If you're like most digital marketers, you're focused on producing relevant content, conducting email and other direct-marketing campaigns, placing ads online, and trying to get the most out of search-engine optimization and paid search to drive traffic to your site.

But it's equally important to ensure that visitors find the information and products they're looking for once they arrive. Whether you're marketing an e-commerce, informational, or B2B site, your site search is a critical feature of your site and deserves your time and attention.

By making some small improvements to your site search, you can reap higher conversion rates, more leads, and happier repeat customers.

Research has found that visitors to retail sites who use those sites' search box are 2-3 times more likely to convert than those who don't. Moreover, our own studies have found that if customers can't find what they're looking for in the first couple of minutes, they'll leave a website, possibly never to return.

Below are several tips that can help you ensure your site search delivers on its promise. The result will be happier customers who are more likely to make a purchase or download information, and who will keep returning to your site, helping you capture better bottom-line results.

(The tips are taken from our whitepaper, Big Book of Site Search Tips.)

1. Don't confuse visitors by placing the search box near other boxes, such as newsletter sign-up forms

Make sure the search box is distinctive and easy to find. Because visitors expect to easily find the search box—and may abandon your site if they can't—keep the search box prominently highlighted, by itself, on a Web page.

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Shaun Ryan is CEO of SLI Systems, a provider of hosted search solutions. He can be reached via shaun.ryan@sli-systems.com.