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Google launched Google Site Search (GSS) in 2008 to offer its technology to online publishers and their websites for searchers to use while on those sites, but the company recently announced that it will sunset GSS, forcing companies to replace its search technology by April 1, 2018.

If you are facing that decision, ask yourself three questions we've compiled to help you find a GSS replacement.

1. Do I need a more robust solution?

Website visitors who perform a site search are 216% more likely to convert than visitors who don't, so it is important to ensure that those users have good experiences throughout their visit.

Furthermore, a search on your website is a strong sign of user intent, and you should be paying close attention to what the searcher is trying to find. What GSS lacks—and many alternatives offer—are customization abilities and powerful site search data and analytics, both of which provide useful ways to give marketing programs a shot of adrenaline.

Why does it matter?

Most companies that use content for more than informational purposes tend to look for some level of customization in what they present to visitors, prioritizing content based on relevancy, time, and other factors. For those brands, user behavioral data, especially related to search, is of huge importance because it sheds light on what consumers want to know, highlights what they are and aren't finding useful, and even helps identify problems in customer service.

For example, SurveyMonkey has used search data to build better help-center content. Deanna Horton, senior content strategist for SurveyMonkey, recently told Forbes, "Listening to customers is core to who we are as a company. To make impactful data-driven improvements to self-service content, we listen to our customers by determining what they're writing to support about and using our findings to inform new content that answers those questions. At the end of the day, you can't answer someone's question if you don't know what their question is."

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image of Matthew Riley

Matthew Riley is CEO and co-founder of Swiftype, an Elastic company. Elastic builds software to make data usable in real time and at scale for search, logging, security, and analytics use cases.

LinkedIn: Matthew Riley