Optimising Ecommerce Site Search

Too many merchants will implement their ecommerce site search, check a few searches come back as expected then tick that off the list of things to do. Site search is in fact ripe for optimising and doing so can have positive impacts to a site’s commercial performance.

If you have an ecommerce website on a platform such as Magento or Shopify and have hooked up Google Analytics site search functionality, take a look and see your conversion rates for users who search. I have found on most occasions that those users who perform a site search generally then go on to convert at 3x that of users that don’t. An increase in conversion rate from site-searchers is to be expected – as after all, the user must have an indication of what they are looking for to perform the search in the first place – but a 3x increase shows us how important this functionality is.

So how can site search be optimised?

Manual checks

Take a look through analytics to see what the top 20 searches are and make sure the results that come back are as you would expect. If you have not done this before you will most likely be surprised at some of the results that do, or do not show. Simple checks on a regular basis can give you reassurance the algorithm is working as hard as it can do. If it isn’t, update the settings from your site search provider.

Filtered search results

On your category pages you will most likely have a set of filters and sort by options which can be extremely helpful for users, particularly when there are many products to show. Ensure this same functionality exists on your site search results – most 3rd party search functionality provides this as standard.

Make use of redirects

Ecommerce platforms like Magento allow admins the functionality to override certain search results and direct users straight through to a landing page rather than relying on the algorithm of the site search. For example, if I search for red shoes, why not create a page all about red shoes with imagery, any relevant offers and of course all the red show products – merchandised. This simple piece of functionality is under utilised but can be extremely beneficial to the site conversion rate.


You may well call your product one thing but your customers may refer to it as something else. For example, you might sell a number of sweatshirts but your customers search for ‘jumpers’. Creating synonyms for these terms will ensure that the correct results show as much as possible.

Measure and refine

Use Google Analytics – daily if possible – to make sure what your customers are searching for are optimised on the site. As well an enabling you to see potential commercial opportunities if users are searching for products that you don’t stock – but could do!

These 5 simple tasks can give you a really good upturn in site performance for generally not a great deal of effort so take a look at your site search and optimise!

For help and advice on optimising your ecommerce website get in contact with us using the form below.