How might you tweak your mobile site search this festive shopping season?

Piranha Designs - Friday, November 29, 2019

This time of year is inevitably one when ecommerce sites like yours will be flooded with traffic from those looking to purchase Christmas gifts – and do you know what feature will particularly help them to narrow down the options your store offers, thereby taking them one step closer to converting?

Yep, that’s right; a ‘site search’ function. Indeed, even if you have such a facility on your site already, there’s always scope to improve it – especially if a large proportion of your visitors are discovering your site via their smartphones.

Mobile site search isn’t quite the same as desktop site search

Now, it’s important to appreciate that getting your mobile site search right doesn’t involve simply doing all of the things you would do to improve your desktop site search, merely on a smaller screen.

After all, there are certain issues applicable to mobile site search that don’t apply, as strongly or at all, to desktop site search – particularly given the frequently ‘on the go’ nature of the mobile experience.

On a desktop site, for instance, it’s likely that any site-search feature will include a visible, open search box, like the one that greets you whenever you load up Google. But on the much smaller screen of a mobile, this may be an ill-advised use of limited space, thereby making it wiser for you to simply include a search icon – usually a magnifying glass – for the visitor to tap.

Another thing that’s really important with mobile site search is to ensure everything loads nice and quickly. Many of your smartphone-wielding visitors may be using the often iffy Wi-Fi connections in public places like bus and railway stations, so it’s a good idea to optimise the images that appear in mobile search on your site to be as lightweight as possible.

What other steps might you take to optimise site-search results?

There’s a lot more than the above that you can do to make the mobile site-search experience on your site feel as effortless and convenient as it should be.

The search results page should certainly be one key focus for optimisation, given how slow and cumbersome these can often be on mobile. Good tips here include restricting search results to 20 items at a time to shorten loading times, while also enabling endless scrolling.

The latter means that instead of the shopper needing to load a new results page once they’ve reached the end of those aforementioned 20 items, a further 20 items will automatically appear as they scroll down.

Oh, and you might want to eliminate relatively superfluous information, like ratings, from your mobile search results as well. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to just stick to absolutely essential information here, such as the product name and price – again, in the name of bolstering usability and loading speeds.

There’s so much more that we could do for your site experience

As mobile continues to play an ever-more fundamental role in how prospective customers engage with ecommerce brands like yours online, it’s never been more crucial to refine every last detail of the experience your site gives to smartphone and tablet users.

This is precisely what we can help you with here at Piranha Designs – so why wait any longer to contact us about our knowhow in the finer points of ecommerce and mobile website design?

The benefits Google’s BERT update could bring for your ecommerce store’s product pages

Piranha Designs - Thursday, October 31, 2019

It may be easy to become overwhelmed by the abundance of acronyms in the world of SEO (‘SEO’ itself being just one of them), but that doesn’t mean Google’s recently released BERT algorithm should be ignored.

Indeed, this particular open-source update – its letters standing for the rather catchy Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers – could be a particularly significant one for your ecommerce site’s product pages, given its focus on better understanding the intent of search queries.

So, what does BERT actually do?

Reading the above, you may wonder whether BERT is the replacement for RankBrain, which was Google’s 2015 effort to understand searcher intent. As it happens, it isn’t a replacement, with the two instead working simultaneously to decode what a user means when they perform a particular search, and giving them more relevant results accordingly.

While it isn’t the only thing that BERT does, a particular strength of the update compared to previous ones is the more sophisticated way it evaluates prepositions like “to” and “with”.

Among the examples Google provided of how BERT makes a difference was the query “2019 brazil traveller to usa needs visa”.

As human readers, we can easily understand that the person performing this search was probably someone from Brazil enquiring about how to obtain a visa to the United States. However, search results pre-BERT would also provide pages for US citizens interested in travelling to Brazil, which would obviously not meet the requirements of this specific searcher.

What should all of this mean for your ecommerce site?

Such an improved understanding of prepositions could have real positive implications for an ecommerce store wishing to attract more targeted traffic through long-tail queries.

After all, users looking for particular products online often include many specific details in their queries. Searches that use lots of such details and prepositions – for example, “red record player with speakers” or “basswood window shutters with green finish” – are likely to yield a higher proportion of truly relevant results now that BERT has arrived.

Now is the time, then, to consider how you can adjust your ecommerce site’s SEO to make the most of BERT. This should be the case across not only the product detail pages themselves, but also the filtered product grids that arise on your site due to the wealth of product attributes, such as colour, size and material, that you allow shoppers to toggle between when searching.

By citing a greater number of more specific attributes on your product pages and elsewhere around your site, you can help to put your ecommerce store in a strong position to tap into the power of BERT as you look to the busy festive shopping season and beyond.

In fact, why not have a more detailed discussion about this and other aspects of your site’s SEO with our search marketing professionals here at Piranha Designs today? It’s easy to contact us via our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices, and it could help to make a big difference to the effectiveness of your brand’s online presence in the months and years ahead.


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