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The Importance of Search

Understanding onsite and offsite search is one of the most critical areas for a business as the customer is already engaged in intent. Offsite search requires an analysis of trending keywords and an audit of search queries to make PPC even more efficient. While the set up of keywords and negative keywords in Google Adwords is important, an area that is often overlooked is in Google Analytics to input the Branded Keywords. Google will try to allocate Branded versus Generic or Non-Branded but it’s important to set it up correctly and to include any trademark names.

This is found under Admin > View Settings > Channel Settings > Manage Brand Terms

Manage Branded Terms in Google Analytics
Manage Google Analytics with Branded Key Terms

Surprisingly, a weakness of platforms whether it’s Magento, Shopify, or Big Commerce is the search functionality. Often times, if a search is for “Blue Jeans,” platforms will crawl and serve back results with anything that contains “Blue” or “Jeans.” Unlike Google Adwords where a digital marketer can input [exact,] “phrase match,” +broad +match, or just broad match, platforms need a third party vendor or app to help understand the data and catalog and fine tune the Search results.

Another issue is when the platform or a Search partner will crawl the product description, the chances of irrelevant searches will spike. There are several Onsite Search partners available out there.

Here are some popular ones: Searchanise aka Instant Search, Product Filter and Search from Boost Commerce, Algolia, Swiftype, and SearchSpring. Depending on your needs, these platforms can accommodate synonyms, plurals, and mis-spellings. The ones that work best should only need to crawl the product categories, tags, and titles. If the Search app also crawls the product description, the chances are that they will show irrelevant Search results.

Here is a SearchSpring example showing autocomplete as well as some visual recommendations. Keywords and Top Products are instantly served up within the Search. There is also the capability of adding in a Banner with linking. In this particular example, it has an “Umbrella Buying Guide. Learn More >.”

Suggested Autocomplete with SearchSpring.
Suggested search results with SearchSpring

Here is an example of Searchanise that also crawls the product description which causes irrelevant searches to appear. This example is for “Dining table” and a cocktail glass is served up in the results. It is pulling the words “dining, “table” or “dining table” from the product description. This can be a really frustrating experience for a User.

Irrelevant search results with Dining Table on Alchemy Fine Home due to the vendor crawling words outside of the Product title and the Product tags
Irrelevant search results

A good Search Vendor will also have the capability of showing In-Stock as well as Quick Ship items especially with Covid-19 where delivery times are greatly affected. Some Search vendors can also push items that are out of stock (OOS) to the bottom of the Search Results or not include them at all.

In-stock and out of stock items with Search Vendors.
Showing Quick Ship or In-Stock Items during Covid-19

Tip: Why would you ever want to show OOS items?

There are a few reasons on why you would want to show items that are out of stock.

  1. Create a sense of urgency by showing all of the sold out items. Vendors like Out of Stock Police will push items to the bottom of your collections.
  2. Many apps that HIDE out of stock items will hurt your SEO. Google will see OOS items and empty collections as crawling errors. You will have to re-validate these in Google Search Console. The SEO best practice is to either re-validate the errors or to re-direct them to the closest relevant pages. Ex. If a customer looks for location for an online only business, they will be re-directed to the About Us or Customer Service page.

Happy searching for your best search partner!


Published by coolfoodhunter

Designing through analytics and intuition.

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