Search professionals and marketers typically divide search into three categorical pillars: (1) SEM i.e. paid search, (2) SEO i.e. organic search, and (3) site search. Of these three pillars, SEO and SEM get the biggest budgets and most attention. As for site search, marketers often overlook it and fail to take full advantage of its sales and outreach potential. But those who skip out on site search are missing an inexpensive opportunity to market products to customers who are (a) already engaged in your company and website and (b) likely close to the purchase point.
Why Use Site Search?
Unlike SEM, site search won’t cost you anything on a PPC (pay per click) basis. And unlike SEO, you won’t need a constant stream of content and backlinks to stay relevant on site search. Your site search consists of all the search that occurs on your website. You know the little search bar that’s in the top right corner of most websites? That’s site search.
In SEM and SEO you have a limited amount of characters to make your offer on the search engine results page (SERP). With site search you don’t have those same limits. Because site search is on your site, you get to decide how extensive or minimalistic to make your offers. Just because you have the space to write a 1000-word ad for your product in site search, doesn’t mean it’s the best idea though. Follow what works in your SEO and SEM campaigns and translate that to site search. You can also use site search as a means to test copy and other ad features like images and links. That way you can determine what works best in site search.
Incorporating Site Search into Your Webpage
Considering the low cost of site search and the high potential benefits, there is no reason your website should not, at least, have a functional site search bar and results page. You have a few options for incorporating site search into your webpage.
If you have a capable Web team, then you can build a site search tool directly into your source code. If you’d like to outsource this feature, then there are many SaaS (software as a service) programs that allow you to pay a fee to use site search on your webpage. This fee is minimal compared to the potential benefits of site search; so don’t worry about the upfront cost. Many search engines also offer the use of their search algorithms within the index of your website as site search options.
Taking Advantage of Featured Results
One of the greatest, and most often overlooked, aspects of site search is the featured results option. Featured results in site search are like sponsored ads in SEM. They appear at the top of the page and stand out from the rest of the results. You also have an excellent opportunity to add images, more content, or site links with featured results in site search.
Because you aren’t paying per click or based off of some search engine’s relevancy score for featured results, you can use featured results in any way that suits you and your company. Modify your featured results based on the most popular keywords to make offers that customers may not have known about before. The featured results box is an effective place to give discounts and coupons because it is a specialized search area.
Site search is a specialized method of search. It involves customers who are previously involved and interested in your site, and it is inexpensive and easy to maintain. If you allow your three pillars of search (SEM, SEO, and site) to interact, you will create effective ads and offers that boost sales and viewership. Use your best ads for all three pillars of search and test between the pillars to figure out the best copy for making the most relevant offers.