Understanding Shopify Search Redirects in Practice

Gain clarity on Shopify search redirects with this article on best practices for effective search redirects that delight users and create smoother experiences.

Introduction

In the fast-paced world of Shopify, building a seamless shopping experience is an ongoing process. For Shopify merchants, mastering the art of search redirects is a key part of this puzzle. But what exactly are search redirects? Simply put, they're a way to guide your customers to a specific product or landing page when they use your store's search function. This can streamline their journey, potentially boosting your sales and site efficiency by nudging users to the right place.

Whether you're a seasoned Shopify veteran or new to the platform, understanding how to effectively manage search redirects is important for everyone. In this article, we'll dive deep into the nuances of search redirects, covering everything from selecting the right terms to respecting user intent.

This article does not discuss 301 or 302 search redirects that are typically configured during a migration to or from Shopify, 

Summary of Key Concepts

This article will discuss the following Shopify search redirect concepts and provide recommendations for each:

Concept

Description

Terms to Redirect

The most common terms to redirect include “coupons,” “sale,” and “gift cards” - but data should drive decisions.

Removing Old Redirects

Many redirects are put in place around ad campaigns or holidays. Set a recurring task or reminder to review redirect rules.

Exact Match Queries

Certain search queries, such as SKU or serial number, should redirect users to product pages.

Collection Pages

Some terms should redirect to targeted collection or category product listing pages instead of showing search results.

Respecting User Intent

Forceful redirects can be frustrating to users, especially if they type the same query multiple times and expect different results.

Terms to Redirect

The foundation of effective search redirects lies in selecting the right terms. As a Shopify merchant, your goal is to anticipate the search terms customers might use that perform poorly and guide them to the most relevant alternative page. Here's how you can do it:

  • Identify High-Impact Search Terms: Start by analyzing your site's search data. Look for frequently searched terms that do not convert. Tools like Google Analytics or Shopify's own analytics will be valuable to accomplish this.

  • Test and Learn: Experiment with different terms and monitor how changes impact user behavior and conversion rates. Sometimes what seems like a minor tweak in terms can significantly alter the user experience.

Remember, the goal is to make the shopping journey as intuitive as possible. By carefully choosing and regularly updating your redirect terms, you help customers find exactly what they need, quickly and efficiently.

Common terms to begin with include “gift cards” and “coupons” and allow you to skip a search results page by sending them directly to a landing page to purchase a gift card or learn about your coupon policies.

Removing Old Redirects

Maintaining an efficient search redirect system in Shopify isn't just about adding new search redirects; it's equally important to remove outdated or irrelevant ones. Outdated redirects can lead to dead links, irrelevant pages, or discontinued products. This not only frustrates users but also hinders your site's SEO performance. Regular cleanup ensures your search redirects remain relevant and functional. 

With that being said, schedule regular audits of your search redirects. This could be monthly or quarterly, depending on your store's scale and dynamics. During these reviews, check for terms that are no longer relevant due to changes in your inventory, seasonal shifts, or changing customer preferences.

By proactively managing and removing old search redirects, you ensure that your search bar remains a powerful tool for enhancing user experience and not a source of confusion or frustration.

Exact Match Queries

An exact match redirect triggers when a user's search query exactly matches a predefined term. For example, if you set an exact match redirect for "vintage jeans" or a product SKU, it will activate only when a customer types in that exact phrase.

Using exact match redirects leads customers directly to the products or collections they're looking for, reducing the time spent browsing and increasing the likelihood of a sale. It's particularly useful for highly specific products or one-off promotional collection pages.

If you’re using Google Cloud Vertex AI Search for Retail, you can select several catalog attributes to return exact matches. To accomplish this, visit the Attribute Controls page in the Retail Cloud Console and set the Exact Match setting to “True.” Exact-match should primarily be used to search by IDs (such as Product ID, Model ID, or serial number) because it has higher priority than the normal search workflow.

Collection Pages

Redirecting a customer to a collection page can be particularly effective when their search term is broad or relates to a category rather than a specific product. For instance, redirecting a search for "summer dresses" to a collection page showcasing all available summer dresses.

Ensure that the collection page is highly relevant to the search query. Use clear, descriptive titles for your collections and keep them updated with appropriate products. This relevance is not just beneficial for user experience, but also for SEO.

If you’re using a smart merchandising Shopify search solution, limit the number of search redirects to collection pages. Instead, let the AI algorithms return search results that may include items that cross collections based on conversion probability.

Respecting User Intent

User intent refers to what the user actually wants to find or achieve when they type a query into your store’s search bar. It can be transactional (intent to buy), informational (looking for product details), or navigational (finding a specific page or category).

Ensure your redirects lead users to pages that match their intent. For instance, if someone searches for "return policy," they should be redirected to your store's return policy page, not a product page. Misaligned redirects can lead to frustration and increase bounce rates.

When redirects respect user intent, customers are more likely to find what they are looking for quickly, leading to a better user experience and potentially higher conversion rates. Satisfied customers are great for trust and loyalty, becoming more likely to return to your store and recommend it to others.

Conclusion

In the dynamic world of ecommerce, mastering search redirects in Shopify is not just a technical skill – it's essential to provide a smooth shopping experience. By carefully choosing terms for redirects, regularly removing outdated ones, utilizing exact match queries, and above all, respecting user intent, you can significantly enhance your store's usability and efficiency.

Interested in elevating your Shopify store's search experience with cutting-edge AI technology? Explore the possibilities with Google Cloud’s Vertex AI Search. Start enhancing your search redirects with Nimstrata Search & Discovery today. Begin your free trial and unlock a world of advanced search capabilities powered by Google that are designed to dramatically improve conversion rates on your store.

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