June 25, 2018

Applying Data Science To Your Search Strategy

It is critical today for every business involved in ecommerce to provide their site visitors with an outstanding search experience that produces relevant, personalized search results. Successful search journeys are critical for businesses as they lead to sales and returning customers. However not all search encounters achieve these desired results. There is a great way to improve the chances of providing a great search experience for customers. Studying real user metrics about visitor behavior and patterns/trends can play an important role in maximizing the quality and effectiveness of site search. In this blog, we will cover how to utilize both HawkSearch reporting and Google Analytics and how combining these resources together can be a powerful tool for companies looking to optimize search.  

3 Reasons Why Search Data Is So Important

  1. Provides insight into customer intent
  2. Measures the effectiveness of the results being delivered
  3. Helps optimize site content  

The marketing survey organization, eConsultancy, recently did a survey on site search and concluded the following.   Nearly 85% of companies interviewed did not have dedicated resources to optimize search experiences.

42% of organizations were neglecting site search metrics altogether.

93% of companies reported that they are not efficiently learning from captured site data.

Both Google Analytics and the reporting available through HawkSearch are powerful tools to evaluate the quality of your site search.

Important Reports Within Google Analytics

Site Search Usage Report  - Shows percentage of visitors using site search and those who do not.

Search Terms Report  - Counts the number of times a specific search term is used.

Search Start Page Results - Reports on where visitors actually started their site search query.

Advanced Reporting & Segmentation- Google Analytics enables business users to break down aggregated data into segments such as visitor behavior differing on mobile devices vs. desktops.

Essential HawkSearch Reports

Conversion Summary  - Measures the sales generated from top key words.

Top 250 Facets  - Rates the most utilized facets within a category.

Top 250 Keywords  - Captures the specific keywords that visitors have chosen and the number of times they have been used them.

Searches With Poor Results  - Logs the description of searches that return poor results and the number of times it has occurred.

Pagination Activity  - Summary of the number of searches that stopped on the first page of results, second page, third, etc.

So Many Metrics, So Little Time.

What to do with all this data? A business user will best benefit by taking this information and focusing on one thing - Search/Relevance Tuning. HawkSearch can conduct search/relevance tuning activity for its customers. Additionally, here are some effective ways that search tuning can be accomplished.

Facet Optimization

Creating the correct amount of facets is critical to effective search relevance. Having too many facets is going to overwhelm visitors. Too few will leave them with incomplete information.  

Results Set and Order of Display

The product or item set list that is returned via search results is based upon what the business user wants the visitor to see. The HawkSearch dashboard functionality will help online marketers determine what items will appear in the search results.

The following things will greatly influence what is displayed in the search results.  

  • Queried Fields, Visibility Rules
  • Synonyms, Protected Words and Smart Autocorrect    
  • Improving Product/Item Listings  

Determining the quality of the product/information set list is just as important as creating the list itself when it comes to search relevance. Product or information is found either by doing a search on a keyword or by category on a landing page. Here are some good starting points when looking at improving the relevance quality of set listings.

Search terms that have high exit rates – need to minimize

  • Terms that are most searched
  • Terms with fewest results – need to minimize
  • Landing pages that act as search start pages

Studying site search data is an often underutilized, but an extremely powerful method to improve search relevance and personalization for visitors. For more information on this topic, chat with a HawkSearch expert today.


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