The Ultimate Guide to Selecting a Site Search Solution for an Association


Over time, site search has become more and more important to many association’s websites because of its effectiveness in engaging members. Independent research backs up how successful site search can be at converting visitors and retaining user’s attention. The following data highlights and supports the importance of site search applications:

- According to Forrester Research, Users that perform a search convert 5x more often than those that don’t. 

- PriceWaterhouseCoopers has determined that Knowledge professionals spend 5-15% of their time reading information, but up to 50% looking for it.

- Jupiter Media’s research shows that 80% of visitors will abandon sites if search functionality is poor

One of the challenges with any technology initiative, including site search, is how to recognize there is a problem or when to make an investment to improve the situation. To that end, there are many common indicators that a new site search is needed. These indicators include the following:


  • Lots of “no results” > content issue or search issue?
  • Search yields poor conversions
  • Search has high abandonment (“search exits”)
  • Users have to paginate or re-search to get the “right” results
  • Search is the initial content finding mechanism

Using Standard Platform Search

  • Via your CMS or e-com platform
  • Limited customization options
  • Platform vendor is focused on other features
  • Search was never tuned, just “turned on”


  • Competitors growing faster
  • Competitors have more functionality
  • Competitors have better customer satisfaction

Because associations are recognizing that change is needed, many are investing more time, energy, and money in building superior site search capabilities. Unfortunately, choosing a site search solution is relatively complicated and time-consuming. This whitepaper provides the criteria that should be evaluated when selecting a modern search engine. The whitepaper covers the following areas of interest in evaluating a site search solution:

  • Base Technology and Fit 
  • Connectors 
  • Vision and Architecture 
  • Scalability 
  • Indexing 
  • Search Features and User Experience 
  • Search Relevancy and Tuning 
  • Licensing Models and Pricing 
  • Security and Authentication 
  • Administration and Skills Necessary

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