5 Tips For Using Google Analytics Site Search Reports

Taylor Cimala

By Taylor Cimala

I tend to find that most Google Analytics users are primarily looking at how people reached their website and hoping that the traffic graphs get bigger over time. George wrote a great piece last month on setting up goals so that you can see what actions users performed once they reached your website – this is very important! This can show you the value of the traffic coming to your website and how well your marketing is working for your business. All the upward trending graphs and thousands of visitors don’t mean much for reporting purposes if you don’t know what actions those visitors took. Now the next step is figuring out how the users interacted with your website and one great way to understand both user action and user intent is through the Site Search reports. Obviously you have to have an internal site search within your website, which is pretty much mandatory in the e-commerce space, but once you have the internal site search configured within Google Analytics, you now have a lot more information at your disposal to help improve both your marketing efforts and your website. Here are 5 tips to help you improve your website and questions you should ask yourself by using the Site Search reports:

1. User Intent

You can learn what people were actually looking for instead of what they searched for. Many people will search for something very broad on the search engine and then narrow it down once they get to your website. Are there search terms that people are using that don’t have any results? Should you create new landing pages or categories on your site to fulfill a demand? Figure out how to make sure people find what they are looking for. Where to Find: Site Search > Search Terms

2. Site Search Usage

How often do people use your internal search? How often do people that use the internal search complete a goal? We find the results to be pretty staggering and on average find that users that perform a site search are around 5 times more likely to complete a goal. Simply stated, people that know what they want and can find it easily are much more likely to give you money. Let people give you money. Where to Find: Site Search > Usage and Search terms with Goal Set or Ecommerce tabs active

3. Find Pages that Need Improvement

What pages on your website are most people ignoring and jumping to the search box instead? Are people leaving the site as a result? What can you do to fix those pages so that people aren’t leaving? Where to Find: Site Search > Start Pages

4. Does Your Search Work Properly?

How does your site search actually work? How many visitors are performing multiple searches? How many visitors are leaving your site after performing a search? How many pages are they viewing after they search? Are they staying on your site a long time or completing a goal? One of the worst things you can do on a website is include a feature or function that doesn’t work well. Where to Find: Site Search > Search Terms

5. Visitor Segmentation

Now it’s time to segment your visitors a little bit to see how different types of users interact with your site and internal search. Are organic visitors more likely to search than direct visitors? Learning what types of visitors are more likely to perform searches can help you improve your landing pages and site structure for optimal success. Where to Find: Site Search > All reports with Advanced Segments in place

Get Results!

What are the questions that you like to ask yourself when looking at the Site Search reports? What kind of solutions have you implemented as a result of your findings?