Growing reliance on search engines to find everything from discounted merchandise and movie times to the latest scoop on the hottest restaurants is changing more than Google's stock price. Users accustomed to using search to quickly meet their information needs are increasing their reliance on site search as a means of navigation and browsing. This has significant implications on everything from site design to metrics tracking.
Historically, reliance on site search was often an indicator that primary navigation was lacking in relevancy, or content was buried too deep on the site. If you couldn't easily browse to what you are looking for, site search was the backup. Add some meta tags and you were done. But those results were poorly formatted, hard to quickly scan, and often lacking in relevancy. Rarely were the results tied to other onsite behavior or profile.
Optimizing search results, from visual presentation to the underlying content structure, provides new opportunities to engage users in a more relevant, personal manner. From delivering a more dynamic UI based on search term to categorizing results by theme, search can be a transformative experience. And while growth in on-site search may never be your end performance goal, this does present an opportunity to better engage users that are searching on your site.
Three Keys to Enhancing Results Presentation and Relevancy
Integrate images and video into results:
Whether you like it or not, site search is here to stay. And its importance is generally increasing. Take advantage of this trend by integrating search into your navigation, contextualizing the results and targeting the results. You may be pleasantly surprised at the amount of new options available for optimizing this channel.
Andrea Fishman, VP of strategy and a partner at BGT Partners, leads BGT's Chicago office and has extensive experience in marketing and management consulting. She and her team drive value to BGT's clients through the development of behavioral marketing programs, web analytics, measurement programs, industry benchmarking, competitive assessments, and the design of integrated marketing programs.
Andrea has been with BGT since 2003 and is credited with strengthening partnerships with such clients as ADT, Sony, ADP, and Avaya. Prior to joining BGT, she served as global vice president at divine, inc. She's also held strategic positions within marchFIRST, The Lewin Group, and the office of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.
A graduate of Brandeis University, Fishman was awarded the Wasserman Scholarship for academic achievement and was named a 2010 Stevie Awards Finalist as Best Executive in a Service Business. She is a frequent judge for the eHealthcare Leadership Awards and is involved with the Special Olympics and Chicago Cares, a community service organization.
May 22, 2013
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June 5, 2013
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