Site Search 101: How Site Search Analytics Can Help You Grow Business

Julija Televiciute
By Julija
Feb 17 2021
Time to read
7 min to read
Is getting more sales your number one priority right now? Wait. Before you put any more money into driving more traffic to your website, you should analyze if you are actually making the most of your existing traffic. And that's where simply checking your Google Analytics may not suffice.

To gain more insights into why your conversion rate can be low, you need to really understand how visitors behave in your store: how they look for products in the catalog, what search queries they enter, which ones lead to purchases, and which ones bring no results and have potential buyers drop off. That's where site search analytics step in.

What is Website Search Analytics?

Search Analytics is a detailed analysis of how people search for products in your store.

It helps you understand what your potential customers want when they land on your website and whether or not they manage to get it.

Site search data show you how your visitors interact with your search box:

  • What products they search for
  • What search terms they enter
  • Which search terms result in the most sales
  • What products they can't find through search

In general, you can track interactions of your customers with your search suggestions and see the performance of your site search in terms of whether it generates your revenue or loses it.
Site Search Analytics Chart on Searchanise Admin Panel
Search analytics helps you listen and understand search behaviour of your customers and how your search meets their needs
In this article, we'll tell you how interpreting site search data can help you improve your site search performance, optimize customer path to products and maximize conversions.

Let's get into it!

Why do you need to analyze site search data?

In short, analyzing site search data is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your website bounce rate and optimize for better traffic conversion.

Econsultancy has found that up to 30% of e-commerce visitors go straight to the search bar as they enter an eCommerce website. These people are probably your most valuable users! Why? They exhibit more shopping intent when entering their search queries, and therefore, they're more ready to open their wallets.

Analyzing site search data is like carrying on a conversation with your customers: you listen to and understand their needs and improve your search performance to meet those needs. With the data, you can make the necessary adjustments to your site search and deliver a better experience from the first few seconds of interaction with your search box.

If you don't take care of your internal site search, you might end up with a poor user experience (UX) and your profit will suffer in the long-run. As Forrester reports, a whopping 68% of shoppers wouldn't return to a site with a poor search experience.

Site Search Report in Google Analytics

Search Analytics is so important that Google Analytics (GA) has a separate section for measuring site search performance.

The GA report provides a general understanding of how users are using the search box on your site. You can monitor how often people use the internal search on your site and compare their conversion rates to users who purchase through product catalog browsing and not using search.
Search analytics in GA
The general metrics of your site search performance in Google Analytics
You can track things like:

  • How many visitors use search vs. browse catalog
  • Purchases made through search vs. through the catalog
  • Conversion rates of visitors using site search vs. visitors not using site search

However, unless you're an advanced GA user and have implemented Enhanced Ecommerce, you'll have a hard time getting information of value to your business. Plus, GA won't give you all the data you need for your website optimization, even with full customization.

If you're interested in learning about measuring site search effectiveness with Google Analytics, check our guide on it here. There we give step-by-step instructions on how to set up Google Analytics for Site Search Analytics.

But, if you want to get more value from your internal search data, keep on reading!

How to improve and grow your business using data from Search Analytics

While GA data is great for getting a general idea about your site search performance, dedicated site search analytics feature available in third-party site search apps for eCommerce offers more specific data about your users' behavior in a much easier way.

Based on the data from the in-app search analytics, you can make well-educated business decisions. By combining the data insights with other ecommerce features of a site search app, you will optimize customer path to products, maximize conversions and achieve your sales goals.

Let's look at the new capabilities!

1. Improve your Search Relevance.

Sites like Google or Amazon have set a high bar for the relevance of search results users expect these days. People get frustrated pretty fast when they can't find what they're looking for in your store: give them none or a few irrelevant results, and they'll likely go to your competitors instead.

Such unfortunate instances usually happen when your search relevance is low. In other words, your search doesn't understand the user's intent and shows them the wrong search results.

With dedicated search analytics, you can start working on improving the search results relevance by checking the "0 results queries" report. Examine which queries are most often not found and try to understand the user's intent.
Most popular search terms and phrases on your website
No results queries tab in the analytics panel is number one thing to keep an eye on
Once you've made the list of the queries to fix, you can use the in-app features to improve search results relevance.

Example: Your shoppers can type in "tight pants" and get no result because your store has "leggins" product items. Setting up "tight pants" and "leggins" as synonyms will match search results for "leggins" with the search term "tight pants".
Synonyms Section
Assigning synonyms for search terms is one way to fix no results page
And voilà! You've just improved your search results relevance and made sure you won't be losing a potential customer.
Instant Search Widget with Enabled Synonym Feature
Search results for "tight pants" now match for "leggings"
2. Improve your internal search term CTR.

In your search analysis, you can uncover product items that have low clicks. When visitors aren't clicking the returning results, this could be a sign that the suggested content they see is not aligned with their intent. Think about the possible reasons for this.

Most Popular Products in the Searchanise Application
Analyzing product clicks in the Searchanise app
Maybe you're using the wrong keywords in your product names? Or maybe your product preview needs some polishing? You could make them look more attractive by altering images and descriptions to trigger the user's curiosity and have them click on the suggested products. Or, this could be a matter of adjusting the position of the product item in suggestions.

3. Expand your product catalog.

When you know your top search terms, it helps you understand how customers perceive you.

Example: One of our grocery retailers has learned from analytics which search terms visitors were entering (zipper bags, freezer bags, plastic containers, etc.), although there were no such products in the catalog. He saw this as an opportunity to start selling these items.

Tracking "no results" searches can also be super helpful to discover new trends in the industry.

Example: Another client of ours, an electronic goods retailer, noticed that a few search queries gave zero results. It was the "smartphone lens." They researched what they were and realized it was something that's getting trendy. Adding smartphone lenses to their stock gave them an immediate revenue increase.

4. Build your merchandising strategy.

Monitoring top search queries can set the direction for your next product promotion efforts.

Example: Suppose you sell sports shoes and find that your most popular search term is "breathable running shoes". Which one of the tens or hundreds of shoes that you stock do you put at the top of the product suggestions list?

Take it to the next level and display discounts and special offers in the suggestions to entice more customers.

Have a more dedicated marketing campaign in mind? Define custom redirects for particular search queries - when your customers enter a certain term, they'll be taken to a dedicated landing page.

Search queries data is a real gold mine. It allows you to listen to your customers, speak the same language, and run more targeted campaigns.

5. Boost your SEO.

Google likes sites that people like!

The data-driven decisions you make to optimize your search relevance and navigation remove friction on the customer path to products and help visitors explore website content related to their queries. As a result, people spend more time on your site and the bounce rate reduces. Both of these factors are essential to your overall SEO health.

There is no black magic. It all boils down to this:

Better SEO - More organic traffic - More sales.

How to start using Site Search Analytics

The best way to start using the full power of site search data is to get a search app that collects users' search data and provides detailed analytics reports.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a site search app:

  • Not all search apps allow you to track customer search activities from day one of using the app. This limits your access to reports for custom time ranges. This is not good if you want to analyze the previous Christmas or Black Friday data to better prepare for the next holiday season.

  • Analytics might not be available on all plans – this might be a problem for stores with smaller catalogs if plans are based on the number of products.

For Searchanise users, site search data reports are already in-built and are always available at the admin panel's analytics tab. Any Pro user can track all the key numbers of the store's internal search from day one of using Searchanise:

  • Top search queries
  • Top search queries with no results
  • Products clicked in search suggestions
  • Products bought through search and more

The data is presented in a simple format and provides you with the info you need to make data-driven decisions and improve your site to drive more sales.
Julija Televiciute - Copywriter
Copywriter at Searchanise

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