Digging Deep with Internal Site Search Part II

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Last week, I wrote about how to better take advantage of Google Analytics internal site search reports and types of information about site behavior that can be gleaned from them. This week, I’d like to expand on that post to discuss the next steps – what to actually DO with that information. Let’s dive in.

  • Optimize for internal search. Best practices include but are not limited to:
    • Include site search on ALL your pages
    • Optimize your content (especially page titles) for SEO
    • Consider adding auto-complete to the search box
    • Incorporate images into search results
    • Show ratings and reviews
    • Integrate date biasing (influence ranking based on age of documents)
    • Enable visitors to find content with synonyms (upload synonym dictionaries  through Google Site Search)
    • Enable top results biasing (target top search results from specific sections of your site – product catalog, for example)
  • Test page and site layout: if site search indicates more service related searches, test home page layout to highlight that information. Tools that can facilitate this process are:
    • Google Website Optimizer to run formal A/B tests
    • Google In Page Analytics to see where on a page visitors are clicking (or not clicking)
    • Heatmap tools such as AttentionWizard.com for landing page eye tracking performance
  • Add content: are users looking for information you don’t have? If so, add more content that could be in the form of:
    • Product catalogs
    • Whitepapers
    • Articles / blog posts
    • Reviews
    • Service descriptions
    • Webinars and podcasts
    • Videos
    • How-To guides
    • Case studies
    • FAQs
    • Glossaries
    • Contact information
  • Offer new products, services and features: search queries may indicate an unfulfilled need in products and services. Are there themes around products not offered? Services not provided? Product features that could be added?
  • Track performance: as tests are executed, ensure that you have a formal process in place for tracking performance. Some key metrics to consider:
    • Total unique searches
    • Time after search
    • Site conversion rate
    • % search exits
    • % search query refinement
    • Bounce rate of visitors that used site search
    • Search depth

So don’t overlook the importance of tracking internal site search. It offers far more than what keywords your visitors are using in the search box. Let the data empower you to create a better experience for site visitors and ultimately impact your bottom line in the form of higher converting visitors.

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman works for the Jive Software, the pioneer and leading provider of social business solutions. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine... Read Full Bio
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