What is Search as a Service and Why Should You Use it?

The improved customer search experience and the insights into consumer behavior and data are just a few of the possible benefits of Search as a Service.

By Lauryn Chamberlain

Jun 25, 2021

6 min

If you operate any type of online business, you're always looking for ways to optimize your database for successful customer interactions.

Between marketing and intelligent advertising, customer reviews, and meta tags to increase the rank of your page in consumer web search results on major engines like Google and Bing, there are a ton of ways to increase your customer satisfaction.

One way, in particular, has been overlooked for years but has recently increased in importance: custom internal search engines.

Let's talk about exactly what Search as a Service is and how it can help your company.

What Is Search as a Service?

Search as a Service is simply a type of company that offers site search tools and features that help to optimize the organization and convenience of a company's online appearance using powerful APIs and a Software as a Service model.

Software as a Service, otherwise known as SaaS, is the business concept of offering a subscription-based service. Typically living in the cloud or hosted by the SaaS company, other companies use their internet service to optimize available tools without worrying about particular factors.

The benefit of the SaaS model is that the company hiring the services doesn't have to worry about hosting or maintaining the tools as all of that is the responsibility of the SaaS company. This is especially useful for large organizations, where an enterprise search solution makes the most sense.

Because the SaaS company is responsible for maintenance, the subscribing company doesn't need to hire experts or technicians to handle the tools on a regular basis or when the company needs to expand or manipulate the tool.

Search as a Service companies like Yext can provide beneficial resources and services to companies affordably and conveniently because of this business model.

How Does Search as a Service Work?

Search as a Service works similar to the Software as a Service business model.

The Search as a Service company offers its services to other businesses through a pay-as-you-go contract, meaning it's like a monthly subscription that you only pay as much as you use.

After an agreement is reached and a contract is signed between the companies, the Search as a Service company provides an API, or Application Programming Interface, that the client company uploads all of their relevant content to.

This includes everything on their webpage, all meta tags, and content information. Anything that the user might access. The data is then organized and compiled into a search index by the service provider, developing markers that the internal search engine uses to connect user searches with the appropriate content.

Exactly how the service company develops its search index system is up to the service company. However, there are options, including federated search systems and specialized (or vertical) search engines.

At Yext, we're constantly thinking about the future of search for websites and how to optimize your customers' search query experience.

Instead of using the outdated system of keyword searches, which essentially just uses word match to connect specific search terms from the user query to content on your page, Yext has developed a system that recognizes complex questions and search criteria with Yext Search.

With natural language search, users don't have to match their queries to a set of keywords. Instead, they can type their questions and receive accurate results because the machine learning behind the search solution can understand the user's problem.

What Are The Benefits?

Having an internal search box on your website has major benefits to your company and user experience. Using a Search as a Service provider takes those benefits further.

Search as a Service Maintenance

When a client company decides to use a Search as a Service company like Yext, they aren't just paying for a one-time upgrade to their data sources or web service.

Yext is the host of the search engine protocols and thus handles all of the maintenance and upkeep required to keep the internal search engine optimized at all times.

This takes a lot off of the plate of the client company, leaving them plenty of room to focus on enhancing the customer experience with the data that the internal search bar provides. But we'll talk about that a bit more later.

Since a Search as a Service provider's primary focus is the search service, they have high-quality search tools and features, as well as expert knowledge in what they're doing. So instead of your company hiring one member to operate and develop your search experience, you have an entire team of experts on your side.

No need to spend valuable time troubleshooting system errors or implementing the latest features; let Yext handle all of that for your company so that you can focus on everything else.

Expansion Coverage

Search as a Service models can handle any growth requirements your company needs quickly. So instead of worrying about limitations that are usually associated with growth, our team of highly qualified developers can take care of the expansion so that you're confident your internal search function will keep pace with your growth.

With the increased conversion rates of up to 43% that optimized site search functions bring, you need your team and provider ready for expansion.

Analysis and Insights

An internal search system, especially a highly optimized one provided by a Search as a Service provider, has the major competitive benefit of adding available customer data.

Internal search provides insight into the performance and popularity of your website's pages and specific products, going so far as to tell you when and from where your customers are searching.

Yext organizes all of this information for your company in an extremely accessible interface giving your marketing and developing teams new access to data about your customers and your products.

This data shows you opportunities to take advantage of, and what your users are really looking for from your business, so you can highlight what's most important to raise your success rates.

What Kind Of Business Benefits From Search as a Service?

Every business that has an online presence where they provide access to content and product would benefit from a Search as a Service provider.

The increased customer experience and insight into consumer data that a high-quality internal search bar can bring to your company are just a few of the possible benefits.

If your website has content that users access, creating an organized way for them to find it will dramatically increase your conversion rate as well as the likelihood a customer will return to your site.

In fact, 60% of users report that they much prefer finding what they're looking for online instead of reaching out to customer service or navigating through menu tabs.

In Conclusion

Having an optimized internal site search service option for your customer has a huge positive impact on their experience, your product availability, and user insight.

Using a Search as a Service provider makes having that internal search bar easy and convenient for your company and offers better performance for your website visitors.

You'll benefit from the volume of user insight that we can provide through our easy-to-use interface so that you can know what your audience is looking for and take your business to the next level.

What to Look for in a Search Experience Platform

Download this eBook for the 10 things you should look for when evaluating search solutions.

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