Better results means a better experience
Like most CMS solutions, Drupal, WordPress and Joomla include a search component for your site. Free plugins can improve this basic search, making it feel a bit more on-brand and extending its functionality slightly. So why do you keep hearing so much about intelligent search?
We don’t blame you if you didn’t choose your CMS based on its inbuilt search capability. Between the careful deliberations of your UX committee, integrations with your existing marketing tools, and requests from every other department, search probably didn’t top The List.
At the end of the project, there’s a chance your UX designer might have mentioned search. It’s a foundational piece of the way modern website visitors navigate (you can thank Amazon for that). All too often, search is just an afterthought.
If you’ve relied on inbuilt CMS search platform until now, we’re willing to bet that the results are leaving you (and your web visitors) underwhelmed. Think of some really key pages on your site, then search for them using your site’s search bar. Do they appear in the top three results? Are they highlighted in any way? If not, it might be time to look at what Gartner calls Insight Engines.
Modern web visitors know exactly what they want to find when they come to your site. Increasingly, visitors are in the habit of searching a site first to instantly find what they want. Nearly everyone has stumped a CMS search module with a simple search, returning irrelevant results with just a simple query. On the other hand, wading through 17 pages of results trying to find the page you’re looking for is no fun, and probably not happening either.
If site visitors can’t quickly find what they’re looking for, they’re likely to abandon your site. The chances of a return visit are slim to none. With work and the help of many plugins, your CMS search results may eventually surface the results but why go through an exhaustive list of plugins and trials in order to achieve this? There are better tools out there. Search is here to stay and it’s time to make the most of it.
Make it relevant
Search is often the most-used or second-most-used form of navigation on a website. So why is it so often overlooked?
Even with the best navigation, the search function is heavily used by visitors who know what they’re looking for - and these are your most engaged users and prospects. Search is often also the first point of engagement for a visitor on your site. Encouraging users to take advantage of effective search means that they are more likely to find your best content, spend more time on site, resolve issues without contacting support and convert at higher rates.
However, these results can only be achieved when the search engine does what it’s supposed to do: surface the right results at the right time for the right user. An intelligent search solution like Funnelback -- Gartner’s insight engine -- is built for this.
With insight engines, the smart use of AI and machine learning optimize search results, and natural language processing helps users find just the answer they want. This technology allows results to be curated, personalized, scheduled and automatically tuned to present the best options for each user.
More relevant results means more satisfied visitors. And satisfied visitors quickly turn into real results for your business.
There are more than a few reasons to consider an upgrade to an insight engine. These are some of the features that you are unlikely to find in a simple CMS search plug-in:
- Facets make navigating search results simple and intuitive
- Single search across multiple digital content libraries
- Natural language processing and spellcheck
- Sophisticated autocomplete and recommendations
- The ability to reorder, customize or personalize results
- Encouraging self-service and shortening user journeys
- Search analytics dashboard
An increase in public interest (whether positive or negative) can expose an organization’s agility in times of crisis. It also provides an opportunity to embrace the extra attention to build a trustworthy reputation.
Acknowledging that users will be browsing and searching for answers on your site.
More than navigation
The technology under the hood of an intelligent insight engine is vastly different -- and more sophisticated -- than what you’ll find out-of-the-box in your CMS system.
A search solution goes beyond connecting users and data. It delivers real-time insights for your team. An insight engine will empower you to improve the search experience and get to know your visitors. You can see what and when your customers are searching, the results that are getting the most clicks, and gaps in your content.
A search query is a powerful insight telling you exactly what your audience is looking for. Leverage marketing promotions, create search powered content and take control of your search with an insight engine.
Deliver the experience that your customers expect and harness the power of a smarter search.
This blog first appeared on Funnelback.