What is site search and do I need it?

Digital Marketing & SEO
August 31, 2020

We're all familiar with the power of search - heck, whenever we're curious about something, the first thing that springs to mind is to 'Google it!', or in other words, search for the answer. But what about site searches? Is spending time and money on a site search integration worth it? Let's find out!

When building a site, we like to think about it like building a house. Your walls, floors and roof are essential, but what extras do you want to add? While things like site search, social enhancements and third-party integrations often are an afterthought, they can really add to the user experience of the site and make or break it once it's up and running!

That's why when we build a site, we strip it right back to basics. We chat with you about your users, their journey and what will help them use the site & increase conversions. Enter, site search - one of the greatest enhancements that can decrease the bounce rate and increase conversions!

Site search is essentially a functionality that allows your users to search your site or product catalogue with speed! Not only does it work as an index function, but a good site search is tailored to your specific site to guide how a user finds their way around it.

Research shows that having a site search functionality can reduce your bounce rate by 12% and boost your conversion rate by up to five times! And it makes sense too. By giving your users the tools they need to find exactly what they're looking for, they're more likely to hang around for longer and spend more money with you.

While search is something that we use every day, a lot of us may take it for granted! In fact, anybody who's been tasked with the job of building a search functionality will know just how complex it is. It's important to remember search is part of the user experience on your website or application and visitors expect the best or they may turn to a competitor instead.

So, What Are the Site Search Options?

Until around 18 months ago, Google was the API of choice for site search for small to medium websites because not only was it easy to use, but it was familiar for users and accurate. But low and behold, this service was turned off, so now we're faced with the question, “what's the best site search option to use?”. Let's check out your options…

Bing is Fine

Yep, old-school Bing is fine. Just fine. It does the job well and is budget-friendly, but it's not going to blow the socks off your website visitors.

If you don't currently have any search on your site and your budget is very limited, then Bing could be the integration for you. Talk to us and we can help configure & install Bing to have you up and searching on your site in no time.

The Alternatives are Better

There's now a wealth of alternative cloud search engines that provide a number of advantages over Bing. By integrating your own site search option, you're not at the mercy of a corporation's algorithm and what they see as important. You take the reins and control what is indexed on your site, how and when. You can even choose to promote content that you consider important to your brand, which is great for eCommerce stores.


At Terabyte, we're busy implementing Sajari for a number of clients. We like it for the great features and competitive price.

Starting at around US$79 per month, Sajari is powered by AI and machine learning to improve searches over time which means better search results for your customers. It's fully flexible and allows you to build your interface, as well as boost or promote content in search results. One of our favourite features is that it's analytics-friendly so you can find out what your users are searching for, what's working and where your site could use some TLC.

Site Search 360

This site search option is another favourite of ours and definitely worth your attention! At a slightly cheaper price point of US$39 per month, Site Search 360 still has all the bells and whistles.

This search integration gives you full control over the design and search results, so you get to decide what result content you want to show and how it's structured. It also allows you to tag your schema based on CSS, so there are no changes required to your code, plus, they support voice search which is becoming more and more popular! With a great analytics view, mobile-ready integration and a stellar onboarding & training programme, Site Search 360 is ready to add to your site and get searching.

If you’re interested in finding the best search option for your site, let’s chat search!

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