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28.09.2021 | News Five must-haves for successful website search

A good website must not only look good, but also make information easily accessible. The search function plays a central role in this. Search specialist IntraFind explains which features a good website search should have.

Companies often give too little or no thought to the search function on their websites and usually use the rudimentary standard search of the content management system, much to the chagrin of visitors. Yet a proper search can increase the duration of visits and improve the conversion rate. Webmasters should also keep in mind that users who can quickly and easily find the information they are looking for are more likely to return. The following five features ensure a very good user experience when searching websites.

1. User friendly search

The most important thing about a search function - besides the results, of course - is the user experience. A good user experience includes that the search function can be found immediately. It should also be easy for everyone to use and be appropriately accessible. By clicking on the search icon, the visitor on mobile devices opens the keyboard directly for entering the search term, which saves time and is more intuitive. An automatic completion of the term to be found, ideally with several suggestions, also contributes to easier handling of the search. Automatic correction of typing errors in entries is also an important feature. Last but not least, the search should also be fast: In the web of the 21st century, speed is a must.

2. Search with added value - and AI

A good search function shows matching results to the search term. An excellent search, on the other hand, offers visitors real added value. Effective search technology is not only capable of analyzing search terms and presenting matching content. It also adds hits for related search terms and matching content to the results and can provide supplementary information about the search visually in a knowledge graph. In addition, artificial intelligence ensures that the relevant, expected hits appear at the top of the hit list. Above all, website operators should keep an eye on their target group and their own portfolio: Large corporations require different search mechanisms on their corporate website than web stores or news portals. If the search is tailored to the target group and its information needs, it offers greater added value than any standardized text search. In addition, the search technology should be scalable, as the volume of content often grows over time. Many search systems break down when a certain volume of content is reached.

3. Search across sources

Websites are rarely self-contained systems. Most homepages draw on external information sources such as image databases or PIM (Product Information Management) systems to present content to the user. Larger companies in particular also have subsidiaries with their own homepages or dedicated websites for products. It is therefore essential for the search to be source-agnostic, i.e., to be able to access these different resources. To do this, it needs interfaces that can be integrated into all potential information sources.

4. Multimedial search

Most websites are multimedial. Even authors of blog posts usually add at least one image and perhaps an embedded video to their textual content. The search function on the website should therefore also be multimedia-based and be able to find and assign content based on metadata as well.

5. Multilingual search

Modern search engines not only access multiple sources and content formats, but also cope with as many languages as possible. Often, companies operate either multiple language versions of the same homepage or different websites depending on the addressed region. Either way, in order to pick up all potential visitors at best, the search function must be multilingual. If it then offers a similarly high-quality selection of results in each language, it is right on target.

"A good search function on the website is the be-all and end-all for companies," explains Franz Kögl, board member at IntraFind. "Internet users are used to search engines like Google, Bing or DuckDuckGo and expect a similar service on other websites. Through good search, companies maximize the time spent, conversions and return rate of website visitors - creating real value for the business."

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