How to Use Internal Site Search Data for a Better Website
January 31 2013
There’s a small white box on your website that holds a treasure trove of user behavior, content ideas and conversion improvement suggestions – it’s your site search box. You can use the search terms typed in the site search to find insight on what your visitor is looking for and how to better present that information.
First and foremost, you must make sure you have a site search and that Google Analytics is correctly installed on your website. On TopSpot’s website you will find the site search in the top right-hand corner:
We’ve made a video for you to help you figure out where to find the internal site search terms in Google Analytics:
Some of site search data that TopSpot reviews:
1. Site Search Terms
Seeing what your visitors are searchingfor – a gold mine! This data enables you to view what topics are of interest and if they are looking for a product/service in a specific way, format, or language. If there is something visitors are searching for consistently, this can help with content strategy.
Once, I was going through a monthly report with a client and we were examining their site search terms. I noticed over the months that “explosion proof elevator” came up various times. This wasn’t mentioned on their site, so I asked if it was something they manufactured. The client did, so we created a page about that type of elevator, using that language. Soon after, the client reported a increase of sales of that product.
If visitors are searching primarily by model or part number, or by zip code – perhaps we would suggest a different navigation, a way to search by part or location. We would integrate such terms into the content to help with search engine optimization. This information is also helpful in determining keywords and ad text for PPC campaigns.
Another thing we often see with site search are terms regarding careers or employee names. You may consider setting up a job listings page or employee profiles.
2. Look at Pages from which the Internal Site Search was Used
Another helpful report is to look at Pages under Site Search. The majority of searches will be done from the homepage, but if there’s a landing page where the site search was used, it may indicate that the visitor was expecting to find that information on that page, or that they were frustrated with continuous clicking. Content updates, featuring products and improving usability are all things we would investigate.
3. Site Search Refinements
Often we look at multiple search terms to see what the search results look like to the end user. Are the search results optimized? What are the options when no search results are found? Is the language helpful and friendly or cold? We want the visitor to have a pleasant user experience, especially when it comes to internal site search. Google Analytics made a series of hilarious user experience videos, one explaining how site search would work in the real world. Take a look:
Internal search, or site search, is a highly valuable resource that is right in front of you. We at TopSpot find this real user data highly insightful and useful in content strategy, PPC keyword research and website usability. Contact us if you would like to further examine your internal search terms to improve your website.