Searching is an everyday activity for all Internet users and is often more intuitive than wading through a website’s navigation, trying to work out which section contains the information they want.
This is particularly beneficial for sites with many pages or a navigation structure that runs three or four levels deep.
Direct customer feedback
Helping visitors find the information they want is the right thing for any website owner to do. But for you, the website owner, the benefits don’t end there.
If you get your website developer to set up Google Analytics to track "site searches”, you will be also be able to see what visitors search for. This is interesting feedback from your site as it reveals which topics, services and products are in demand
Not only this, you’ll also be able to analyse which searches most often lead to a completed call to action, such as submitting an online enquiry form or adding a product to a shopping basket.
Do you sell widgets?
In retail terms, this direct feedback is the equivalent of a customer asking "Do you sell widgets?”. All retailers value this type of feedback.
This is especially true if you use Google Analytics to identify search results that produce no results. A retailer who’s frequently asked by customers about widgets would soon realise that he should start stocking widgets as customers clearly want to buy them!
As a website owner, you should react in the same way. If your visitors often search for something that produces no search results, do you need to add some new relevant content to your site? Do you need to alter your product / service offering to match what people want?
A search facility is a chance to get direct feedback from visitors about the topics, products and services they’re interested in
Perhaps this visitor is simply the wrong type of visitor for your site and you need to re-think your Google AdWords campaign as it's attracting the wrong people?
At first glance, a search facility simply helps people to find content they’re looking for and so, on larger websites, the benefits are clear. But for website owners, the rationale is different. A search facility is a chance to get direct feedback from visitors about the topics, products and services they’re interested in and that information can inform the future direction not just of your website’s content but the overall offering of your business / organisation well.