Lisa Frank

Google has almost single-handedly transformed how we find information on the Internet. Today, most browsers allow you to conduct searches directly from the address bar without even having to go to a search website. This expectation now extends beyond browsers and applies to most websites.

After the main landing page, it is generally accepted that search is the second-most visited area of a website. Therefore, implementing successful search functionality can be a key to your success, and through testing, you can determine which options work best for your site and your users.

The aesthetic aspects of your search results, such as image size, descriptors, and font, can definitely impact a user’s decision to convert, so testing how your results look is important. However, you can also test the back-end functionality of the search components of your website. For example, you can test the impact that different search algorithms have on your site’s conversion.

One of our largest clients tested their search result algorithms to identify which one led to the most conversions. After completing testing, the company incorporated the winning algorithm into their site. Within nine months of implementing the winning algorithm, 20% more searches turned into sales than before. These results are astounding -- test results that deliver much lower conversion rates than those are often considered a success.

As your experimentation culture and optimization strategy evolves, reassess the breadth of what can be tested. Consider your entire site -- the aesthetics of the layout and design as well the back end that powers your site. As our client learned, it’s important to test not only how your site looks but also how it works.

Tags: Back-End Testing