How Search Can and Should Drive User Engagement

Google introduced countless innovations in the field of Search and changed the world of information consumption forever. But the Google Search experience remains strictly a Search experience, never having shifted into the realm of Discovery — in particular with regard to large content-rich websites.

Implementing Discovery into Search to Drive Engagement

Since the early to mid-2000s, social networks have contributed significantly to the development of the web user’s experience, using Discovery as a key product feature and then turning it into successful business model. When given an on-site Search experience that combines content discovery, it turns out people stay on board. Implementing Discovery into Search, particularly for content-rich sites such as news and entertainment outlets, is a strong driver of user engagement, which can then translate into advertising dollars.

Zoomd has created a visually engaging on-site search experience for content-rich websites.

Here are the top five ways Zoomd helps publishers use Search to drive user engagement:

  1. Zoomd’s search engine is built with flexibility and customization in mind. Each publisher can customize the Zoomd Search tool’s look and feel and how it should behave for the site’s specific needs. Customization addresses the needs of each publisher with regards to optimizing user engagement, monetization, branding, etc.
    Live Example
    FOX 7 News
    Austin, Texas
  2. You can preview an article’s content even before going to the article’s page. Result previews offer space for related articles, tags, categories, social buttons, and related sponsored content.
    Live Example
    Sport FM
  3. A wide variety of additional content, e.g., sponsored content and other related content from within the site is displayed as a native part of search results.
    Live Example
    Times Leader
  4. Advanced Search capabilities: lets publishers fine-tune and configure how Search behaves and displays. This includes smart filters (by category, article type, dates, etc.) and layout (such as rows or tiles), sorting the order of search results (by relevance or date), and more.
  5. Multiple sets of search results are displayed by default, e.g., “Most recent” and “Most relevant”. This way the user can easily focus on what he or she is interested in the most.
    Live Example
    FOX 7 News
    Austin, Texas

Zoomd Search was built entirely for the purpose of increasing a site’s user engagement. Users are encouraged and prompted to click around more, visit more pages and stay longer on site. This enhanced user experience keeps users coming back again and again and again.

While consuming news and entertainment online has become such an integral part our lives, it’s sometimes fun to reminisce about the days when Google began uploading and “organizing the world’s information,” as they used to say.

We’ve come a long way.

Google to sunset Google Site Search by end of 2017

On April 1st, Google effectively ended Google Site Search (not a joke); a product web publishers have depended on as their onsite search utility since 2008.

Image result for Google Site Search

What does this mean for the future of onsite search? Does the move leave the door open for more innovative site search solutions that better serve the preferences and UX standards of today’s users? Absolutely. Why did they do it? It’s not entirely clear.

But, what we do know is that as the company phases out GSS, they will be offering a similar Search service called Custom Search Engine (CSE). CSE will be a free advertising-based service in contrast with GSS, which charged customers based on number of searches annually. But CSE is a step in the wrong direction for site search, especially for content-heavy media sites.

Today, users have grown accustomed to rich visual experiences while searching for and consuming news and information. This change in taste and experience was lost on Site Search. And as sites like Facebook and Twitter turned content exploration and discovery into an art, and in fact, a science, Site Search became outdated. Actually, the term “Search” is a bit outdated – a relic of the nineties, when a handful of very smart and forward thinking people were still uploading and organizing the world’s information. But the need for a site search function is still there. It just evolved; and Google has chosen not to continue down this new road.

When we integrate the concept of discovery into the act of searching on a content rich site, not only do we create a more valuable experience for the user, we allow web publishers to make their sites more engaging and stickier. This increases page views per visit, keeps people on site longer and decreases bounce rates.

Recently, Zoomd decided to take Site Search to its logical next generation. Zoomd offers a visually engaging user experience and a highly customizable site-search and discovery solution for content-rich websites. We deliver more page views per visit, more return visits, longer time on site, and lower bounce rates for media sites such as CNN Greece ( and in Austin, Texas. We’ve also added monetization to the product, making it a win-win for both users and publishers.

Site Search: A missed opportunity for great user experience

Today, site search is considered broken. Website owners large and small are compelled to include search bars on their site. Users generally ignore them, and no one makes too much of a fuss. Expectations of what a search experience should be like are high, thanks to Google. But the reality on websites is something very different. Even “Google-powered” site search tools don’t live up to the Google gold standard for intuitive excellence. Website visitors need a different search experience, one that helps them connect better to organizations and helps direct them exactly to the content they need – an article, a piece of information, a phone number, the latest on a certain topic, and more. Website owners have given up on search and are missing an opportunity to invest resources on improving site navigation, to help users find what they need.


However, some bright spots do seem to emerge in the site search world. The simple reality is that when online shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for, they can’t buy it. This blunt fact has fueled intense and sophisticated search innovation in the online industry. Out of basic business necessity, much effort, research and resources have been devoted to making ecommerce site search an online shop’s principle conversion tool. Advanced search technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) and semantics have led to significant increase in ecommerce volume. It’s proven to be a win-win experience for both customers and vendors.

In a paraphrase to the statement above, when engaged readers can’t get more of what they are interested in, they just go to visit a different website. The same technology that is being used to power up ecommerce, can be used to improve user experience on all sites. As already been proven in the field of online shopping, great sophistication and technology can be harnessed to offer users the simplest, most straight-forward and intuitive experience.

5 Reasons Why Site Search Is Important For Your Website Customer Engagement

Does your site have site search?
Have you ever wondered what is the importance of a site search?
Is site search just a “nice to have” feature that you can do without?

Human hand indicates the search bar in browser. Aged wooden painted surface on background

We at Zoomd thought that you should know a little more about the benefits of site search to your website, as a marketing and engagement tool.

  1. User Experience– About 87% of search queries are unique, one-time searches and over 90% of people that perform a search DO NOT go past the first page.
    Site search has a critical importance in regards to beneficial customer and user experience. Many site visitors will use the search box without even trying to find what they came for in the navigation menu. Internet users have become so used to search, that it will be almost irrational to forget including a search option on your site .
  2. Time spent on site– Site visitors who use site search are most likely to spend more time on the site because they can actually find what they were looking for. A happy customer will keep spending time on your site; a frustrated one will leave as fast as he came. For example, Zoomd’s users spend 2.5X more time on site than other site visitors.
  3. Action oriented customers– Customers who managed to find what they were looking for are more “action oriented”, and most likely to make an action. A great site search tool will increase the actions taken on your site.
  4. Decrease in bounce rate– Bounce rate is decreasing on sites that use the site search option and not only that, but customers using the search discover additional site information that attracts them to keep viewing more pages.
  5. Analytics information used to increase conversion Analytics such as customers’ search activity and search keywords is a great benefit. According to Stratigent’s web newsletter , the right analysis of users data will help understanding user behavior and needs, which will eventually lead to an increase in conversion.

We hope you found this blog post useful, and that it will help you while setting your site search solution in your website and considering customer engagement.

Have you tried site search? Did it make any difference for your customers? If so, or if you’d like to know more about site search benefits for your site, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Site Search – an Opportunity Neglected by Publishers

Almost all websites, in all shapes and sizes, offer their users the option to perform an internal search that goes through the site’s content and directs the users to their destination. Site-Search is considered a non-questionable feature, a default component to be located on the site’s pages, just as the Home button or the social sharing links. However, for such a must-have feature, it seems to be underutilized by site owners in several aspects.


First, site-search can act as a tool for signaling the most involved users. Users who turn to the site-search have the highest potential of being engaged in what the site has to offer. In fact, this potential is being proven over and over again in all sorts of engagement metrics. Users using the site search tend to visit, on average, more of the site’s pages and they stay there longer than other users. This, together with the fact that these users have a higher chance of returning to the site in the future, compared to users not using the search, suggests that they have a strong interest and confidence in the site. These all make these users excellent candidates for an engagement increase, so efforts in this field should definitely target them.

Second, the search functionality is a great analytical tool for figuring out what the site’s users are in to. Apart from measuring bounce rate, visits, clicks and dollars, nothing will shed more light on the users’ intent than their query strings. Instead of guessing what type of content they’d like to get to, inferred from their navigation patterns, why not just let them tell us this explicitly? This golden information, obtained with zero cost, can direct the site owners when creating new pages and sections and even when handling their SEO targets. Above all, it serves as a unique opportunity to drive users to perform actions. As a matter of fact, the users have already acted, and it’s now the site owner’s chance to strike while the iron is hot.