Custom Vs. Off-the-Shelf Site Search


There are many things that need close attention for businesses to succeed. Between logistics, marketing, payroll, assorted compliances, and R&D, there are some things that just fall through the cracks. For many businesses, the site search of their website is one of these neglected aspects. According to CXL, “only 15% of companies have dedicated resources for optimizing the site search experience… [and] another 42% neglect it all together.” With so many other things for businesses to consider, it’s understandable to use a standard, off-the-shelf site search, but for most companies, not optimizing your site search can be a giant mistake.

Now, there are some advantages to out-of-the-box, one-size-fits-all search tools. They are easy to incorporate and well-tested. There are templates to approximate how you will be utilizing the tools, and created to benefit as many people as possible. They should be able to handle basic search functionality, and if that’s all you want to do, off-the-shelf site search tools may be right for you.

But, as we mentioned in our previous blog, a customized site search is a relatively simple way to optimize your customers’ on-site experience and dramatically increase conversions. 

Custom site searches are personalized not just to your industry, but to your individual business. This means that your custom site search is made with the exact features you want to have — and doesn’t have irrelevant features which would come included in the one-size-fits-all approach. This could end up saving both time and money, streamlining processes and getting rid of redundancy.

Another issue with out-of-the-box site search is that it is the opposite of agile. What you get is what you get, and because your company is just one of a vast many that utilize the service, expectations of improvements based on your specific needs should be very low. As Evoluted notes, “Off-the-shelf’ solutions are for the mass market — as one of many customers, functions that you need may not be available. The software options are vast but there may be operations you want now or in the future, that are just not possible. This means adapting your business to fit with your ‘out-of-the-box’ software, rather than developing a site to meet exactly your objectives.” Custom site search is built from the ground up, with your objectives in mind from the very start. Plus, it is agile, with the ability to adjust quickly to your needs.

The goal of a great site search is to get visitors to find what they are looking for faster and easier. Features, such as typo-tolerance, auto-complete, machine-learning NLP, and customizable search, help achieve these goals. (If you want to learn more about these features, read our free eBook, How To Raise The Bar With Custom Search). But, possibly the most important reason to turn to custom site searches is what you will learn from the data that comes with it.

As we all know by now, data is king, and in using custom site search, the data generated from your visitors’ searches can yield incredible insights to those that harness it. As iAcquire notes, “the analytical benefits derived from mining on-site search data should not be overlooked. The data available from onsite search activity can provide valuable insights into how your visitors think and behave.” 

You can learn how visitors are searching for information, the wording they use, the number of times they search, and the conversion ratio. You can learn what searches do and don’t result in matches and further goods and/or services they are looking for in conjunction with their original search, greatly improving on-site suggestions. You can learn top search terms and the percentage of visitors that click on the results page. Essentially, you can build consequential data profiles that give deep insights to helping your customers find what they need. Furthermore, the data collected on their search behavior can help guide your site UX and craft decisions on what elements of your business to focus on and market.

The best part of data collection through custom site search is that the data collected is proprietary, meaning that the competitive edge that this data brings cannot be duplicated by a competitor, which is entirely possible with out-of-the-box site search tools.

Custom site search is easy to employ with the right partner, and is definitely worth exploring. Lineate specializes in custom site search tools that can match exactly what you are looking to do. Reach out to a technology solutions expert today to learn more about how a custom site search plan can help your business.


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