No matter what industry you work in, the ultimate goal of your website is to serve your audience while meeting business demands. When browsing a website, visitors will opt for the search bar if they cannot find what they need in an efficient manner. And if their search returns irrelevant results, or even worse, no results, they may choose to leave your site altogether.
The good news is that site exits can be avoided by diving into your search analytics. Site search analytics are an extremely valuable tool when it comes to maintaining your website. While there is no one answer to keeping people on your site, search analytics can provide endless insights on how to continually refine and enhance the user experience.
From evaluating the user journey to finding content gaps, read on for four easy ways to use site search analytics to lower your exit rate!
Start from the beginning
The first order of business is to look at where on your site users begin their search – or the search origin page. Almost half of site visitors will begin their search on the home page, and that’s to be expected. While you should absolutely pay attention to searches made on your home page, the more crucial searches to analyze are the ones made elsewhere.
Search origin pages are important because it means users are navigating your site but not finding relevant content within the pages. Spend time comparing search terms to the pages they are made on, from there you can decide whether to update the content, calls-to-action or create a new page altogether.
Analyze the searches
After looking at where your users are performing their searches, it’s time to look at the search terms themselves. At Cludo, we sort search terms into four groupings: “All searches”, “Searches with results”, “Searches without results” and “Ineffective searches”.
The first two, “All searches” and “Searches with results” are pretty self-explanatory. “All searches” provides an overview of every search performed on your site. “Searches with results” are queries that returned results that your users found relevant. These analytics are great for getting an overall view of your search terms, especially terms that were suitable to your users’ needs.
The other two groups of search terms are where you want to pay extra attention. These sets of queries are especially important to discovering content gaps and improving relevance. “Searches without results” means that the search query didn’t produce any results. Look through your searches without results to confirm there aren’t any terms you believe should be returning results. If there are, that means you have a content gap that needs to be filled.
“Ineffective searches” are queries that are served results, but the user doesn’t click on any of them. This means that content is there, it’s just not the right content. Take time sifting through your ineffective searches and decide if you should be creating new content. With a search solution like Cludo, you have the ability to create Banners and page rankings, adjusting relevance in real-time.
Find where your site can improve
After taking time and thoroughly assessing your site search analytics, it’s time to put together all the data you’ve gathered to make some decisions. It may be as easy as creating new copy, or a bit more complicated like reworking large portions of your website. Take some time to consider the below when looking at the data.
When you see common search terms or pages, consider the reason why: are they too difficult to find? Maybe it’s time to rearrange or simplify your site navigation.
Are your users searching for a topic you don’t discuss on your site at all? Time to change that! Create a list of common search subjects and find ways to seamlessly discuss them on your website.
While you’re exploring ways to improve content, don’t forget to look at the search results page itself. Could your SERP use some styling updates? Are you optimized for mobile? Part of the search experience is how the results are presented to users, and if your SERP doesn’t align with the rest of your site, you may lose visitors.
Modify your content
Now for the fun part! You’ve discovered where your site needs improvement, which means it’s time to put what you’ve learned to use. Take the insights you’ve gained through search analytics and enhance the quality of your site with these next steps.
Start by expanding the verbiage used throughout your site. Is the term “jobs” searched frequently when you use the term “careers”? If so, create a synonym! That way when “jobs” is searched going forward, you can guarantee useful results will be served. If you’re an international company, you may want to add synonyms that are specific to a region (for instance, the U.S. spells the word “color” while the U.K. version is “colour”).
A simple way to ensure your users get results is by creating Misspellings. When you add a misspelling, you connect it to a correctly spelled word. When a user performs a search with the misspelled word, they will receive the results for the correctly spelled word that correspond to that misspelling. Though small, these adjustments could be the difference between someone staying on your site or leaving.
Another way to avoid site exits is to shorten the user journey by creating Quicklinks. Quicklinks send users directly to a specific URL, bypassing the search results page entirely. Which is especially useful for pages that get a good amount of traffic, like a pricing page or staff directory. By steering users where they need to go, you’ll reduce the likelihood of them wanting to leave your site.
Putting it all together
When utilized, your search analytics provide valuable insights to improve your website and overall user experience. We know that maintaining a website is an ongoing process, and that there is always work to be done. Don’t forget to make time for search analytics when looking to increase web traffic while keeping up with business demand!
Want to see your search analytics in action? Request a demo today!