Pubcon Vegas 2017 - Live Blog - Site Search

This was a session about on-site search. The session was aimed more to enterprise clients, rather than WordPress optimization. Here are some notes I took during the presentations:

Dave Lloyd from Adobe

  • Unsuccessful experiences hurt your business - and this can affect your bottom line
  • On-site search is a great way to keep your customers happy
  • 4 steps to make on-site search better:
    • Start with creating a search box on your site
      • Encourage visitors to search
      • Amazon puts their search at the top of the page, makes it easier for customers to find and use it
      • Look for how users are trying to search and solve for their troubles
    • Assist visitors using linguistics or predictive search
      • Again, make it easier for them to search
      • Look for terms that will make it easy for first-time visitors to your site
      • Use paid, organic and other search query data to educate you
      • Look at synonyms and missspellings
      • Use auto-complete as a great tool - and don't "set and forget" - update regularly
    • Filter results with refinements
      • Filters are very important to help website visitors find things faster
      • Again, Amazon is very good at this
      • Refine results to align with the customer journey
    • Deliver relevant results that align with your business strategy
      • Use this to promote content that's related or "you might also like"
      • Think about how you might do paid search, adding ad-like content blocks in the on-site search results - this can work great for new products/services on the site
      • Focus on searcher intent - again, make it easier for them
  • Remember, on-site search is not a "set it and forget it" thing (he mentioned this several times, and I agree that it's important)
  • Don't forget analytics - you have to measure KPIs to know if your on-site search is working as it should ... Data-driven decision making
J.P Sherman - Manager of Search and Findability at Redhat

Note: Kudos for using references to The Clash and Bob's Burgers
  • Optimize your on-site search
  • Data needs to tell a story - there's a lot of data out there and you need to avoid data overload
  • Stories can spur action - data by itself is not the story
  • Don't think about keywords as just words, they're how your users' intent is expressed
  • Don't use CTR as the lone metric to understand user intent - also look at conversions
  • Consider using META Keywords tag for on-site search ... not for Google and Bing. Be sure not to spam if you do this
  • If your CTR is <85%, your on-site search needs a lot of help, if it's higher you're doing great
  • Look for searches that get no results - this is a great way to get content ideas
  • Look for misspellings - This is a place to get ideas for autosuggest and "did you mean" suggestions
  • Don't forget your mobile on-site search experience
  • "Don't be Google - be you" 
  • Consider using images and alternate ways to display search results to help your visitors do better in your on-site search

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