Larry Becker takes a deep dive into site search functionality and why it's a vital tool for online retailers in particular. "Tune it up, and it has the potential to be one of the most ROI-positive investments you'll make in your site," he says. "Site search needs to help your visitor choose and buy, as well as find."
Evaluate your site search from the consumer perspective. Is the search box easy to find and on every page? Is it clearly labeled and distinctive from an email sign-up box? Next, try running a simple search and examining the results. Are they accurate and relevant, or too broad or narrow? Becker also suggests offering different kinds of navigation on the search pages. "Some shoppers like guided navigation, others respond to traditional merchandising tactics such as hero product recommendations," he says.
And don't forget to include site search data in your overall analytics as it comes directly from the customer's mouth (or keyboard) and can shed light on things like long-tail keywords and seasonal demand.