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Why – and How – You Should Replace Google Site Search Now

Website store owners everywhere are looking for answers since the announcement of the pending demise of Google's Site Search. In case you didn't get the memo, the Internet giant is no longer selling their popular site search as of April 1, 2017. One year from that date, the service will completely cease to exist. If you're one of the thousands of GSS users out there, it's time to look for something else.



Now, if you really don't know why this would be of concern to an online shop owner, let me explain. A website search engine is one of the most consistent ways to ensure sales. Many online shoppers prefer to go directly to a search because they have a particular product in mind. Search-equipped sites have been proven to have a higher conversion rate – that is, a higher percentage of buyers for the number of visitors received.

Why Worry?

worry
So, with a year to find a replacement, why be in a hurry? That's a valid point and the fact is, I'm not saying you should be in a panic. According to Google, that on-site search engine you've counted on for all these years should continue to function until you find a good alternative. The thing is, in today's online marketplace you need more than just a site search.

What GSS Didn't Offer

offer

For online entrepreneurs with goods to sell, a website search is only half of the equation. Getting the right products in front of the shoppers quickly is important, but without knowing how effective that search is, you're flying blind.

As sophisticated as GSS was, it didn't include any way to collect and analyze all that search data. Sure, they have a separate analytics service, but not only does it require you to add code to each of your pages, you'd have to sort through results to determine which hits were due to the on-site search engine. That's one of the problems with stand-alone services.

Integration is your Friend

integration

GSS is still an incredibly versatile site search tool and it's a shame it will be going away. On the other hand, recent technologies like cloud-based computing have made integrated apps much faster and less taxing on hosting accounts. This opens up a whole world of possibilities that are changing the way online merchants, among other entrepreneurs, are doing their jobs. Those changes are for the better and you should be taking advantage of them.

For instance, if you're using a website search that provides suggestions as your visitor’s type, it's already recording and analyzing data. Wouldn't it make sense to use that data in your own analytics program? Imagine how valuable those insights would be for your merchandising.

Search data can be called up graphically in a dashboard. You can use this information to determine your product placement, purchasing, and promotions, then monitor the results to build strategies that boost your sales. There's nothing like taking your users' searches, progress and purchases to show you just exactly what's working and what isn't.

Customization is also your Friend

customization

How well does GSS “fit” with your online store? Wouldn't it be nice to have a sophisticated, visually-oriented search that looked like it belonged to you instead of carrying a big entity's branding?

With all the great e-commerce platforms available these days, a one-size-fits-all solution isn't really a possibility. For the big names like WooCommerce, Mangento, and WiX, add-ons can simplify the process of installation and integration. For the entrepreneur using a more basic solution like Miva, or a custom-developed platform, that becomes more difficult.

There is a handful, relatively speaking, of developers out there that provide custom versions of their site search engines. The best of these versions are easy to install, reduce server load with cloud-based routines and don't affect the way your store operates.

There's More to Offer Your Visitors

customers

With the technological innovations mentioned above and others, not only can you utilize the search data, you can provide a more robust and enjoyable experience for your potential customers. Suggestions can be rolled out faster than ever before. Auto-generated filters can refine results. Visual connections can be made with thumbnails in all the results. Details can be reviewed from the search results. Buying can be expedited for shoppers who've located the items they want.

New and improved website search engines are delivering much more than ever before, which means higher profits for the online shop owners who use them. Many are lightweight additions that don't interfere with your site's functionality or require any changes to your code. Customization makes them integrate seamlessly with the look and feel of your storefront.

Why Wait?

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Now that you know there are real – and more complete alternatives to Google Site Search, why keep flogging that dead horse? It served its purpose. It was great while it lasted, but the clock is ticking toward the day it will cease to exist.

One of the most complete, custom solutions we've found is Instant Search+ Custom. It can replace GSS quickly and easily and will give you the set of merchandising tools you've been missing all along. Installation can be completed within a couple of hours and there's no programming required on your part. With applications like this available, why wait almost a year to take full control of the success of your e-commerce site?

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Charlie Brown

Charlie is a professional writer with many years of experience working in the web design and development field. He also enjoys writing about SEO and digital marketing.

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