We present a lot of new site search tips in our Big Book of Site Search Tips 2012 Edition (BBoSST), but I wanted to stress in this blog the importance of Site Search Relevance. If your search results aren’t relevant to what your visitors are looking for, then the search tips and tricks you implement will not be as effective on your site.

Of all the aspects of site search, relevance is the most important. If you can ensure that your results contain what searchers are looking for, they won’t need to sort, filter, paginate, or perform a related query. However, relevance is one of the most difficult aspects of search to get right. We included a whole section on Relevance in our new BBoSST. You can download it at GetSLIeBooks.com.

This new chapter on Relevance talks about how to observe user behavior data to improve the relevance of your site search results. By examining search data, you can learn that visitors who enter a given search term are likely to click on specific products, and which products these are. Doing this manually however, is a bit tedious to say the least.  Using a site search engine that can rank these products at the top of your search results is the way to go. Ranking results that are more relevant at the top of your site search results page will make it easier for all visitors to find the results they seek. This will lead to an overall improvement in the usability of your site and therefore to greater conversions.

Other things you can do to improve Relevance, is to manually control your search results that matter most to your business through merchandising techniques linked to search terms, and allow users to jump directly to a results page when you know the answer is right. Using landing pages in this way means visitors can view less pages than they would otherwise need to, getting them closer to the purchase.

There are lots of other ways to improve Site Search Relevance. Find out how in our new BBoSST. If you would like to share tips on how to improve Relevance, please leave a comment below.