Every thriving business owner knows that business decisions should ideally be based on hard data. For owners of online websites or stores, it’s especially important to gather every bit of data that they can, as it’s usually impossible for them to actually talk to their visitors or customers.
One of the most important ways that website owners can gain insights into the expectations and experiences of their visitors is through collecting and analyzing data on how they interact with the search functionality on their website. Such a search functionality is known as ‘site search’, and it only fetches results from the website that it is embedded in.
The reason such analytics is vital is because knowing what visitors are looking for on your site and what search results they click on gives you an idea of their ‘search intent’. Moreover, knowing whether or not they find what they are looking for can help website owners improve their site and their site search functionality so as to make sure that visitors do not leave disappointed.
In addition, using site search analytics is an inexpensive way to learn how your site can be improved and how you can retain your visitors. Thus, it makes sense to make full use of analytics before you invest money into various other means that are meant to ramp up traffic to your website.
Let’s take a closer look at what site search analytics is, and then look at many more reasons why it is absolutely essential for online business owners to take advantage of the insights it offers.
What site search analytics is
In a nutshell, site search analytics provides a detailed picture of what visitors to your website search for, and what happens after they carry out their search.
Thus, such analytics can provide website owners with information such as:
1. The products/content that website visitors search for
2. The exact search queries that they use
3. Which search queries have the best performance in terms of sales/engagement/views
4. Click depth (i.e. the number of clicks taken to get from a website homepage to another page on that site)
5. The unique CTR (i.e. the ratio of the number of people who clicked a search result to the number of people who were shown that search result)
6. Which automatic suggestions got clicked
7. The degree to which each filter and sort option gets used
8. Gaining queries (i.e. queries that have begun picking up in terms of frequency: they can serve as useful guides for promotional campaigns)
9. Zero-result search queries (i.e. search queries that produce no results at all)
10. Useful aggregated details about visitors, such as their location, device type, average age, etc.
This kind of information can guide business owners when it comes to improving their website and their visitors’ search experience. By doing so, they can increase engagement as well as revenue.
The importance of site search analytics
Now that we’ve seen what site search analytics is, let’s get a detailed understanding of why it’s so vital for online businesses:
1. Website optimization
The more data you have about your visitors and what they are looking for when they land on your site, the better you will be able to optimize your website to meet your business goals.
Site search analytics can provide a window into the journey that your visitors go on once they type something into your site’s search bar. Let’s say, in an ecommerce context, that many of your visitors looked for a particular product, clicked on the top result, and then left your website without buying it. What would that tell you?
Such a situation would probably indicate that there was something about that product’s page that could be improved. Perhaps the photo isn’t detailed enough, or perhaps the description fails to mention an important point about product safety.
Thus, in this case, site search analytics would enable you to know where something on your website was less-than-ideal, and then fix it. Over time, such improvements would lead to more visitor engagement and revenue.
Site search analytics also allow website owners to have a clear picture of click-through rates (CTRs), conversion rates and zero-result search queries (discussed below). Thus, such analytics will help you pinpoint problem areas and evaluate site performance against your visitors’ journey.
2. Identifying zero-result search queries
Understanding site search analytics can help website owners recognize content/product gaps on their website, and address them.
For instance, such analytics can indicate zero-result search queries to website owners. A zero-result search query is a search query that produces no results at all. A look at the most frequent zero-result search queries should help website owners recognize the sort of things their visitors are looking for but failing to find.
Once such gaps are identified, they can be plugged by enlarging the product catalog or creating new content. Thus, future visitors looking for those kinds of things will not leave your website disappointed.
In addition, some search queries might produce no results because of some common typos, or because the site search engine does not have any synonyms for the words used in them. Both these situations would tie back into the website optimization discussed above, as you could manually tweak your site search engine so as to address these issues.
Thus, in effect, by interpreting site search data, you can optimize your visitors’ path, get them what they need as quickly as possible and prevent them from getting disappointed and leaving your website.
3. More effective merchandising
Knowing what visitors are most interested in can also help website owners plan promotions and discounts.
For instance, many site search engines come with the ability to “boost” specific products or pieces of content, which involves them always appearing at the top of the search results. Website owners can decide which items to boost by looking at the most popular or the best-converting search queries.
Moreover, the visitor data gathered by the site search analytics can also be used to provide each individual visitor with a more customized search experience (on the basis of their location, age, past engagement, etc.). This results in a smoother search experience for visitors, thus improving business outcomes.
The power of harnessing data for your online business
It should be clear by now that site search analytics are absolutely indispensable when it comes to growing your online business. It helps website owners optimize their websites, carry out more effective merchandising and promotion efforts and plug product/content gaps. Moreover, it can enable visitors to have a more customized search experience by leveraging granular statistics based on visitor behavior.
For an AI-powered site search engine that offers an extremely powerful real-time analytics platform, consider Zevi. With Zevi’s analytics, you can analyze visitor searches along three dimensions: search queries, products and visitors. Learn more about how Zevi can help you take your online business to the next level.