Does Your Site Need a Search Feature?

Paul Schetelich

Lead Designer

For your site to gain the approval of visitors, there are a few elements it must have. One of them is a search feature. While just a simple box, a search feature is vital to the usability of your site.

In this article, we are going to discuss the benefits of having a search bar on your site and how to add one, if you haven’t already.

Before we get started on the benefits, let’s talk about what a search function is and why it matters.

The Search Function: Explained

A search bar is a small box that allows users to search your entire site for something specific. This rectangular box can be placed in any obvious location such as the sidebar, footer or header. Unless you have been living under a boulder, you’ve probably had plenty of experience with search functions on other websites and their usefulness.

It’s worth mentioning that having a search function on your website doesn’t offer any SEO benefit. Most features added to your page will offer something (i.e., social media links, contact pages, category links, etc.) but a search box does not. The search engines are unable to crawl through search boxes like they can social media links or category links, so their sole purpose is to benefit the user.

It goes without saying why search features are important. Your website probably has hundreds of pages and posts, and you can’t expect a user to go through them all if they’re looking for specific information.

Even with category links, tag links and related posts, users will still have difficulty finding the information they want from these alone. A search box allows users to plug in various keywords and navigate your entire site effortlessly. The more helpful and useful your site is, the more people will enjoy using it, and the better rankings you will see.

Bottom line: Your website needs a search function.

How to Add a Search Feature

If you haven’t yet added a search box to your website, now is the time to do it. We have easy, step-by-step instructions for you, so there’s no excuse not to take the next step to improving your website.

There are two ways to add a search box: a widget or manually with code. It’s up to you how you want to do it, but generally speaking, you’ll have more options with the latter.

Search Bar Widget

If you run a WordPress site, you can easily add a search bar in the form of a widget. Navigate to ‘WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets’ and you’ll find the default ‘Search’ bar. Drag and drop the bar to the sidebar or footer, depending on what you like.

If you don’t like the default search function, there are options for customization. To change the look, you’ll need to use a WordPress plugin. Download the one of your choice to get extra features and a customized look.

Custom Search Bar

If you have something specific in mind, you may find a custom search bar to be a better fit. In fact, you can use code to match the search box to the design of your website. Here’s how to do it.

Google offers two different methods. The first is free and provides you with a basic search bar that displays AdSense ads that help you earn money. The second is a paid option that gives you more control over how your search bar looks and operates. Also, you don’t have to use the AdSense ads if you don’t want to. The cost is around $100 a year.

To do this, you’ll need to add your URL to Google’s Custom Search page. Google will provide you with an HTML code to add to your website for the search to appear.

Summary

Regardless of the method you choose to get a search function on your website, the two things that matter is that you have one and that it’s visible. Preferably, you want to place your search function in an obvious spot such as a sidebar or footer. If you’re concerned that users may not see the box, you can always invite them to search for a keyword by saying something like “search here” with arrows pointing to the box. This small feature makes it possible for visitors to enjoy your entire site and find the information they’re looking for.

 

About the Author: Paul Schetelich

Since the days of sidewalk chalk and finger paints, Paul has been creatively crafting the art of design. With a B.A. in Graphic Design from Monmouth University and a Masters from the Califano School of Art - Paul quickly moved up the ranks at SEMGeeks from Junior Designer to the Lead Designer. With 4+ years of experience in web design Paul is ready to conquer the digital atmosphere.

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