Search engine

Yext: How to Set Up an Internal Search Engine for Small Businesses

Since the 1990s, search engines have grown and evolved into the sophisticated search experience that most of us expect today. Thanks to modern advancements in AI and natural language processing (NLP), search has been revolutionized in recent years and changed the way we interact with the digital world.

In a relatively short period of time, we went from skimming encyclopedias to typing in basic keywords and online search terms that retrieved data like an index. Now we just say topics in our smart devices.

“Hey, Google, who was president in 1998?”

It’s been a fast track to go, and tackling internal search can seem like a huge undertaking for many small businesses. But, with the right strategy and the right tools, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be so daunting.

Many site search tools are available, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for and what resources you’ll need to implement your search strategy.

Obsolete searchis a thing of the past and can do your business more harm than good.

Behavioral studies show that search has evolved over the years, and so have consumers. We know that users who interact with search features are further along the buyer’s journey than browsers, who are just window shopping.

Providing a positive search experience for users who are ready to buy is imperative to converting searchers into buyers.

Why internal site research is so important

the internal research baseis to provide the user with a simple and effective means of quickly locating what he is looking for. The less friction users encounter when browsing your site, the less likely they are to bounce back – just a few seconds can make all the difference.

Today’s consumer is all about convenience, so it’s not too surprising that the search function is typically the most used website function. When you have a visitor who knows what they’re looking for, it’s a profitable opportunity to provide relevant options. If the internal search results page returns unrelated items or a list of links to sort through, that user is very likely to move on to another site.

In addition to being user-friendly, internal search results can provide valuable analytics that can be used to better understand your visitors. This is how people will get to your products, so you need to recognize what they are looking for and what issues they encounter along the way.

Analyzing search results on the site allows you to get an overview of the user experience.

Use site search analytics to improve your conversion rates

Researching user analytics can benefit your business in two ways: understand customer intentand the efficiency of your navigation on the site. When you look at the most common queries searched, you can better understand what people are looking for and how quickly they can find it.

Improve site navigation

By searching your analytics reports, you can determine if users are looking for simple tasks that could be completed, or if they’re having trouble finding content or products that may not have enough visual cues. It could mean that the header doesn’t contain enough information or the left navigation is too small, but you can analyze the data to optimize your site and increase activity.

Understand customer intent

This is a great way to leverage the benefits of an internal search feature. Regardless of your industry, you’re better equipped to deliver what they want when you understand what the user is looking for.

We already know that users who engage with search drive higher conversions, but we can dig deeper to understand which products or services receive the most searches and whether they search for more details once they land on the relevant page.

Consumer intent can be divided into categories such as informational and transactional. Both of these are pretty straightforward, because informational intent is about people wanting to know more about a product or service. Transactional intent occurs when a user seeks to make a purchase.

Informational intent will include searches such as “what is” or “how to” and should lead users to relevant articles on your site where you can then link them to related product pages. You should optimize your category pages by including the full question in your most important content: page titles, HTML headers, and descriptions.

Transactional intent searches will primarily consist of direct requests for specific products or services. The goal here is to explain very clearly how the user can perform a conversion and what the result will be. You can optimize a landing page by having an obvious call to action with simple visuals that include all the necessary information and a short conversion process.

How Internal Search Can Improve Overall SEO Performance

There are a variety of ways a small business can improve search engine optimization (SEO), but an internal site search feature is one of the most overlooked ways to do it. When you properly optimize your content, you can compete with the biggest brands and even take advantage of their most popular searches.

The goal is to make it as easy as possible for users and search engines to determine what your web page is about, identify whether your page is relevant to specific search queries, and whether its relevance ranks high on the search engine results page (SERP).

Once you’ve analyzed your domain’s search data, use the most searched keywords and relevant results to create pages tailored to the user’s intent. A modern SEO strategy is less about repeating keywords and more about understanding your site visitors, what they are looking for, and how you can create content that meets their needs.

What metrics should I measure to optimize site search?

If you’re familiar with SEO, you’ll notice that many of the same terms are also essential for internal search. The following list includes key things your business should look for consistently.

  • Search queries – what the user is looking for

  • Keywords – the exact targeted term

  • Searches – the number of times a search query/keyword is entered

  • Clicks – the number of times the returned content was clicked

  • Conversion – the number of times a user performed the intended action

  • Search without result – searches that did not return any relevant documents

Understanding consumer behavior and how they interact with your site search is worth the investment in your business and your long-term goals. You can learn valid details about how your site is performing and which products are worth promoting, while giving the consumer a quick and convenient way to find what they want.

The more you analyze your search data, the more useful your content will be, leading to high-quality traffic, better conversions, and a competitive advantage in your industry.

Summary

Internal search pages are usually an afterthought for busy business owners, but they are an integral part of the customer journey and can provide a lot of valuable information. You can differentiate your brand when you use insights for growth. A well-optimized custom on-site search bar can create a seamless user experience where content can be easily found and users can quickly make decisions with confidence.

To better understand your audience, you need to imagine how they think. Internal search analytics can provide a complete picture of how they are interacting with your brand and whether their visit was successful.

If visitors are looking for more facts after they arrive on your landing page, you should rethink your blog posts and website content. If users leave your site after viewing search results, you should dig deeper into the search solutions provided and how they are displayed.

Don’t get frustrated with the process – learn from it to build your brand. It’s an ongoing effort to provide the best possible experience and meet consumer needs with direct answers you can control.

Modern research has changed the behavior of digital consumers. As we integrate voice search and AI assistants into an internal search engine, it is increasingly important to strategize your marketing efforts based on user intent. When you use this approach to produce high-quality content, you’ll see higher engagement, more conversions, and higher rankings on the SERPs.

Internal research and SEO work synonymously to provide accurate answers to consumers.

To better understand how search analytics can help you increase your SEO performance, schedule a personal demowith a team member today.

Sources:

  1. 20 years of Google have changed the way we think. Here’s how, according to an information historian | TIME
  2. Six Ways Search Data Can Drive Content Marketing Success | Econsultancy
  3. A Small Business’ Step-by-Step Guide to Dominating Local Search in 2021 | Search engine monitoring