Nowadays, its de-facto standard that any business service or organization has a web presence.
Every website will get benefit if a search bar is present to make Content searchable in it. This content can be about the company, documentation, support pages, forums, product descriptions, blogs to locations etc…
So your site is on the web. Your site may have a few web pages, images, other media content to thousands of pages, different types of media etc as per business expectation. Ex. for a personal website there will be limited pages and for a news website, there will be thousands of web pages, images etc.
There will be a lot of features, tools needed on for the site like social, traffic monitoring, analytics-stats, media, language, SEO, content embedding, themes and many more. Among all, the search feature is one of the most influential and a must have for any website. Here are some key points mentioning its importance.
#1 Expectation and must have feature:
Gone are the days (late 90’s), people used to look in yellow pages(a big book containing contact numbers of a particular city) and dial to the store and ask their queries. Now everybody knows – there will be contact page on the website, which will guide them to get specific questions answered. But before that, they also know that there will be a search box on the website which will handle their textual/speech queries. As like the contact page, this search feature is at the center of user’s expectation for any website.
#2 Global Presence and business impact:
For a business company, a website is a global sales medium. They have to make sure that their top-selling products are easily accessible on the website and search feature is helping users for same. Search feature provides better navigation, user interaction, credibility. It also provides valuable search data for visualizing search trends, building a stronger business. Of course, it’s always beneficial to add a search box to your site.
#3 search is next to SEO:
Many of the webmasters work to improve their Google/Bing search results ranking and SEO benefits to the website, but they overlook their internal website search and its capabilities. How easily users are going to find information on your site? Internal website search is a key factor in user experience, feedback on different content on site, optimizing site organization etc. Once your site grows in terms of content, visiting users; it becomes trivial to have a good search bar which will not only respond to user queries but also guide them to find what they are looking for.
#4 Usability of site increases:
User navigation via proper header tabs on top of the page is one of the key features in the site.
There are users who depend on the search box to navigate to the appropriate content/page instead of navigating via header tabs. And this happens on mobile devices, where navigating through search bar is preferred as the screen is small, tabs may collapse more than as shown on the desktop version of the website etc.
According to Comprend 59% of web visitors frequently use the internal search engine to navigate on a website.
59% of web visitors frequently use the internal search engine to navigate on a website and 15% would rather use the search function than the hierarchical menu. What’s more, behavioral studies from the Nielsen Group and other research findings show that more than 50% of people visiting a start page on a website go straight to the internal search box in order to navigate.
Search is at the core of discovery and is one of the important aspects of a user-friendly website. Users are going to need a more intuitive way to find what they are looking for and once they found needed information what they are looking, they visit your website repeatedly. So the usability of the site increases.
#5 Understanding your users:
Search feature captures query data and which is next to the usability of the site and basis for data collection. Every webmaster wants to know more about the users as they can. Data collection determines trends in search, trends in sells and what next for a company to build to a stronger business. for an e-commerce website, trends in search query show such a strong signals ex. queries for warm clothes increases as winter approaches and for umbrella’s as the rainy season approaches. So search query data and an analytics visualization( there are other factors also) show direct signals to expand business and shape to a better state. So more understanding of users with search query data.
#5 Rise in Search Engine Capabilities:
what users are going to search on Google/Bing verses on your site are very different. If users are searching on your site it does mean they have spent time on your site, they are interested in your site and maybe for an e-commerce site its the journey to buy products and more importantly what is it they are interested in. Search engines improved a lot on algorithms, ranking, spam filters, bounce rates, domain authority values etc and then for a search query they sent a user to your site. And now a user is expecting a similar set of intelligence from your site to find the content/page they are looking for.
#6 Bitter truth – Browsing time is limited:
Users are going to leave your site as their browsing time is limited. No matter what you do, it’s going to happen. They will interact with the search bar, will visit pages and at last, they will leave. What best can be done – their journey can be made smooth so that they will come back and look for authentic search results, friendly navigation, getting content/pages what they might be looking for within fewer clicks etc. So user friendliness and smooth browsing journey will be boosted by search feature.
Search is at the core of discovery and center in this digital world. People are going to interact with your site and it should be easy to find content in their terms. It’s important aspects of a user-friendly website. Website navigation is the traditional way, but people are going to need a more intuitive way to find what they are looking for. And once they found needed information what they are looking, they visit your website repeatedly. From a webmasters point of view SEO is first but implementing an intelligent search engine is next only to SEO. So Webmasters, site owners, and developers, you should have an intuitive search box integrated to the website.