Here are my notes on Site Search Analytics.
The main Analysis are detailed below:
Search Metrics – Goal Based Analysis
% Queries that retrieve zero results
– Measures the quality of your search results, based on the degree to which your search results are failing. Typically used as a KPI.
– Zero queries generally mean failure, so your goal should be to make this number as small as possible. Exception is when users are simply trying to validate that a piece of content does not exist.
% Queries where users click on a search result
– Measures the quality of your search results based on the degree your results are being clicked on by users.
– If a search result is clicked, it’s likely that it’s at least interesting and engaging, even if irrelevant. So no clicks may mean poor results
% Queries that lead to users exiting the site
– Aka – search bounce or site search exit rate
– Measures the quality of the overall search experience based on the degree users leave without clicking on any results.
– When users immediately leave your site after searching, it can infer that their expectations were not met.
% Sessions that use Search
– Compares the usage of your site’s search system versus browsing.
– Knowing the degree of which users rely upon search helps determine how much you invest in developing and improving your search system.
Average # queries per session
– Tracks how frequently users search during a single session.
– Most useful when cross-referenced with specific keywords that are being used within a single session (see Search Refine Rates)
– If the queries are duplicates or synonyms, users may be flailing, indicating poor search performance.
Average # search results pages viewed per query
– Measures the quality of search results.
– If the number is greater than one, users may not be finding the most relevant results on the first page. Keep in mind that this measures the performance of individual queries, rather than your site overall.
Average # pages viewed after searching
– Measures the quality of your site’s content and calls to action.
– The act of searching itself is only a step in the process.
– What did users do after they searched? Did they take the action you hoped they would?
– Compare this metric with Average # Pages viewed before searching
Average time spent on site after searching
– Measures users level of engagement and satisfaction after search.
– The more time users spend on your site is often – though not always – a good indicator of their satisfaction level.
– Temper this assumption by cross-referencing this metric with others. Such as Average # pages viewed after searching and goal/conversion completion rate.
Average time spent on site before searching
– Measure the effectiveness of your site’s navigation
– Often users will search when they become frustrated; knowing what that threshold is can help inform your design decisions. Compare this metric with Average time on site without search in conjunction with goal/conversion completion rate.
Average time spent on each search results page
– Measures the usability of your site’s search engine results pages.
– Longer times might be an indicator that your SERP design is confusing or contains too much information.
– Follow this metric over time to see if it goes up or down in response to your design tweaks.
Conversion ratio visitors who use this site search
– Measures the quality of the overall search experience, compared to those who browsed.
– This is another way to look at how well your site’s search is performing compared with this its browsing experience.
Average # items added from search results
– Measure the number of items marked or added to cart after using search.
– Applicable for sites that have a shopping cart or similar “basket” functionality. Use in conjunction with other metrics, such as Search conversion rate, Top search terms with corresponding conversion rates, and Average time spent on site after searching to make a case for greater investment in your system.
Session Duration for all sessions that included searches
– Measures the average time spent on your site for users that searched.
– Compare with Session duration for all sessions that didn’t include search to get a good sense of whether users are exploring more or less with search than with browsing.
– Considering your site’s goals, is this a good thing?
Search Conversion Rate
– Measures the overall percentage of searches that result in a conversion.
– Helps determine how many users “converted” using search. The term conversion can go beyond making purchases; conversions can also include downloading, signing-up, registering, and other actions
Search refinement rate
– Measures the quality and relevancy of search engines result pages related to a user query
– High rates of refinement typically mean that the SERPs did not meet the users’ expectations and that user are continuing to seek results despite their poor experience.
Most Frequent Search Terms
– Tracks the most commonly searched queries.
– You should know your top queries by heart, as they are the most popular and , likely, the most valuable to your site’s users.
Most frequent queries with corresponding conversion rates
– Track the overall performance of your most common queries.
– The term conversion can go beyond making the purchases; conversions can also include downloading, signing-up, registering, and other actions.
– Follow these queries overtime to understand your users needs, especially queries that are frequently searched and evergreen.
Most frequent pages on the site where site was initiated
– Tracks the quality of content, design, and page (CMS) templates.
– Shows where users became frustrated with content or navigation and decide to begin searching. Learn more by determining if these pages are related. Do they share the same design? Or CMS template? Note that if search is the user’s first action on the site, it should not be included in this metric.
Total # of unique searches
– Measure the breadth and depth of your users’ natural language.
– By itself, this doesn’t mean people, but when it is broken down and examined, it’s probably the most valuable list you will come across because it is your users’ confessions of what they are trying to find in their own words.
– This is a gold mine of data that can be directly applied to keywords, metadata, SEO, SEM, navigation, taxonomy, page titles, tags etc.
This is valuable data to apply for greater findability, accessibility and relevancy.