Companies are increasing their investment in site search because they want to improve the experience for website users and increase site usage and sales, according to research published today.

The Site Search Report found that more than half of companies (57%) are planning to increase their spending on their on-site search technology over the next year. A further 40% plan to maintain the same budget.

The research, published by Econsultancy in association with internet and enterprise search company Funnelback, is based on a survey of more than 500 companies carried out in April and May 2010.

The most widely perceived advantage of site search is a better user experience, with 83% of companies saying this is a “major benefit”.

Increased site usage and increased sales are the next biggest benefits. Two-thirds (65%) of respondents say “more site usage” is a major benefit, and 64% say additional sales is a key advantage.

The research also found that many organisations are dissatisfied with the search functionality on their websites, and the extent to which they are harnessing knowledge from their site search tools.

Just 41% of responding companies are “satisfied” their site search helps them to deliver against their business objectives. This compares to 31% of respondents who are either “quite dissatisfied” (19%) or “very dissatisfied” (12%). The remaining 27% of companies are “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied”.

Only 7% of companies say they are “efficiently learning from site search and distributing these insights across the business”. Just under half (46%) are “partially” doing this but 47% are not learning from site search at all.

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, said: “Most organisations are increasing their investment in site search but too many companies are missing out on some basic site search features which can significantly improve the user experience and help them meet key business objectives such as increased sales.”

Stephen Morgan, Managing Director at Funnelback UK, said: “Despite improving technology the results show that, on average, only half of all searches result in website users finding what they are looking for. This underlines the problems many companies have with their site search.”

He added: “The need for quality website search is accelerating, as internet users get used to increasingly sophisticated and relevant returns. A great search engine needs to deliver a fast, accurate result set and then expand on this to allow the user to correct, expand or refine what they’re looking for, quickly and easily.”

Other findings include:

-) Just over a quarter (27%) of companies surveyed use functionality which comes integrated with other software, making this the most commonly used type of technology for site search.

-)Just under a quarter (23%) use Google site search, while 15% use site search technology developed and deployed in-house. Only 16% use a specialist site-search vendor, and 10% use open source technology.

-) “Higher development priorities” are the biggest obstacle to the implementation of effective site search, according to company respondents. Just over a third of client-side respondents (35%) say this is the one of the three biggest barriers.

-) 41% say their site search supports misspellings, synonyms and acronyms. Only 39% have technology in place which enables them to customise rankings, while 33% offer contextual navigation.

Report URL:

http://econsultancy.com/reports/site-search-report

Journalists and bloggers: Please contact Econsultancy for more information about this report.

Media contacts:
Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director, Econsultancy
(e: linus.gregoriadis AT econsultancy.com t: + 44 (0) 207 269 1465)

Aliya Zaidi, Research Manager, Econsultancy
(e:aliya.zaidi AT econsultancy.com t: + 44 (0) 207 269 1466)

About Econsultancy

Econsultancy is a digital publishing and training group that is used by more than 200,000 internet professionals every month.

The company publishes practical and time-saving research to help marketers make better decisions about the digital environment, build business cases, find the best suppliers, look smart in meetings and accelerate their careers.

Econsultancy has offices in New York and London, and hosts more than 100 events every year in the US and UK. Many of the world's most famous brands use Econsultancy to educate and train their staff.

Call us to find out more on +44 (0)20 7269 1450 (London) or +1 212 699 3626 (New York). You can also contact us online.

About Funnelback

Funnelback is a global search engine technology and services company that delivers leading edge information retrieval solutions coupled with quality customer support.

Its search technology allows your staff or clients to find information held on websites, intranets, databases and many other information repositories.

Accurate, fast searching can dramatically increase the return on your information assets, maximise employee productivity and improve customer experience. Funnelback delivers superior search performance with its patented technologies, refined algorithms and extensive range of features.

The company offers Enterprise Search for search across an entire organisation and Website Search for effective searching of web based content.

The Funnelback search engine evolved from leading edge technology developed by the CSIRO, Australia's premier scientific research agency. The company was established in December 2005 and since then it has grown in size to keep up with the demand for its award winning search engine.

In July 2009, Funnelback was acquired by Squiz, a leading Content Management System (CMS) company.

Funnelback clients span a broad range of market sectors and include the UK Electoral Commission, Digital UK, the London School of Economics, the Australian Federal Government, Oxfam and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

To find out more visit funnelback.com, call us on +44 (0) 20 7101 8300 (London) or email us on: uksales AT funnelback.com

Published on: 11:19AM on 28th July 2010