Why Aren’t Searchers Clicking My Site Search Results?

    March 9, 2007

We’ve talked about why searchers click on your site search results, but what about when they don’t? Because sometimes they won’t. If you know why searchers fail to click on your search results, it can help you improve your Web site search.

Here’s a news flash. One of the biggest reasons that searchers don’t click is they get no results at all. Some studies show that more than 20 percent of Web site searches do not yield any results. What’s more, searchers tend to enter second and third queries using many of the same words that were in the first query, which can yield even more “not founds.”

But searchers also fail to click bad results. (What would you expect them to do?) If they don’t click on irrelevant results, what do they do?

  • Look at the next page of results. Relatively few searchers look deeper into the results, but a searcher intensively looking for information is more likely to do so.
  • Search again. Perhaps this sounds like exactly what you want them to do, but the outcome is typically bleak. Studies show that the second search (and subsequent searches) usually fail at even higher rates than the average.
  • Abandon your site. OK, this isn’t a good outcome, either.

We try to talk ourselves into the idea that site search that’s mediocre (or worse) doesn’t cost us. After all, we know where it is, so our customers will find it if they will poke around just a little longer, right? Except they mostly don’t.

If your search engine is not producing the results your customers need, maybe it’s time to try something new. If you’re looking for a free search engine for your Web site, one that is easy to try, provides highly relevant results, and that has a configurable user interface you can change to your heart’s content, try the IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition.


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