November 04, 2022

6 min. read

What is internal site search?

By Sander Kah

What is internal site search? | Everything you need to know! | Afosto

In this article, we will explain what internal site search is and how you can implement it to boost the rankings of your website, customer experience and increase conversions!

Most website visitors don't come to your site with a specific product or piece of information in mind. They might know what general category they're interested in, but internal search allows them to narrow down their options and find exactly what they're looking for on your website.

Internal site search can be a powerful tool for improving your website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). If you can get people to use internal search, it sends a strong signal to Google that your website is relevant and useful for the keywords they searched for.

Internal site search can also improve the online shopping experience for your customers. By making it easy for them to find what they're looking for, you can reduce shopping cart abandonment and boost customer satisfaction.

If you're not already using internal site search on your website, now is the time to start. It's a valuable tool for both SEO and customer experience, and it can help you boost your bottom line.

Internal site search Azalp

Internal site search is a tool that allows visitors to your website to search for specific information or products on your website. Internal site search can help improve your website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), and it can also improve the online shopping experience for your customers. If you're not already using internal site search on your website, now is the time to start!

The difference between external and internal searches

The difference between an external search engine (like Google) and internal site search should be clear. With an external search, you're looking for information that's out there on the internet as a whole. An internal site search is when you use the tools provided by a website to find something specific on that site. They are usually done through the site's search bar and provide targeted results from only that site's content. It is important to understand both types of searches in order to maximize your chances of finding what you're looking for online.

External searches

external search

When a user searches for something on the internet using a search engine, that particular program outputs results relevant to what was inputted. The pages shown are ranked in order of importance according to different factors decided by the company who owns the search enginge. Creating content and webpages with high ranks is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Internal searches

Internal searches are conducted solely within one website. While an external search engine will bring up results from all over the internet in response to a query, an internal search engine only provides results that can be found on the searching website. No matter how much data or content is present on your website, a reliable site search function is key to keeping users engaged with your site and helping them get around easily. Without it, you face the danger of customers leaving your site to find what they need on an external search engine instead.

The benefits of internal site search for online shoppers

  1. Increase conversions
  2. Improve user experience
  3. Retrieve data about what your customers want
  4. Improve time on page and SEO Website Search

Increase conversions

Customers who use site search are more focused and have a better idea of what they want than those who don't. This means that they're twice as likely to convert, which directly leads to increased revenue.

Improve user experience

As an online business owner, you should always aim to provide users with the best experience possible. Even though customers appreciate having organized category pages, what they really want is an easy-to-use and enhanced search function that will help them find what they need more quickly and efficiently. A good internal site search engine can meet those needs perfectly. By making it easy for visitors to find what they're looking for, you can reduce frustration and confusion. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Retrieve data about what your customers want

Internal site search also provides valuable data about what your customers are looking for on your website. You can use this data to improve your product offerings, website design, and even your marketing strategy.

Improve time on page and SEO

Internal site search can also help improve your website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). If you can get people to use internal search, it sends a strong signal to Google that visitors are staying on your website and diving deeper into the information you provide them. This helps to increase the time on the pages of your website and in term boosts the SEO of your website.

There are a few key aspects that make for a good internal site search capability.

Below are the most important features:

  1. Easy to access and use
  2. Fast and accurate results
  3. Smart filtering options
  4. Gives you access to search data
  5. Optimize and customize
Afosto Instant Search Analytics Dashboard

Easy to access and use

The search box should be prominently displayed on every page of the website, and it should be easy to use (e.g., autocomplete suggestions, type-ahead suggestions, etc.).

Your search function's visibility is crucial to customers. Place it at the top of your website where it can easily be found by viewers. On desktop, near the top right or middle is ideal. For mobile devices, make sure the search icon is highly visible at either the very top or its own line near the cart icon.

With more than half of all eCommerce shopping now conducted on mobile devices, it's crucial that your site search function is responsive to mobile users. In the last six months alone, 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their phone. However, 84% of those same smartphone users have also reported difficulty navigate and searching eCommerce websites on their mobile device – that’s nearly everyone!

Fast and accurate results

Instant Search Demo

Today, users have become accustomed to speed. That means your customers no longer want to wait for search results and so your internal search engine needs to deliver these results quickly and accurately. 

Quick and accurate search results are integral to a website's success; if your engine lags, visitors will go to Google or another competitor. As a store owner, this is something you obviously want to avoid at all costs.

Smart filtering options

If a customer searches for a generic term like "blue dress," they will receive countless results. However, by providing clever filters such as color, size, and price after the search, you can assist them in finding precisely what they need.

Gives you access to search data

A good internal search engine gives you access to the search terms your customers use. This information is hugely valuable for the next step in improving your customer satisfaction namely customizing and optimizing search results.

Optimize and customize

With a quality search engine, you can use custom ranking rules to optimize results in order of your visitors' search queries. This allows you to put the most relevant products at the top of a page for certain search terms. Product sorting is hugely important on major search engines; it's no wonder every website owner strives to be first on Google. With your own personal search engine,you have power over what product, page or document is listed and where.

Depending on your business website there are multiple solutions out there that can help you implement and improve your internal site search. At Afosto we've created a tool called Instant Search that you can implement to create or improve your website's internal search. We've also made an easy-to-use widget or you can custom integrate the search tool on your website.

If you have any questions regarding this article or products of Afosto don't hesitate to contact us! Our team of experts on E-commerce, website optimization, and development would love to help you.

Written by
Sander Kah

I'm Sander, a SaaS entrepreneur with over 5 years of experience in co-owning and growing a software company, Afosto, that helps retailers succeed using smart and scalable software solutions. I'm also the co-founder of Sanwin Beachwear, an exclusive beachwear brand for men, and a pilot, flying Boeing 737 aircrafts across Europe and beyond. I'm passionate about creating value for my clients, partners, and customers, and seeing them achieve their business goals and reach new heights. When I'm not in the cockpit or the boardroom, I love to explore the world, kitesurf, and camp in my van. I'm always open to connect and exchange ideas with like-minded people, so feel free to reach out to me.

More from Sander Kah