Store Search Best Practices
This guide covers basic steps you can take to make your store's search work to its full potential by helping your customers find what they are looking for, and improving their experience.
These are not steadfast rules and every store is different. These are simply best practices for the majority of stores and you are encouraged to adjust as necessary for your needs.
Search settings can be accessed in Store Setup › Store Settings, under the Search tab.
Default Product Sort — Set to Relevance
Default Content Sort — Set to Relevance
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.
Having accurate product details is not just a great way to optimize your store for search engines — it also makes sure customers can find the products they're looking for once they're on your site.
The weight or importance your store places on different product details are as follows:
- SKU (exact match)
- Product Name (exact match)
- Brand Name
- Keywords (exact match)
- Product Name (partial match)
- SKU (partial match)
- Keywords (partial match)
This means that a customer searching your store for a SKU has a higher likelihood of having exactly the product they are looking for returned to them in the search results than if they search for a keyword.
SKU — SKUs are optional product details which are either defined by the manufacturer of your products or by you as the store owner. If your customers are likely to know your product's SKUs, having this information entered for your products gives your customers an easy way to search for and find your products.
See Adding Product SKUs for more information about adding SKUs to products and variants.
Product Name — Your product names should be relevant and something customers would search for. If your products have part numbers, avoid using only the part numbers for the names as opposed to something more descriptive. For example, 123XYZ might get searched, but Widget Part Number 123XYZ is more helpful for customers who are not searching by or don't know the part number.
Brand — Many customers search by Brand, so make sure you one listed where appropriate, or even make it a part of your title if you think it's relevant enough.
See Managing Brands for more information on creating brands and applying them to products.
Product Descriptions — Writing a good product description is not only 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 possible, include the following information:
- Dimensions and weight — exact sizes reduce shopper questions
- Materials/ingredients and care instructions — if the care instructions or ingredient list is long, consider uploading a picture as a secondary product image
- What’s included in the box — parts and accessories
- Warranty information and certifications
- Where the product was made
Search keywords are additional search terms you enter to help customers find your products. They help to account for instances that can occur when customers are searching your store.
Enter search keywords for your products by going to Products › View and editing an existing product or Products › Add if creating a new product, then clicking on the Other Details tab.
Keywords Without Results
The Keywords Without Results report provides you with a list of terms customers searched for that did not give them any results. To access this report go to Analytics › In-Store Search, then click on the Keywords Without Results tab.
In the example image above, we see that customers who have searched for vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry were shown a message saying their search did not match any products.
Using the methods described earlier, you can now add these keywords to any products you would like returned if a client happens to search for that term.
Worst Performing Keywords
The Worst Performing Keywords report provides you with a list of terms customers searched for that did return results. However, the results do not appear to be helpful as customers are not clicking any of them. To access this report go to Analytics › In-Store Search, then click on the Worst Performing Keywords tab.
To get the most out of this report, you should review the keywords listed for any that provide you with an idea of what the customer was looking for when using that search term. Then, perform a search using that term to see which products are returned. You can then add that keyword to any products you would like returned if a client happens to search for that term.
Search Term Corrections
The Search Term Corrections report provides you with a list of search terms which customers entered that caused them to receive a “Did you mean: ?” suggestion, which they then clicked. To access this report go to Analytics › In-Store Search, then click on the Search Term Corrections tab.
Enable Search Suggest In order for suggestions to be made to your customers, Enable Search Suggest? must be enabled in your store's Display Settings.
In the example image above we can see that a customer searched for "derss" and was shown the following message.
The customer then clicked the dress link and was shown a product which matched that term. If appropriate, you can now add "derss" as a keyword to any products you would like returned if a customer searches for that term.
- Keywords that are being searched, but aren't included in your products' details
- Commonly misspelled products
- Specific part names or numbers
- Common variations of a search term, i.e. customers searching for Kleenex when you carry your own brand of tissues.