138 The State of Search
140 How Search Should Work
142 Search Interface
151 Search Engine Results Pages
160 Search Engine Optimization
In our testing, the success rate for people using external search engines was good. The success rate for people using internal search engines was atrocious. Yet Search on a specific site should actually function better than Web-wide Search.
Search is such a prominent part of the Web user experience that people have strong expectations for how it should work. Your best bet for creating good Search is to learn the guidelines that the big search engines use, and use them on your site. This chapter discusses how to make an effective search function on your site and how to optimize your hits from external search engines.
Search is one of the most important design elements on a Web site. Nineteen of the 25 Web sites we studied for this book had search engines, and people performed searches on all 19. This shows how heavily users rely on Search.
While some users went immediately to Search, others preferred navigational links. Supporting both types of behavior is important to capturing a broad audience.
While some users went immediately to the Search box, however, others preferred locating information through methods such as navigational links. Search is particularly helpful for people who know exactly what they want and can quickly come up with good Search queries. But offering good link categories encourages people to explore your site and discover what's available, especially when they're just browsing or don't know what words to enter into a Search box. Supporting both types of behavior is important to capturing a broad audience.