Why your website search tool must be semantic

David Urbansky
3 mins to read

You already know the importance of having search on your website. But by itself, that isn’t enough anymore.

Your search function needs to be capable of fixing typos, suggesting related results, and understanding the user’s intent. In other words, it needs to be semantic.

What is semantic search?

We’ve already explored the benefits of semantic search in detail, but just to catch you up:

Semantic search is search with context, unlike lexical search, which only looks for literal matches for query words or variants of them. Semantic search, above all, understands the overall meaning of a query – it understands intent.

Why do you need to understand intent?

Thanks to years of conditioning from Google, people expect their search experiences to be smarter than they are. If they make a tpyo typo, they expect it to be corrected. If they type that they’re looking for blue jeans under £30, they expect your search engine to be smart enough to do the math.

This all stems from understanding your user’s intent – understanding what it is they expect to receive from their search.

If your website’s search tool fails to meet these expectations, don’t be surprised if your visitors abandon the search and head for sunnier, more semantic pastures.


Why semantic search matters

There are many reasons you should install semantic search capabilities on your website, including:

  • Improving the user experience
  • ‘Keeping up with the Jones’s’ – if every other website has it, you’re being left behind!
  • Creating a smoother browser-to-buyer journey
  • Upselling by suggesting other products you think a browser will like
  • Future-proofing your website as it scales
  • Meeting consumer expectations
  • And so much more

There are so many rewards to reap from offering semantic search, and it’s quickly becoming a must-have website feature.

Start thinking about how you can implement it on your website. For help with that, why not check out our deep dive on the subject?

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