Your website visitors have high expectations of quickly finding the products or content they need. However, visitors often struggle to figure out exactly what terms they should use in the search box. Auto Complete, which we’ve talked about in the past, shows suggestions as you type into the search box. Another way to help visitors is to use related searches, which are search suggestions that are shown on the search results page. Related searches can help people find just the right search term, helping remove ambiguity in the query and adding a little serendipity.

For instance, on our customer’s site, Century Novelty, a visitor might search for “graduation favors.” That’s a big category, so the search results for this term would include several related search suggestions designed to narrow the search, or lead the visitor in a slightly different direction:

Related search suggestions encourage site visitors to browse products or content that they might not know about, which can lead to higher-value orders and greater customer satisfaction with your site. Our own research with customers using our Related Searches shows that about 25% of people that search will click on a related search suggestion. That tells us that people find these suggestions useful.

The data for related search suggestions comes directly from your site visitors’ own search behavior – the correlation between search terms entered by visitors, and the products or content they ultimately view. We suggest displaying related search suggestions at both the top and bottom of the search results page. By displaying them at the top, they can help visitors immediately after they’ve entered a query. At the bottom, they provide helpful alternatives if the user has scrolled through the page of results and not found what they want. You can see this placement example on the Century Novelty site by clicking here.

Related searches can also be shown with each search result. You can see an example of this at Green Mountain Coffee:

These same search suggestions can be shown on the product page itself, and used as a navigational aid to find related content. Here is an example from NRS, shown at the bottom of the product page for a dog life jacket.

Related search suggestions are also helpful on mobile commerce sites. Since space is at a premium on the mobile screen and network speeds can vary, you don’t want to force mobile users to scroll down a long list of results or click through on products or content that don’t match their needs. A prominent list of related search suggestions within mobile search results will shrink the time it takes for a mobile user to browse and buy.

SLI’s own patented Related Search is easy to add to your existing SLI search implementation. Contact your Customer Success Manager to find out more about adding value to site search with related suggestions.

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