Why Read this Ebook
Helping design engineers find the right component fast is at the heart of any electronics component manufacturer or distributor’s digital presence. Not getting search right results in a host of bad outcomes including:
- Buyers taking too long to find what they ’re looking for;
- Buyers selecting the wrong parts and then having to go to sales for help;
- Buyers becoming frustrated with the overall experience, damaging your brand, or;
- Worst case, buyers leaving your website and going to a competitor.
Let’s face it, design engineers are an intelligent group of people, and they have a low tolerance for inept digital experiences. This is why understanding the “fundamentals” of technical search is so important. Big Zeta, in partnership with EETech, surveyed a variety of individuals in the engineering and technology space to gauge the importance of search in their day-to-day professional lives. Throughout this publication, we reference this survey.
Search accuracy is the most important quality of technical search.
When engineers make a search query on a supplier’s website, they want the most accurate result at the top. Result accuracy can be the difference between a prospect going deeper into your site or bouncing. However, providing the most accurate result can be difficult when your site caters to engineers at different stages in the buyer’s journey.
An electrical engineer in the “awareness” phase of a buyer’s journey intends to simply learn about a certain part–a contrast to the engineer who has already designed that part into a project and has been a customer for many years. Understanding user intent opens up the right result set and produces a more engaged and committed customer.
Context Pain Points
Accuracy Pain Points
While accuracy refers to a single, correct search result, relevance casts a broader net for useful resources surrounding the search query. Accuracy is focused on the best result given the intent, while relevance refers to a series of results that are the most appropriate.
Using the same example as before, if a design engineer enters a specific part number into a search engine, the first suggestion should be a product page – that’s the accurate result. Relevance refers to the part’s associated evaluation board, a user guide, and press release listed below its product page.
While your search system is correct in suggesting the product page first, the surrounding pages are supplementary resources your user might explore as well.
The key here is that your search engine identifies where the user is in the buyer’s journey — research, prototyping, conceptual design, awareness, or vendor justification — and provides the right results for that stage.
What is the User Looking For?
Search accuracy also opens the door to relevance and context (as we define them). If the top result is inaccurate, then everything else that follows that result could be wrong.
When we talk about search accuracy, we’re talking about the search results page on your site. Accuracy refers to how well your search algorithm can intuit your users’ search intent.
When users search for a specific part, what is the order of results? A press release about the component? A page on the component’s evaluation board? If the user inputs a specific part number and the results page lists anything before the product page, odds are, your search accuracy is off.
Relevance Pain Points
Where in the design process is keyword search most important?
Three responses vied for the top answer, reflecting the importance of keyword search throughout the design process. 29% said it was during research, followed closely by prototyping and conceptual design. Awareness and vendor justification was cited by nearly one-sixth of respondents.
Keeping Result Relevant
The next pillar of technical search is context Once your search system serves a user an accurate result, they are likely looking for contextual information about that resource.
Context refers to the peripheral links attached to a query result Once a user clicks on the result they were looking for, what do they see? Is there a datasheet attached to the top result? An application note? Is there a block diagram included directly on the product page? A link to order a sample?
These resources put the most important information about a given product at the users’ fingertips, helping them quickly evaluate whether your product is right for their design.
Context Pain Points
User Interface design for both keyword and parametric search is critical to users finding the right products on your website. Electronics company interfaces are notoriously poor on multiple levels including: 1) Antiquated designs; 2) Overly complex; 3) Not intuitive; 4) Poor loading performance; 5) More company-focused than user-focused in presentation.
These search interfaces must be able to go from simple to complex as the user refines his or her search. Remember, your search engine’s job isn’t only to match a query to the right result; you’re trying to educate users on relevant products.
Still, finding the balance between simplicity and sophistication can be a major challenge You can have the most accurate, relevant search results page, but if your user interface is unresponsive or cluttered, it’s likely your user will bounce from the site to find a more straightforward search experience.
93% of respondents have higher confidence in vendors with high-functioning search.
Contextual User Interface
Keys of Great User Interface in Tech Search
Technical search is where a customer interacts with your company, brand and products in a very direct way with multiple points of failure. When a prospect or customer is searching it means they’ve most likely moved from an awareness or semi-passive state to an engaged and very direct interaction. You want to do everything in your power to keep that interaction moving forward with positive outcomes while building trust and meeting expectations with the customer. Having a poorly performing search capability is an immediate flag that your company cannot manage even the basics of a good digital presence.
It is surprising how poorly many electronic company search tools perform as they load or reload search results. Nothing is as instantaneously frustrating as using an electronics supplier or distributor search and having to endure multi-second result returns. Some supplier search capabilities are so poor that even hitting a back button breaks the session, and the search process must start all over again. Companies must take their search performance seriously if they are to gain the consideration and trust of new prospects.
Research shows that if search results are slowed by even a fraction of a second, people search less (seriously: A 400ms delay leads to a 0.44 percent drop in search volume, data fans). – The Google Gospel of Speed
Performance Pain Points
The Performance Priority
Search Analytics Matter
Technical B2B Search is going through a revitalization. Digital managers are realizing that Keyword and Parametric Site Search are untapped gold mines that in the past had been relegated to almost utility status. They were a needed capability, but little was done to make sure they were a truly competitive advantage. Where a website might be considered like a small city for a company with its site structure and different areas of content and data, search is a giant freeway running around and throughout that city. It is a giant river of buyer, demand, and site intelligence.
B2B buyers who use search are more likely to stay engaged, convert in key ways, and have a greater potential to become a revenue-generating customer. Big Zeta speaks with many digital managers in the B2B space, and most companies have basic keyword analytics capabilities and almost no parametric measurement capability. Without actionable search analytics mapped to real-world business impacts, it is next to impossible to run a successful technical search capability that raises positive conversion.
EXAMPLES OF NEW B2B SEARCH QUERIES
Revenue generated from a session, including search Bounce rate with and without search
Intent success rate
Search refinement percentage
Ratio of conversion to clicks Product query click report
KEY QUESTIONS BEING ASKED
How can I get more people to use search?
How can I get more users converting in search?
How can I get users to move more quickly through the buyer’s journey using search?
How can I better understand how search impacts my demand funnel?
How can I better understand query intent and provide the best outcomes?
PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
WHY THIS MATTERS
Site search matters. It has a direct impact on how people interact with your company digitally, and how quickly they can find the products and services your company offers. It impacts partners and employees but, most of all, prospects and customers who rely heavily on search to get answers to their questions.