Store Search Best Practices

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Search Settings
The Search Settings area is the first and simplest place to change your store's results. We cover the area in more depth in this article if you need help getting started. Here, we will simply discuss recommended practices of a few key areas.

1.) Search Type: For most users, you will want to use Both Full Text and Like search. This allows the user to find quick, relevant results even with shorter 2-4 character words, as well as allowing them to use operators like AND and OR should they choose.

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2.) Default Product Sort: It is typically recommended that you stay with Relevance. Think about this from the point of view of your customer - they want the most relevant result based on what they were looking for, not necessarily what you have deemed most important with Featured or what comes first in the alphabet.

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3.) Default Content Sort: Much like the product sort (and for the same reasons) it is typically recommended to stick with Relevance here as well.

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Product Details
Having accurate product details is not just a great way to optimize your store for search engines. It's also a great way to make sure customers can search for the product they're looking for once on your site.

1.) Product Name: Make sure the product name is relevant and is something customers would search for. If you are using a part number, is that something readily known to your customers? For example, 123XYZ might get searched, but Widget Part Number 123XYZ is more helpful in case the customer is not searching by part number or doesn't know the part number.

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2.) Brand: Many customers search by Brand, so make sure you have a brand listed where appropriate, or even make it a part of your title if you think it's relevant enough.

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3.) Product Descriptions: A good product description is a great way to inform your customers about your products and encourage them to buy, but it is also a factor in what they find while searching your site. If you're not sure what to write, we have an article on the topic, as well as a blog post from one of our partners!

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3.) Search Keywords: We will cover this in greater depth in the sections to follow, but search keywords are a great tool in aiding your customers' searches.

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Search Keywords
Edit any product in your store and navigate to the Other Details tab. Here you will find a Search Keywords box where you can add additional search terms to help users find your product. This is an extremely useful tool for several issues:


  • Keywords that are being searched, but aren't being associated with your products (more on how we find this information in the next section).

  • Commonly misspelled products

  • Specific part names or numbers

  • Common variations of a search term, i.e. searching for "Kleenex" when you carry your own brand of "tissues."


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Keywords Without Results
Your store's Analytics section has several useful items in the In-store Search area. For more details on this area in general, you may want to reference this article but for now we are going to see how you can use Keywords Without Results to your advantage.

Keywords Without Results tells us that customers were searching for something and didn't find what they were looking for. We can make adjustments with our Search Keywords to make sure that next time the customer finds at least one relevant product (and hopefully buys it!).

For this example, we will reference two test products - test nontax100 and testtax100.

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1.) In your store's Control Panel go to Analytics -> In-Store Search

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2.) Find the Keywords Without Results tab. In this example, we see the term taxable has no results.

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3.) Searching taxable on the front end of the site, we find that, indeed, no results are found.

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4.) Knowing that we have two taxation-based products, it's logical to assume the searchers were looking for the product testtax100 so we can edit that product, navigate to the Other Details tab and add taxable to the Search Keywords section.

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5.) Searching taxable on the front end of the site again, we find that now our product is found!

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The exact product for which the customer was looking will not always be so obvious, of course, but you always have the ability to add these keywords to multiple products if you are unsure. The important thing is that you are refining the process for your customers based on their searching patterns and making the process more effective.



Poorly Performing Keywords
Your store's Analytics section has several useful areas in the In-store Search section. For more details on this area in general, you may want to reference this article but for now we are going to see how you can use Worst Performing Keywords to your advantage.

Unlike the Keywords Without Results above, these keywords are getting results for the customer. Unfortunately, they haven't been very effective because your customers aren't clicking the results! We can make adjustments with our Search Keywords to make sure that next time the customer finds the results more relevant and starts clicking through.

For this example, we will reference the test product freeship.

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1.) In your store's Control Panel go to Analytics -> In-Store Search

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2.) Find the Worst Performing Keywords tab. In this example, we see the term free has no results.

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3.) Searching free on the front end of the site, we find that, many products come up before freeship. They may have that very common term in their information, while the product we want found (freeship) does not have that exact term anywhere and is therefore seen as less relevant.

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4.) We can edit the freeship product, navigate to the Other Details tab and add free to the Search Keywords section.

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5.) Searching free on the front end of the site again, we find that freeship is now the first result!

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The exact product for which the customer was looking will not always be so obvious, of course, but you always have the ability to add these keywords to multiple products if you are unsure. The important thing is that you are refining the process for your customers based on their searching patterns and making the process more effective.



Search Term Corrections
Your store's Analytics section has several useful areas in the In-store Search section. For more details on this area in general, you may want to reference this article but for now we are going to see how you can use Search Term Correction to your advantage.

This area contains suggestions that users clicked when they typed in an inaccurate search. They will receive a "did you mean?" suggestion and click through from there. We can make adjustments with our Search Keywords to make sure that next time the customer finds results more efficiently.

For this example, we will again reference the test product freeship.

freeship2013-07-04_1228.png

1.) In your store's Control Panel go to Analytics -> In-Store Search

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2.) Find the Search Term Corrections tab. In this example, we see the term fre was searched, and corrected as Free.

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3.) Searching fre on the front end of the site, we find that we don't see our product freeship, and we are recommended to search Free.

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4.) We can edit the freeship product, navigate to the Other Details tab and add fre to the Search Keywords section given that it is a commonly misspelled search term.

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5.) Searching fre on the front end of the site again, we find that freeship is now the first result!

misspelledafter2013-07-04_1709.png

The exact product for which the customer was looking will not always be so obvious, of course, but you always have the ability to add these keywords to multiple products if you are unsure. The important thing is that you are refining the process for your customers based on their searching patterns and making the process more effective.

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Mike F., Alum

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Posted 5 years ago

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SUE5759

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Why is the product search function so awful?.


Why is the product search function so awful? When running a search for products in my store, I come up with hundreds of items I was not searching for. I've even tried searching for the SKU numbers and it doesn't work. Not only does it do nothing to find the actual products people are looking for, it looks highly unprofessional. I have called Homestead customer support and was sent an email about how to refine the search but it does nothing.
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Mike F., Alum

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I am not sure what advice you where give, but try the steps here if you have not done this yet.
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SUE5759

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
store search.


Mike, Since you seem to respond to a only a few threads about Big Commerce, I thought I'd try here. Since changeover, our site is almost unusable. We sell antique auto parts and are completely unable to search for the products in our store. When searching for a product, we get results of hundreds and sometimes thousands when there should be just a few hits at most. I've called Homestead customer service several times, I've even called Big Commerce and I seem to be met with an unconcerned head scratch. I want to like Big Commerce, it's nice looking and there are some functions that could really help us, but none of that is going to matter if customers can't find the products they are looking for and which leads them to leave our site and find the products elsewhere.

Note: This topic was created from a reply on the Is this change required – and why now? topic.

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