How Site Search Can Save Money, Improve SEO

Mar 11, 2013 2:34 PM  By

In my previous article about alternatives to replatforming, I discussed the value of site search and navigation in enhancing your ecommerce site’s customer experience. In this article, I’ll tell you how to use site search to extend the life of your current ecommerce platform, and how site search can boost your SEO efforts and create more efficient processes.

If upgrades to your site search and navigation systems can help solve your current ecommerce challenges, then you may be able to postpone a costly and disruptive replatforming purchase indefinitely.

Lakeshore Learning, a provider of learning products for parents and teachers, made the decision to delay purchase of a new ecommerce platform by making greater use of the features in its advanced site search solution. Lakeshore looks to its site search solution to create custom landing pages as well as faceted navigation, to serve the shopping needs of its two key audiences: teachers, who shop by grade level, and parents, who shop by their children’s ages.

Use site search to improve SEO, overall efficiency
Many merchants will decide to invest in a new ecommerce platform because they want to create web pages that are more “search engine-friendly.” However, site search can go a long way toward improving SEO efforts, since it can help online merchants create landing pages that are optimized for frequent web search keywords.

For example, merchants can create natural search landing pages through their site search solution, ensuring the pages are indexed by search engines and giving them more visibility across the web. This helps companies capture additional traffic that they might not otherwise receive.

And because web search users land on pages that are merchandised for their keyword terms, they are far more likely to click through and convert.

Another reason that online merchants consider replatforming is that internal processes have become inefficient, and the belief is that a new platform will help streamline processes and reduce workload. This is true, but these are also tasks that an advanced site search and navigation solution can tackle.

For example, Lakeshore Learning uses site search easily group products onto a website category/landing page. This used to be a cumbersome process that took three to five days, including the time it took for IT to generate necessary reports, a content administrator to handle page setup, and added assistance from the merchandising team. Today, this same process takes just an hour, given the full-service benefits of Lakeshore’s hosted solution.

Likewise, PartySuppliesDelivered.com, a retailer of party supplies and costumes, is using its site search solution to assign business rules on product listing pages.

“With our site search’s guided navigation, the products on our item listing and navigation pages are sorted dynamically and in near-real time based on popularity,” explains Ian MacDonald, the company’s division VP of ecommerce and marketing. “Previously, our merchandisers had to manually decide which product to put first, second, third, and so on. Using site search has saved almost 50% of our time in this area by removing what used to be a highly manual process.”

While site search may not be able to meet every business challenge that can be solved by replatforming, it’s clear that the cost of buying and maintaining a state-of-the-art site search solution is a fraction of the cost of a leading ecommerce platform.

In particular, hosted site search that comes backed by a full-service team of experts, means that implementation is almost seamless and far less disruptive to the business, which further saves time and money.

Terry Costa is vice president of marketing atSLI Systems.