Optimizing On-Site Search

diverse young marketing team working on website with search feature
Stephanie Schwenn Sebring Photo
Contributing Writer
Fab Prose & Professional Writing

2 minutes

Enhance the member experience by making your credit union’s website informative and easier to navigate.

Search engine optimization and your credit union website’s own search feature are more related than not, says Caroline Platkiewicz, marketing campaign manager for Silvercloud, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “Credit unions should work toward optimizing on-site search capabilities to enhance their user experience, to deliver the answers members are looking for faster, easier and more accurately.” 

Platkiewicz shares these on-site search best practices: 

  • Make the search bar prominent. It should be a large, obvious and simple search bar or icon. Most often it is found in the top right navigation—users are conditioned to look for it there—but can be placed elsewhere if it is consistent and highly visible across the site.
  • Craft useful titles for product and landing pages. Make them intuitive and as detailed as possible to match the search queries that would lead members to this result. For example, assume a member would search for how to do something, like “how to open a new account.” You would want to title the resulting page as closely related to the search query as possible, e.g., “Opening a new account at [CU name].”
  • Write strong supporting content with the user in mind; make it understandable for the typical member, not a banking expert.
  • Structure content in a way a consumer seeks the information. This includes using how-to (“How do I register for online banking?”), informational (“Do you offer online banking?”) or navigational (“Take me to online banking.”) approaches, asking and answering questions within the webpage.
  • Format content so that it both responds to a user’s query and anticipates what a user might do next by offering links to referenced information or the next step.
  • Let search results from an on-site search inform your on-site search optimization strategy. This can include collecting and periodically analyzing data on queries to identify patterns and insights. Look at the way real users search for things on the site; these results can direct your CU on how to change and tweak its website and content to deliver even better search results.
  • Track and measure pertinent data—this may include user search queries and results to improve future content and search capabilities of the website.

“You could argue that highly optimized content for on-site search is also highly optimized for off-site search,” says Platkiewicz. “So, if you’re producing high-quality content ... to deliver better search results within your site’s internal search engine, chances are external search engines will recognize that and rank your site higher as well—particularly if users are finding, reading and indicating your content as useful. There’s a dual benefit.” cues icon

Stephanie Schwenn Sebring established and managed the marketing departments for three CUs before launching her business. As owner of Fab Prose & Professional Writing, she assists CUs, industry suppliers and any company wanting great content and a clear brand voice. Follow her on Twitter@fabprose.

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