adopting to ensure your visitors are getting the most relevant content.

Site search and search data are important and valuable components of your website, and yet, many companies don’t optimize, test, or reassess their site search at all. This is a major missed opportunity for any marketer.

Don’t miss this chance

Join us on Wednesday, May 24th for a live webinar featuring Praveena Khatri, Vice President of Marketing at Swiftype, Lukasz Zelezny, Head of Organic Acquisition at uSwitch.com, and Thorin McGee, Editor in Chief/Content Director at Target Marketing to learn how you can make the most of your own site search.

  • Mine your search for lead generation and SEO insights
  • Test and optimize your site search function
  • Convert more site search users into buyers
  • And more!

Register and save your spot today!

Site Search Data: A Goldmine of Analytics

In 2009, Google’s Avinash Kaushik wrote about the importance of site search analytics, going so far as calling them “life altering”. At that time, Kaushik argued that two major sites were driving users towards search bars: Amazon, because of it’s massive selection, and Google, because of how many users begin browsing with a global Google search. Because these sites have such a powerful influence over users’ expectations, Kaushik pointed out that more and more people “ignore our lovingly crafted navigational elements and jump to the site search box,” when they arrive on a website – a trend which generates invaluable data about user intent for site owners.

analytics

Eight years later, these websites have only grown in importance, meaning that Kaushik’s argument is even more important and more relevant than ever before. This begs the question: given this steady stream of incoming data, what analytics should site owners look for from their search bars? Although the answer to this question will vary based on the specific use case of your website, here are some of the key questions that your site search analytics should help you answer:

  1. What are the most common queries? This seems obvious, but site owners should pay close attention to their top queries because they offer a looking glass into the precise wants and needs of site visitors. Queries are, after all, user generated, so they allow you to listen to your users in a way that no other analytics can.
  2. What are users searching for but not finding? In other words, what are the most common queries that return no results? This data is highly actionable, since you can either create content to meet these users’ needs or reconfigure your results to provide answers and prevent users from hitting dead ends.
  3. What percentage of site visitors are using search? How often is search used relative to the navigation buttons? Aside from helping you get a clear sense of just how valuable search navigation is for users, you should track this statistic over time to see user behavior patterns change in response to any updates you make on your website.
  4. How do conversion rates differ for searchers vs. non-searchers? If your analytics tell you that users who perform searches are more likely to convert than users who don’t, you should reconfigure your website to feature search as a more prominent navigational tool.
  5. What pages are users searching from most? This will give you a sense of what pages are most confusing. It’s a safe assumption that if a user can’t find the information that they are looking for on a certain page, they will use the search bar to try and find it.
  6. What autocomplete options are most popular? When a user chooses an item from the autocomplete dropdown, this is a clear indication of what they are hoping to find for that query. Use this data to customize search results and autocomplete display so that these results are closer to the top.

When you configure your website’s analytics, make sure you’re getting all this information. As we stated above, internal search bars provide a unique opportunity to directly listen to your users – and this valuable information should not go to waste.

If you’d like to learn more about site search analytics, read Swiftype’s white paper: Understanding Site Search Analytics, which provides industry benchmarks on important metrics and offers A/B testing ideas to optimize search for conversions.

How Promoting Demand Gen Content in Search Results Helps Land Leads

You don’t have to be a genius to understand why content generation is a good thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing since it’s used to increase awareness, lead-gathering, and conversion rates, and ultimately sales.

But knowing when to prioritize which type of content on your web properties can be tricky without the insights of your visitors’ behaviors. These observations can be beneficial, even advantageous because you don’t have to guess what they’re interested in, they’re flat-out telling you. So where do you start? How should you begin?

Let’s Start With the Basics

Demand and lead generation content come into play at different points in your relationship with your buyer, but both are equally important and should be easily accessible, especially via your website.  Yes, I’m here to tell you there is a difference between Demand Generation and Lead Generation content.

Demand generation content tends to be free and easy. And free and easy are two words people like to hear, especially when they’re initially researching a product or service. This type of content—ie: blog-posts, checklists, infographics, charts, and images—is used to provide information about, and drive interest around your products and/or services, as well as help map out brand positioning and raise brand awareness. It’s highly digestible and begs to be shared.

Lead generation content, on the other hand, isn’t quite so easy, nor is it free. It’s typically gated and leans toward long-form, meaty, highly subject-specific content—ie: whitepapers, e-books, research studies, and webinars. It can’t be accessed without the reader giving away details like email, phone numbers, and workplace information. This rich, curated content is targeted at select, interested readers, already familiar with your brand and actively searching for answers or a solution.

Understanding Search Queries Helps Promote the Right Content

When visitors search for something on your site, that’s clear, intent data. You don’t have to guess what they’re interested in based on behavior. But there is also plenty that can be inferred to help move buyers along. By implementing the right site search solution, you can track these behaviors and then quickly display relevant results, while simultaneously enhancing your library with additional content that addresses these pain points and questions. Your site search solution can also help clarify what people “mean” when they ask certain questions or key-in variants of search queries. This goes a long way toward determining how best to serve up the most fitting demand gen content.

Let’s say you’re in higher education and have a diverse audience visiting your website daily. A general, overarching, site search query, like “campus tour” might indicate your searcher is potentially a prospective student in the beginning stages of their research. This provides you an excellent opportunity to not only prioritize relevant content on booking campus tours, but also highly rank additional helpful information geared toward prospective, on-the-fence students that will increase their likelihood to apply.  

Or say your brand sells invoicing software for freelancers. A visitor to your site may have been recommended by a friend but not yet be sold on the benefits you offer. If they search for “easy invoicing,” you can weight and rank your results to focus on promoting your best and highest converting pieces of content, ensuring that you give them results that show that you’re the experts.

And Voila! You Have Leads That Are More Likely to Convert

This is why investing in an intuitive site search platform that utilizes advanced search algorithms and language modeling intelligence is important. Not only does it help customers find what they’re looking for faster, but it helps you investigate your top site searches and ensure you’re delivering the most relevant and optimal demand/lead generation content buyers are looking for. By delivering the most relevant and topical content, no one clicks off your site underserved or unhappy.

The result? Your content has actually helped those looking for help, in one way, shape, or form. Whether they want information or they want answers, when they find the right content, they willingly engage, provide their contact information, and look to you as a leader in your space.

Want to learn more about site search and how it can kick start lead conversion on your website? Download the Abderdeen Group Buying Guide: “4 Key Considerations for Acquiring an Effective Site Search Solution” and get all the details.

What Makes Slack Such a Valuable Collaboration Tool?

By now, you’ve likely heard about Slack. Whether or not you use it, love it, or are generally privy to why it’s changing the way teams collaborate, you know it’s gained substantial momentum and organizations/users everywhere are seeing its value.

Is Slack Really All That?

It’s little wonder that the messaging/group chat/document-sharing application Slack has been called one of the most innovative companies of 2017. Launched in late 2013 as a simple workplace collaboration application, by last October Slack was making the workday more efficient for four million active users (including 1.25 million paying users), resulting in a very healthy $100 million in annual revenue (give or take a buck or two).

The reason for its rapid-fire success? In a classic take on the “necessity is the mother of invention” trope, Slack filled a desperate need that had thus far eluded business—delivering a user-friendly, “one stop shopping” workplace collaboration beehive that supports seamless company-wide communication.

Employees LOVE Slack

Millennials in the workplace today top the 50 million mark (and Generation Z is nipping at their heels!). Weaned on technology, they use the collaboration tool to coordinate and keep track of every aspect of their lives. This powerful workforce expects a healthy work/life balance, extreme efficiency, and opportunities for flexible working arrangements. Slack ticks all of those boxes.

Bye-bye, annoying email threads and “reply alls.” See you later, long, drawn out, boring “team update” meetings and time wasting duplicate work. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, lost documents and messed up project workflow. Instead, say hello to:

  • Group-chat channels—including text, audio, and video chat
  • Threaded messaging to assist in keeping conversations contextual, organized, and focused
  • Direct messaging and @ alerts
  • Clickable drop-down menus that help facilitate more complex workflows
  • Drag and drop file sharing (including images, PDFs, documents, and spreadsheets)
  • Superb integration and connectivity that results in all notifications appearing in Slack so there’s not more toggling between Twitter, DropBox, Asana, etc., making it easier than ever to find what you need (and even easier when you integrate Slack with your Swiftype account!)
  • Application integrations and third party app development using their API
  • Syncing ability to any smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers tied into your network, providing employees with flexible work arrangements

[Editor’s note: Features vary between paid and free versions.]

And unlike many other platforms that are difficult to integrate and even harder to use, Slack’s “friendly” interface means happy Slack users spend, on average, 10 hours per weekday plugged into the platform and 140 minutes per user per weekday actively working within the system.

Collaboration Drives Innovation

According to a recent O.C. Tanner Great Work Study, 88 percent of great work starts with an employee asking an inquisitive question, and 72 percent of great work ideas succeed because the employee speaks to many people about their solution, and incorporates diverse knowledge and viewpoints into the design.

Slack drives this type of collaboration and innovation. It encourages employees to question and communicate, problem solve, and pool talents and strengths. It helps break down silos between departments, and, especially important if you’re running a virtual or global company, allows employees to connect, work, and share ideas at any time, and from anywhere.

The Cure for the Common Chaos

So, is Slack a cure-all for excessive meetings and unproductivity? For many companies, yes. For others, it’s not perfect. It’s been said that group chat can cause distractions and meetings can be boundary-less. But Slack has ridiculously high user satisfaction scores, so it’s doing something right.

The Swiftype team, being a fan, saw the platform’s advantages and opted to build a dedicated connector between Slack and their Enterprise Search solution. This enables teams to automatically search over an organization’s universe of cloud apps (Salesforce, Dropbox, Jira, Confluence, and more) then quickly share the results. Learn more about Swiftype for Slack and how you can find everything you need without leaving where you work.

4 Key Considerations for Acquiring an Effective Site Search Solution

Understanding and optimizing how buyers arrive and navigate through your website can be difficult. It’s especially frustrating since you know not capturing this information can leave you with costly gaps in conversion data.

The Aberdeen Group, widely known as a leader in the research and analysis of information technology and products, recently gathered insights on these data challenges. Their findings focused on “Site Search Solutions.” These are traditionally defined as platforms or tools that analyze and optimize a website visitor’s search experience. They can also shed light on the most popular content on your website or app. This ultimately gives you the real-time search analytics needed to reveal what, and whether, buyers are actually looking to buy.

Did you know that 37% of marketers actively invest in search solutions and 26% of those marketers average higher contribution to company revenue from marketing?

Aberdeen has assembled a full Buying Guide to outline all of the considerations you should take into account when evaluating an effective site search solution for your organization, but here’s a brief snapshot of what you need to know:

  1. Ease of Use and Implementation: Dealing with personnel limitations (available headcount, skillsets, bandwidth) is the top operational challenge cited by marketers in our research. Few marketers are coding experts, so it’s vital that the solution you choose doesn’t make already complex marketing operations more complex. 
  2. Customization for Performance Optimization: Best-in-Class marketing teams are 55% more effective than all others at maintaining consistent, relevant, and personalized messaging. Staying up to speed with what’s relevant to buyers while maintaining consistency requires that site search solutions be customizable. The terms and topics buyers search for change; solutions need to allow users to adapt accordingly.
  3. Analytically Driven Alignment to Buyer Needs: The best solution for your business will serve up results that prompt the best actions for your buyers. 
  4. Real Time Updates: The benefits of your site search solution should be immediately obvious. Marketers who use search solutions are 91% more effective at increasing productivity with integrated marketing technology. Real-time capabilities are critical for bringing the full utility of the technology to bear.

Download the FULL Aberdeen Buying Guide now to make sure you’re armed with all the detailed information needed in order to select the site search solution that’s right for you.

How Targeted Search Results Can Beat Organic

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?

Business Kid Uses Targeted Search Results

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

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

 

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