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May 15, 2019 | 3 minute read

Searchandising: Using targeted content on search pages

written by Linda Bustos

The last two posts of our Searchandising series focused on optimizing site search relevance and autosuggest. Today’s installment explores several ways to inject targeted merchandising content into search pages, along with some dos and don’ts.

Guided selling

Filtered and faceted navigation helps customers narrow down a large set of search results into a more focused, relevant set. The challenge is, many customers overlook them. Leveraging hero content to graphically showcase the most useful categories, filters or attributes can help guide visitors to a tighter set of results, increasing click through and sell through rates.

For example, Macy’s prominently shows department scopes:

banner category filter

Department scoping helps customers narrow a broad search for more relevant results

LampsPlus suggests both “shop by” (under $300 or under $500) and “trending categories” to narrow results:

lampsplus guided selling on search page

"Shop by" and trending content can guide searchers to more focused results


Don’t rely on rotating home page banners to advertise your promotional events (customers often overlook them). Make sure promos are visible where they count -- on category and search pages that match your promos.

targeted search promotions

Make sure promoted categories, brands and products are advertised on category and search pages

Consider A/B testing offers and calls to action for high-volume searches. Click through and sell through “response” data can be applied to email, social and other campaigns.

targeted offers on search page
targeted search offers on landing page

A/B test targeted promotional content on search pages

Alternatively, consider showcasing your business’ value propositions relevant to a given search, such as guarantees, add-on options or member benefits.

Show off value propositions relevant to a given search
targeted value propositions

Suggestions are rarely useful after 1-2 characters, especially when matches appear anywhere in the string

Hero banners aren’t the only place you can squeeze this content. Petco puts its auto-ship callout in-grid to give extra visibility to a service that can be overlooked on a product detail page.

in grid content on search page

Show value propositions in in-grid content


Highlight new product launches and other features with their corresponding searches and categories:

macys targeted search feature

Use search pages to highlight relevant products or other featured content

Buying guides

Don’t forget buying guides! Grainger slots them in their autosuggest menu where relevant:

autosuggestion targeted content

Highlight buying guides in autosuggest menus

Sherwin Williams targets content to B2C and B2B buyers, respectively:

b2c targeted search content

How-to guides targeted to B2C customers in search

b2b targeted search content

How-to guides targeted to B2B buyers in search

Social content

Home Depot sneaks Pinterest inspiration into its category pages, and leverages search redirection for queries that exact-match category terms such as Paint:

pinterest feature on search page

Home Depot features social content in its category landing pages

Targeted content tips

While targeted content may enhance the search experience, it can also backfire if implemented poorly.

  • Make sure you measure the impact of targeted content on search pages through A/B testing or other proxy. Track search exit rates, click through, sell through and revenue.
  • Consider removing content (especially hero banners) for mobile users. If you’re using responsive design, ensure images are resized, repositioned or removed.
  • Ensure products are visible “above the fold.” Customers who search expect to see a product grid of results. If you use guided selling or other creative merchandising, make sure it’s still clear they’ve landed in the “right place.”