How to Improve Conversion Rates with a Website Search Box

Posted on 10/03/2015 by Team Hallam

The more pages of content your website has, the more important it is to include a search box to help your visitors quickly find the products or the information they need.

According to E-Consultancy, up to 30% of visitors will conduct a site search. If your website does not have a search function, you may be missing out on countless leads from visitors who simply did not have the time or the inclination to explore your site to find what they need.

Website Search Function Magnifying Glass

Why Should You Have a Search Box on Your Website?

  • Improve conversion rates – By adding a search box, you’re enabling visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for. Visitors that use search functions generally have a higher intent to purchase compared to those who browse through a website.
  • Improve levels of engagement – A site search opens the opportunity for visitors to further explore your content archive. This means they will be more engaged with your website, which can then lead to sales and enquiries.
  • Create a better user experience – Applying a search function allow visitors to better navigate your website. If your Google Analytics data is telling you that visitors are either dropping off your website before converting, or jumping back and forth between pages, it’s likely that they are struggling to find what they’re looking for. When you provide a functional user experience, your visitors will be satisfied and more likely to come back.

What Makes a Great Website Search Box?

There are several best practice guidelines to take into account if you’re looking to implement a website search box. These guidelines may also help you to improve the system you already have in place.

1. Make Sure They’re Clearly Visible

Visitors will struggle to find what they’re looking for if they can’t find the search function at first glance. This might sound simple, but many websites feature search functions that are either too small, or so well incorporated into the rest of the page that they do not stand out.

Place your search box at the top of the page, and use striking colours to make it stand out.  In this way, any visitors that need to use your search function will be able to see it at a glance. Website Search Function makes use of colour and position their search function at the top of the page to stand out.

It’s also important to make sure that your search function is available on all pages. Your visitors should not have to return to your homepage to conduct a new search.

If you have a custom 404 page, which you should, adding your search box on this page can encourage visitors to stay with you rather than dropping off completely.

Website Search Function on Hallam 404 page
The search function is key part of our custom 404 page to help prevent visitors from dropping off.

2. Be Sure They Can Generate Results from Long-Tail Searches

When searching the internet, people don’t want to have to hunt around. They want to find exactly what they’re looking for, and they want to find it quickly. This means that web searches have become increasingly semantic.

This has not only changed how people conduct Google searches, but also how they search on websites. From an e-commerce perspective, one of the reasons why Amazon has a successful search function is because of their super-long search box. This encourages visitors to specify more detailed information about the products they’re looking for, such as colours, sizes, and model specifications.

Amazon's Website Search Function

3. Use Sample Text within the Search Box

Adding sample text to search boxes lets your visitors know the sort of search parameters they need to enter to generate results. For example, Specsavers have a specific search function to help visitors find their nearest store. They make it clear that they can search by postcode, city, or town:

Specsavers' Website Search Function
Specsavers even offer an additional option to view their full list of stores.

The sample text in your search box can also function as a call to action. By adding prompts such as “find a product”, you may encourage more visitors to use the function. This makes it more likely that your products will be seen by the sort of people who are looking to buy them.

4. Track your success

You have gone through the effort of adding a search function to your website, however it’s important to keep an eye on what people are searching. Make sure that you have site search tracking set up in your Google Analytics to identify how well visitors are engaging with your website.

Google Analytics Site Search Tracking


Take a look at our easy to follow guide here on how to set up site search tracking in Google Analytics.

5. Test!

Test your website’s search box to make sure that it’s working properly. It’s common to find websites with search functions that either return irrelevant results, or none at all. This creates a frustrating user experience that may discourage your visitors from returning. If you discover that your site search function isn’t working correctly, make it a priority to resolve it.

If you’re looking to improve your website’s conversion rates, talk to the experts at Hallam on 0800 622 6100 to find out how we can help.

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How to Improve Conversion Rates with a Website Search Box

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