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  1. #1
    Affiliate Marketer Rogi's Avatar
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    Growing Importance of Site Search
    I know there was a discussion here recently about how important search 'within your site' is....

    Has anyone had a look at the internetretailer site? (www.internetretailer.com)
    Almost all articles on their home page refer to 'site search'.

    So my question is.... how important is site search on your sites? For those of you who have the stats and figures, is anyone able to share a % figure of how many of their page views are due to search results, how many visitors of your total visitors use search and how often search results in click-throughs

    Another thing, do you all base your site search engines on 'product names' and keywords,etc? or are you using other methods to improve results?

    As internetretailer is showing (with all those articles... and the growing investments of site search companies, etc) site search is IMO going to be the hottest thing for companies (ie; google might take this market and offer a 'site search' that can connect to your own database, etc)

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I agree that it's very important. I just looked at the stats on one of my sites, and the index page got the most traffic (15% of total), but the search results page was a close second (10% of total). No other single page got more than 1% of the total.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Does anyone know of a free program we can use to run a site search application on our sites, perhaps one done in php?
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    Growing importance? It has always been important.

    A little tip. If you use mysql/php (which you should be doing), you can just use mysql's fulltext search feature to search your dbs (even tie in amazon api). Then capture all those search terms. Every so often run a select on that table and see the most popular searches (or automate this but that can get complicated). If any stand out, add some place on your site to link to that search (always make it so you can feed the search engine), and if the popular search was for "Star Wars" label that link "The Star Wars Store". But make sure that link to that search does not getting added to the table (have a trigger you can add to the url (ie. search.php?terms=star%20wars&noadd=T or something similar) otherwise the feedback loop will be broken.

    This is one of those times the people running static sites are at such a major disadvantage I cannot believe they do not learn php/mysql. On my sites I have the obvious categories, but I also have what are essentially user created categories.

    Yes, this is not a simple project for a first time php/mysql user, but it is also really not that complicated, and shows the power of mysql/php - this is not something you could do using some of the other products promoted here. Understanding this and implimenting it, is a top 10 tip you will get here on ABW.

    Chet

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    Having a site search can also help you know what your customers are looking for.
    Hi, I'm a signature.

  6. #6
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    And for those who don't know mysql/php, there is always Google. They offer a free search box (with site search), or you can use the Adsense search box which will also search your site. Won't give you the details of what is searched for, but will offer the feature to your visitors.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager
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    Because it has a high perceived value it's important to have.
    But in practice it often has little practical value -- see these articles from one of my favorite usability gurus for details on why searches fail:

    http://uie.com/articles/learn_to_search/
    http://uie.com/articles/users_search_once/

    While search can be a great compliment to a sound taxonomy, I don't believe it should be relied on to replace one.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador DesignerWiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celicaphile
    Having a site search can also help you know what your customers are looking for.
    BINGO!

    Not only is it an instrumental tool, any serious webmaster will or should always include an internal site search tool function. Whether it be a free, or paid search function tool ... it's an invaluable tool to monitor your viewers search habits and add or expand the site content accordingly.

    I myself have been surprised to see certain keyword search phrases that had been searched for repeatedly that might have been otherwise overlooked had it not been for the internal site search tool function.

    As far as stats are concerned, our site receives an average of 12.06% traffic from the online search engines, but our internal site search tool get's a whopping 20.81% usage from our site visitors keyword searches.

    Surprisingly, a high number of these keyword searches lead to alternative click throughs to "non-searched" keyword phrases from the derived query results that are shown to them ... after the relevent keywords are printed on the top fold (first page/placement position).

    So, my recommendation is that all sites should include an internal site search engine function tool whether the webmaster see's any value in it or not.
    Ray Thomas
    Webmaster Resources: http://DesignerWiz.com
    ABW Board Category: Programming / Coding
    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=190

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I recently posted a response to the same question here:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...870#post438821

    I agree with chetf that fulltext is a great way to go. It offers fantastic results and is very flexible. Some good advice pertaining to saving each search to a separate table. I do this myself to keep track of what people are searching for. It's very useful information.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourthWorld
    Because it has a high perceived value it's important to have.
    But in practice it often has little practical value -- see these articles from one of my favorite usability gurus for details on why searches fail:

    http://uie.com/articles/learn_to_search/
    http://uie.com/articles/users_search_once/

    While search can be a great compliment to a sound taxonomy, I don't believe it should be relied on to replace one.
    I agree that a solid category structure is imporant, especially for search engine spiders. I took a look at those articles and they're both over 3 years old, so I really can't give them any credit by today's standards. I'd be interested to read these same cases today. The internet has changed quite a bit and I'm sure people are much better at searching than they were 3 years ago.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  11. #11
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Fulltext search =
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    "I myself have been surprised to see certain keyword search phrases that had been searched for repeatedly that might have been otherwise overlooked had it not been for the internal site search tool function."

    And when I saw these internal search results I would further optimize my pages to improve navigation for my visitors, thus causing an increase in external search engine results.
    ~Ernie

  13. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I keep track of internal searches and what people click on from the search results. I use that to automatically improve the placement of the most frequently clicked items within the search results, and also for keyword research. I do similar things with keywords from search engine result pages.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

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