Home E-Commerce How to optimize the internal search engine of its site?

How to optimize the internal search engine of its site?

by Sorbaioli
How to optimize the internal search engine of its site?

“This is what the founders of Doofinder claim, with good reason, who thus praise the advantages of having an internal search engine for:

  • increase sales between 10% and 20%,
  • while allowing your customers to easily and quickly find your products on your e-commerce site.

What is an internal search engine?

How an internal search engine works

A search engine (such as Google, Yahoo Search, Bing, etc.) is a tool that allows you to search the web using keywords. This operation is carried out by what is called an indexing robot. It then returns a list of results, ordered by relevance.

The mechanics remain the same for an internal search engine that allows you to search for content on a given site based on keywords.

A “must have” for an e-commerce site

The internal search engine is able to help Internet users find the product they are interested in more easily.

You must therefore highlight it on your site:

  • by placing it prominently,
  • big enough,
  • with a magnifying glass icon so all visitors can easily identify it.
At Sens Nature, the internal search bar on the site is large and accompanied by a magnifying glass

Optimize your conversion rate with an internal search engine

The internal search engine helps with conversion

You should know that the internal search engine of an e-commerce site is a key feature to increase your conversion rate. Thus the prospect will find the product more quickly which will promote the act of purchase.

This conversion issue is all the more important since, according to an article by Marketing Sherpa, the probability of converting visitors into customers is 3 times greater for users of the internal search engine on an e-commerce site. This is a truth that is systematically found on any e-commerce site.

Invest in the relevance of your internal search engine

If there is one word that characterizes good search engines, it would be “Relevance”. That’s the whole point.

Sometimes, we browse an e-commerce site with an “exploratory” spirit. However, to explore a catalog with this state of mind, what better than a search engine that allows the shopper to formulate his wishes directly, and in his terms?

It is therefore logical that e-merchants who invest in their search engine reap better conversion rates…

With this in mind, provide an autocomplete feature

The best internal search engines often have an autocomplete function which allows the user to type only the beginning of a word and the engine suggests several products that may match.

But they also correct Internet users’ spelling errors to offer them one or more products that seem to correspond to what they wanted to write. Optimize your merchandising with an internal search engine

Searchandising, where when the internal search engine promotes product promotion

The search engine is one of the ways for an Internet user to navigate on a site, and it is also a new opportunity for the brand to highlight its “gondola heads” and other promotions of the moment.

We also speak of “searchandising”. The term refers to the joint optimization of internal search and merchandising on an e-commerce site.

  • Not only must the Internet user find the product he is looking for,
  • but also it is necessary to offer complementary products,
  • even with a higher margin, thus increasing the conversion rate and the average basket.
At Doofinder, the internal engine presents several products that the user might like depending on the keyword searched.

The basic good practices of “searchandising”

Although the word “searchandising” seems barbaric at first glance, it is based on fundamental principles of common sense:

  • Reduce the occurrence of “no results” pages: pay attention to your “no results rate” returned by your internal search engine. If the latter is greater than 3%, then this means that you still have room for improvement. Some internal search engine technologies even offer you to use artificial intelligence to improve this KPI.
  • Note the search terms that have poor conversion rates: this may be a sign that you have relevance problems, and that it would be beneficial to work on the order of the results or the nature of the products pushed.
  • Push product recommendation while the visitor searches : consider using the search engine as another “space” to highlight the products you want to push (those with a better margin, a better conversion rate, a higher average basket, etc.)

Go further in terms of “searchandising”

Other advanced practices allow you to put your internal search engine at the service of your e-commerce merchandising:

  • Inject your ongoing promotions visually while the visitor is searching : When running a seasonal campaign, or want to promote specific products/content, make sure the search results feature a banner promotion to attract traffic. attention of your users.
  • In the event of unsatisfactory results, try to redirect the visitor: following the search for Internet users, if you do not have a relevant answer on your site, create shortcuts to other available content, which is related to the intention of the visitor who made the search
  • Adapt the order of the results according to the intention of the Internet user : if a visitor starts looking for a brand on your site, it is wise to adapt the results of your internet search engine so as to display in priority products of the same brand. The logic can be the same if the query contains a color/cut/year/gender etc.
  • Change the results according to the context of the visitor : if you sell online and in store for example, why not adapt the results of your internal search engine according to the stocks available in the store closest to the user? Or if you realize that iPhone holders have higher average purchases than visits on desktop computers, why not give priority to high-end products on Iphone and, on the contrary, the cheapest products on computers?

An internal search engine is used to collect new consumer insights

The internal search engine facilitates your web analysis work

Your internal engine is also a useful tool for analyzing your users’ visits, and better understanding your customers.

In e-commerce, when you have an internal search engine, you can examine several parameters, such as the keywords searched, the time spent on the pages, the bounce rate, the conversion rates, the average baskets….

All these results can be interpreted with Google Analytics : you will know if your site corresponds to customer expectations  and you can optimize  it if the results are not up to your objectives.

A deeper understanding of your customers’ purchasing attributes

As we mentioned above, the data collected by your internal search engine is worth gold.

By analyzing the search terms entered by your visitors, you can more easily understand the intentions / attributes that really push them to make a purchase.

Implementation is child’s play

There are more and more internal search engine publishers, and they are becoming more and more sophisticated. And, surprisingly, setting up the functionality and the tracking part is actually very simple.

Take the Doofinder internal search engine: in 3 clicks you configure the operation for your e-commerce site, then just paste a simple line of code into your HTML template.

Try Doofinder free for 30 days!

On the measurement side, if you use Google Analytics, it’s child’s play: as the step-by-step tutorial indicates, all you have to do is activate the feature in the Analytics parameters and fill in the query parameter used by your e-commerce site (when you do a search on your site, the results URL resumes the query with a parameter like “?s=” or “?q=”.


A powerful (and above all relevant) internal search engine is essential for all sites; today, apart from E-commerce sites, they are even applicable to B2B businesses.

Remember that on average 40% of internet searches are done through the internal engine offered on the site and result in 2.7 times more conversion than if this engine is not used.

The internal search engine is therefore a lever to improve its conversion rate. It is also a relevant vehicle for your merchandising, and a unique way to collect data on the intentions of your visitors.

Increasingly, the internal search engine algorithm learns from user behavior and adapts to understand it. What open a promising future for internal search engines, which may still be on most sites for a long time.

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