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How to Use Internal Search Apps Like Klevu to Boost Your Conversion Rate on Shopify

Laura Brady from NovosLaura Brady in Shopify

15th September, 2021

What is internal search and how does it work?

Internal site search gives users the opportunity to manually search for a product or collection on your site e.g. ‘women’s black dress’ or ‘running leggings’.

Klevu uses machine learning, smart category merchandising and AI to connect users with the product they are searching for. If there isn’t an option available, Klevu is also able to offer smart, hyper-intelligent product recommendations.

This can be super handy for large eCommerce sites with crowded navigation – you may have found yourself using it on Amazon or ASOS once or twice.

What is internal search and how does it work on eCommerce sites

What are the benefits of using internal search engines in eCommerce?

Research from SearchNode has indicated that of all online store visitors, roughly ⅓ use site search functionality. These visitors are also more likely to convert due to the direct query search approach e.g. ‘women’s black jeans’. In fact, email and SMS marketing platform Klaviyo has reported that purchases via site search are responsible for roughly 24% of a site’s revenue.

So, how can you use internal search data to boost SEO?

Site search is one of the best ways of identifying user pain points on the site.

If you are receiving multiple searches a day for a particular product or collection that exists on the site, then it is likely that users are either: 

  1. Struggling to find it on the site.
  2. Using a different search term to find the product e.g. self-tan/fake tan, jeans/denim, tracksuit bottoms/sweatpants etc.
  3. Are repeat customers looking for a legacy product/particular style.

If the case is A, then keep reading. If it’s B or C, scroll down. 

Case A: Struggling to find products/collections on a site

It’s time to take a look at whether there is an existing page on the site targeting this, and if so, are there any internal links pointing to it?

Testing the number of internal links 

There are multiple ways that you can test the number of internal links pointing to a page on the site. 

If you are just checking a handful, then you can manually check the internal links by ticking off the following:

  • Is the page in the site menu?
  • Is the page linked to from the homepage?
  • Is it hidden by a ‘load more’ button or pagination?
  • Is it a product that is frequently out of stock?
  • Is it a seasonal item?
  • Is it a collection page?
  • Is it optimised towards the correct terms?

If you are testing multiple links in one go, then we’d recommend using Screaming Frog’s crawl depth feature to get a top-level view, followed by spot checks on the above checklist.

Once you have gathered all your information, it’s time to start thinking about a strategy.

We recommend mapping out all internal linking opportunities for this product and identify areas on the site where you can either make it more visible or accessible. 

This can either be a large graphic on the homepage encouraging users to click through, a link from the menu, or simply moving it up the list on a collection page.

What if there are lots of products, and you want to avoid linking to them from the menu?

If you’re dealing with multiple products, and don’t see a fit in the menu for them, consider creating a ‘bestsellers page.’ Not only is this great for internal linking, but it will also help new users on the site find your hero products and familiarise themselves with the brand. This could also really benefit your site if you do lots of social media advertising on certain products with unique product names.

What if the product is out of stock or no longer available?

If it’s a product that goes in and out of stock a lot, consider adding an email capture like ‘sign up to our newsletter to get notifications when this item is back in stock.’ Here, you’re able to keep users on the site and hopefully stop them from clicking onto a competitor! This can also help avoid fluctuations in SEO rankings whilst products are out of stock. For more information on how to tackle product seasonality, check out our blog post on ‘How to Manage Out of Stock Products for SEO on Your eCommerce Store.’

What if the collection doesn’t exist?

If there are enough products to fill the collection, and it won’t cause any duplication issues, then it’s worth creating one. If there aren’t enough products to fill a collection page, are there any existing collection pages that can broaden their targeting? For example, if you frequently have users searching for ‘white shirts’ but you only have two of these product types in stock, you could blend the category with other white tops to create a larger, more effective category like ‘white shirts & blouses.’ Here, you will now have a category that has enough products, as well as valid search data and demand to back it up.

Case B: Customers using different searches for your products

What do I do if users are searching different names for a product?

We’d recommend reviewing your keyword targeting. Consider adding product colloquialisms to the collection title tags and H1s, e.g. ‘Tracksuit Bottoms & Sweatpants’, instead of sticking to just ‘Tracksuit Bottoms.’ This is particularly effective for international sites that cater to multiple countries/users.

Example of eCommerce site using adding product colloquialisms in the collection title tags

It also ensures that both keywords are covered and that a site isn’t having to compromise targeting for any higher SEO keywords. Also, ensure to include this keyword information in your tagged pages in Shopify.

Below is an example of the data Klevu is able to provide you with. Despite this client having quite a prevalent denim section on their site, we can see that jeans have been searched for 48 times in the past quarter. To us, this indicates that we need to update the targeting on the ‘denim’ page to ensure it captures all searches for ‘jeans’ also. If users aren’t making the connection then it’s likely that Google will be having a similar experience.

Example of the data Klevu provides about internal site search on an eCommerce site


Case C: Customers looking for legacy products

What to do if you no longer sell these products 

It makes sense to keep any old products live and accessible via site search if people are still searching for them. However, we’d recommend that you avoid linking to them wherever possible.

To keep legacy users on the site, we’d recommend including an email capture encouraging users to keep up to date with related or updated products to help push customers to conversion.

What to do if these products are still live on the site 

Are your original products getting enough air time on your site? If you are a site that heavily promotes a certain product on social media or TV advertising, is this product easily accessible on the site? Your eCommerce store should ideally echo the same messaging you have on all other channels too. 

For example, if your ‘light wash skinny jeans’ are one of your most popular products, are they linked to from the homepage? Are they featured in any ‘customers also bought’ links, and are they easily accessible from your denim jeans page?

What you’re wanting to avoid here, is users having to scroll through multiple product listings until they find the style they are looking for (if they do). 

As mentioned in case A, a product bestsellers page is also a win-win here.

Finally, think like a user. Ideally, these changes should have a positive impact across the board.

If you’re struggling to get certain design changes across with other marketing teams, consider bringing in an external user testing agency or try A/B testing some changes to see if there has been an uplift in traffic. This is the best way for all teams to see the impact of these changes, rather than just seeing the aesthetic difference of an on-page change.

For more information on optimising your Shopify eCommerce store, check out our ‘Ultimate Guide to Shopify SEO.’

Laura Brady from Novos
Article by Laura Brady
Laura is Head of Client Services here NOVOS and is phenomenal with clients! She has led eCom SEO strategies and consults on best practices for boosting organic growth and revenue. Laura previously worked at one of the top SEO agencies in the country (alongside our head of SEO, Dan) and was shortlisted for Young Search Professional of the Year at the UK search awards. She is also a member of the Women in Tech SEO community and has been featured as a guest speaker on the WTS podcast.

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