What’s the Failed Search Rate on Your Web Site?
If a failed search term appears more than three times, it probably warrants human review. Common mistakes include misspellings of brand or item names, especially with users where English isn’t their first language. For each failed but legitimate search term, create a redirect to the page you think the users wanted. If they wanted to know “shipping and handling (S&H) rates” and typed in “freight rates,” you’d most likely redirect them to your S&H information page. If they wanted “Lamborghini floor mats,” but spelled the brand name wrong, you wouldn’t hesitate to send them to the appropriate product page.
So, as you manually review failed search terms and build redirects, you fix that failed search term for future users. Over time — ideally no more than a month! — your redirect database builds and your search failure rate approaches statistical zero.
If you’re one of the B-to-B marketers not paying attention to this detail, you have a big opportunity before you. If you are paying attention to this detail, I’d love to know how you’re doing statistically.
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Terence Jukes is president of Ability Commerce, a 140-person firm that designs, builds and runs e-commerce and related marketing programs for catalog companies. He can be reached at TerryJ@AbilityCommerce.com.