When was the last time you performed site search analysis for your website? If your answer is somewhere in the ballpark of “never,” you’re not the only one. Few companies dedicate resources to digging through site search data. But even if you’re not alone, you’re definitely missing out. Every time visitors search your site, they generate tons of useful data that just might answer your burning questions.
What is site search analysis?
Site search analysis is the detailed examination of visitor search behavior on your website. Those behaviors include keyword and key-phrase searches, filter and facet selections, and search suggestion clicks. This analysis can be done through a dedicated site search analytics dashboard.
With site search analysis, you’re able to enhance your website weekly or even daily based on what you continually discover about your users. For example:
- Retail and E-commerce sites can discover the week’s most popular items and have them show up in more searches.
- Media websites can uncover popular topics and develop content that resonates better with their users.
- Almost any kind of website can improve design and functionality based on the latest user insights.
Analysis is a critical step to realizing these enhancements. But that’s only the beginning of what it can enable you to do.
6 ways site search analysis can make an impact
The advantages of site search analysis are substantial. It improves sales and profitability, bolsters competitiveness, and promotes long-term customer satisfaction. Here are six ways that analyzing your site search can impact your business:
Reveals the quality of your site search
Once you start looking at your data, you might be surprised by the percentage of visitors using your site search and by the experience they are having. If visitors are leaving immediately after searching, this is a clear indication their needs aren’t being met. You can and should devote efforts to improving the search functionality.
Demystifies your users and their user intent
Every time your website’s visitors type something into the search bar or apply a search filter, they’re telling you valuable information about what they want. Understanding the customer is vital to the success of any business or site, and it can be particularly beneficial to marketing efforts such as market segmentation.
Enhances user experience (UX)
As visitors search and navigate your site, they leave a breadcrumb trail indicating how easy (or hard!) it was to find the things they desired. You can use these clues to fine-tune your website, tweaking the design to provide the most customer-friendly UX. You can now ensure that navigating your site is straightforward and intuitive for visitors.
Improves conversion rates
The link between conversion rate and site search is well-established. Website users who run site searches are more likely to convert than those who don’t. Lacoste increased their conversion rate by 37% and their sales from search by 150% after implementing a site search solution. But to achieve these high conversion rates, you need insight into customer intent to make sure your search functionality is perfectly tuned and leading visitors to the right place.
Reduces bounce rates
KISSmetrics has undiscovered that 12% of a website’s visitors will leave and opt for a competitor’s site after an unsatisfactory search. Site search analysis data can help you optimize search results for accuracy and speed.
Enhances SEO efforts
Although site search analysis isn’t designed to be an SEO tool, it has an indirect positive impact on SEO. Implementing insights from site search analysis bolsters UX, and since Google favors websites with excellent UX, it’s no coincidence that some of the highest-ranking websites are also easy to search.
How to analyze your site search
Because every website and customer base is different, there’s not just one “right way” for a business to act on their site search analysis.
There’s a lot to learn, but before you get started, you’ll want to set up tracking analytics in the dashboard of your site search platform. This will allow you to analyze the performance of your site search.
Once you’ve got that set up, you’re ready to employ site search tactics that could benefit any site. Here are some tips for content and search configurations that are informed by site search analysis.
Tips to improve content searches
Modern-day marketers understand the importance of high-performance content. But even if your content team has filled your site with the highest-quality articles, infographics, and videos in the industry, those assets are not valuable if they aren’t aligned to customer needs or can’t be found. To bridge the gap between you and your site visitors, you need to examine and act on their search behavior.
Optimize content around keywords
The more you use site search analysis to continue learning about your customers and customer intent, the better you’ll become at crafting content that quickly shows up in their search results. Include the keywords and key phrases your users search for, and make sure you’re anticipating their needs in your content strategy.
Fix “0 results” occurrences
Searches that return “0 results” are a surefire way to drive visitors away from your site.
This could indicate that content is improperly or insufficiently tagged or that your visitors are searching for content topics that you’re simply not addressing on your site. When this happens, it’s time to fill the content gaps.
Maybe you’re missing information about specific product features, demonstration videos, FAQs, or spec sheets. Whatever it may be, once you produce it, you can be certain you’re providing purposeful content since it’s validated by your analysis.
Improve content when users aren’t clicking search results
In your site search analysis, you might uncover occurrences where your visitors’ searches are returning results, but your visitors aren’t clicking those results. This could be a sign that though your content may be aligned to the keywords, it doesn’t match the user intent behind the query. Again, this could be a simple matter of making sure content is properly tagged, or it could mean revamping your content to address the questions and curiosities your visitors have about those topics.
Make content more accessible with better website design
Once you’ve performed search site analysis and discovered your visitors’ most highly searched content topics, it’s smart to make this content easily accessible through intuitive navigation as well as search functionality.
Don’t bury frequently searched content topics under numerous clicks and layers of pages. Instead, feature sought-after content prominently for every visitor to see. You might even consider adding prominent sidebars displaying the most searched content on your site.
Also, it’s a valuable practice to analyze the page a user was visiting just before they searched for a keyword or phrase. Did that page already provide the information a visitor searched for? If so, the user might not have seen the information due to poor UX design.
Tips for your search configurations
The most advanced site search platforms offer robust tools and configurations to help you give users the easiest and fastest search experience possible. Here are some tips for maximizing these features.
Add filters and facets to prevent search overload
If you search for an “iphone charger” in Amazon, you get over 40,000 results. Having options is almost always a plus, but users can be overwhelmed when too many results are displayed without a sense of prioritization. Hundreds (or even thousands) of search results for a single query can lead to search-result overload, making it easy for visitors to get lost, distracted, and dissatisfied.
Activate filters and facets within your search platform to present your visitors with more relevant, narrowed-down search results to lend ease to the searching experience.
Configure search settings based on user click depth
If site visitors are clicking into the second, third, and fourth pages of our search results, you should take notice. The longer it takes a user to reach their goal, the less satisfying their experience becomes.
If your analytics reveal this problem, then click depth improvements are needed. Consider leveraging Query Suggestions, a search function that suggests keywords as the user is typing, as a potential way to reduce this hassle. Query suggestions effectively bring relevant information to the user in the search bar. For example, when a user types “mac,” “MacBook Air” and “MacBook Air 15 Inch” might be displayed to help the user find what they need sooner.
Configure search settings based on changing product demand
Product demand often changes with the seasons or the latest viral fads, and it’s easy to be caught off guard. Using site search analysis, you can observe changes in the frequency of particular product searches to gain real-time insight into what’s currently hot and what’s not.
With a deeper knowledge of current demand, website owners can configure custom ranking settings to bring the hottest-selling items (or most-read content) to the top of the search results.
Configure search settings based on your own daily testing
It’s important to run your own searches on your site, and to do this frequently. Search for prominent keywords and analyze the search results.
Are your searches returning relevant results? If not, you’ll want to configure your search settings based on the problems you’ve found with your searches. This could mean creating search synonyms (such as “soda” results being listed along with “pop” results,) as well as adding filtering, alternative sorting, and other configurations.
If your site search platform doesn’t allow you to make adjustments and configurations, consider re-evaluating your platform and testing a tool that does.
Try out Algolia Site Search Analytics free
With Algolia’s intuitive analytics dashboard, you’re able to track key site search metrics:
- Search queries: The most popular queries and the ones returning no results
- Search filters: The most commonly used filter attributes and values
- Search results: The results that are most returned to users across all queries
- Clicks: Track users’ click positions and clickthrough rate (CTR) of a given query
- Conversion rates: The conversion rates of all search queries
The dashboard explains each metric in an easy-to-understand graphical format and provides all the insight you need to take the right courses of action based on objective data.
Try out Algolia’s robust site search analytics today with a 14-day free trial.