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How To Optimize Your Website’s Search Bar



How To Optimize Your Website's Search Bar

One of the most important features your website needs is a search bar. When visitors on your site want to find information quickly, they’ll rely on your search bar for help. 

A search bar is a simple feature consisting of an input text field and a submit button. When users look for information and hit the search button or press enter, they’ll be taken to a page that’s populated with relevant content. 

In this post, we’ll look at ways to optimize your search bar so that you create the best user experience possible. Here we go. 


How to optimize your site search bar

Here are some of the top tips you can use as a way to check whether your site’s search bar is helpful. With these features in place, you’ll make visitors happier and more likely to convert to your site.


Position your search bar well

If you look at most websites, the search bar is placed at the top right-hand corner. For most people, the search bar is not the first thing they’ll look for when they’re on your site. They’ll look for one when they can’t find what they want with your navigation menu. 

If your search bar isn’t placed in the right location, it will frustrate your users and possibly make them quit your site and never return. 

So, make sure that your search bar is located in a place where people will intuitively look for it. The best locations are at the top right corner of your main navigation menu. You can also add it to the sidebar of your site and the footer too so that visitors have more than one place to find what they need. 


Create an attractive design

Your search bar’s design is as important as its functionality. Along with making sure that you position your search bar well, create a reasonably sized input field, and use the magnifying glass icon to symbolize the search option since it’s a universal symbol for ‘search’ today. 

One helpful guideline is to allow the text field to fit 27 characters so that they are visible.

Some websites have a fullscreen search bar. This focuses on the activity of carrying out a search and can be an attractive option. 

How To Optimize Your Website's Search Bar

When designing the search bar, make sure that it matches your overall color scheme. However, you don’t want it to disappear in the background. Use contrasting colors to make it visible but not intrusive to your site visitor’s eye.


Make it mobile responsive

Today, more people than ever before access the internet with their mobile devices. It’s the preferred way to search for information and to find out more about a brand. 

Any kind of design issue on your mobile site will not only affect whether customers continue interacting with your brand but will also affect your search engine ranking

Google now has a mobile-first policy which means that it will index the mobile version of your site first and then the desktop version. If there’s an issue with your mobile site, then you’ll lose traffic and potential customers. 

Keeping mobile users in mind, use mobile responsive themes and plugins to boost user experience and help users find information. 


Add autocomplete to your search bar

The less work people have to do on your site, the more they’re going to love it. And an autocomplete feature can help you accomplish just that. Build a search bar so that when your site visitor starts typing in the search bar, the bar displays relevant and interesting results in a preview form. It should also ‘predict’ the remaining characters or words the user may type out. 

Another way to make your search bar helpful is to automatically show filters like tags and categories. For example, if a user starts typing ‘T-shirt’, your search bar could automatically suggest the T-shirt category as a possible autocomplete and search option. This can make things easier for your user and improve their experience with your site.


How to add a search bar

Adding a search bar to your site is a simple job, here are some of the ways you can add one to your site:

  • WordPress already has a widget that you can add to your navigation menu, sidebar, or footer. This gives you a basic search form with good functionality
  • Use Google’s Programmable search engine tool for free and embed it into your site. You can customize it so that it generates results only from the domains you choose
  • Use an awesome search plugin to create a responsive and functional search bar. A good plugin will allow your site visitors to search through different taxonomies and even for comments 


Final Thoughts

Your search bar is a tiny feature on your site that plays a powerful role. Quite often, business owners add it as an afterthought, not realizing that it plays an essential role in helping your customers learn more about you. 

We’ve covered some helpful tips you can use to improve your site’s search bar. Follow the tips here and you’ll make your site more user-friendly for Google and your audience.

Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and co-founder of OptinMonster, a powerful conversion optimization software. He is also the founder of Awesome Motive the company behind several popular small business software that collectively power over 3 million websites and serves billions of page views every month.