This week we complete the series of site search tips taken from our “Big Book” free whitepaper (which you can still download at http://www.sli-systems.com/whitepaper/bigbook). As we close out the series, we focus on “Search Page Format & Lay-out” with the following tips. If you’ve tried these or any tips we’ve shared over the past several weeks, please post a comment below and let us know what improvements in your site search performance you might have seen as a result.
- Consider showing larger images when visitors mouse over a thumbnail image in the search results – This is particularly suitable for product searches. Normally on the product page there are large images that allow visitors to see the product detail closely. However, search results pages usually display smaller thumbnail images that are hard to see. By having a large image pop up when your customers mouse over the product listing, they can easily examine the detailed images for all the products shown on the results page without having to click into the product page repeatedly.
- Show search suggestions on the search results page – These are search terms that are related to the term that has been entered and can give people additional ideas for what to search for. We normally counsel our clients to show search suggestions at the top of the page and the bottom of the page, and below each search result. According to our own research, about 25% of site visitors will click on a search suggestion.
- Show video in your search results – More and more sites contain some video content. This content should easily be found in site search results and potentially played directly from the search results page. For example, onlinegolf.co.uk found that visitors who watch video are 85% more likely to buy. When they made the videos available in their site search, video viewership doubled.
- Consider using AJAX to display your search page – By using AJAX, you avoid the need to do a page refresh after each refinement, reordering, view change, next page or subsequent search. A request is sent to the server in the background, and only the data that is required is sent to the browser. This results in a faster, snappier search experience.