We signed up for Hotjar and did some heatmap testing on our home page. It's a fairly comprehensive home page with a lot of sections, elements, and information. Our goal isn't to confuse people – it's to provide an organized page where visitors can find whatever they're seeking.
But they're not finding it!
How do we know? Over 20% of all engagement on our home pages comes from our search bar. And in reviewing the remainder of our page, visitors rarely scroll and interact further down our page. The exception is that many visitors do go to our footer.
We implemented Swiftype for our internal search service. It provides a robust autosuggest mechanism, great reporting, and we have a ton more features that we can implement on the site with it.
Regardless of how well your site is laid out, how your navigation is organized, visitors want control over their own experience and want a great internal search mechanism to find what I need. As we work with companies that publish on a regular basis, having a robust and intuitive search mechanism is a must. If you're not using a search as a service tool, be sure to implement internal search tracking in your analytics. Over time, you'll also capture some fantastic information on topics that your visitors are seeking that you haven't produced content for.