Having an effective on-site search tool is vital for the success of both your website and for your business as a whole. Statistics tell us that at least 30% of website visitors will utilize the search bar and conversion rates through site search can be up to 50% higher than average. With that in mind, providing a meaningful and satisfactory search experience should be a priority. How can you tell whether or not your search is performing as expected? Ask yourself these four questions:

 

How frequently are visitors using the search box?

Are people searching at all? If so, how often are they doing it? This is probably the most fundamental question to ask of your search data as it can uncover many details about both user behavior and your website’s interface as a whole.

Using the site search usage report in Google Analytics, you can see the percentage of visitors using site search vs those who are not. If you see a very low percentage of searchers this could mean one of two things: Either your visitors are finding exactly what they’re looking for through navigation alone and don’t even want to search (not very likely for most companies) or that the search bar isn’t in a prominent spot and isn’t delivering the results users expect to find.

A shopper who comes to a website and uses the search bar is far more likely to purchase an item because they already know what they want. This type of customer is highly engaged with your company! By encouraging them to search you can grow your business immensely.

 

What are visitors searching for?

Ok, so when users do use the search function, what are they looking for? This is certainly something any organization should want to know.

Hawksearch provides some insight into what users are searching for with the ‘Top 250 Keywords’ report. The report shows the top terms that users type into the search bar along with the number of times they have been used. If you use the data effectively, this can provide a wealth of information to improve your search.

For starters, you can also take the information found here and make sure that relevant content is being returned from these popular terms. Many companies even consider taking these terms and building out landing pages around them. By knowing what your customers are searching for, you can guide their search experience and always deliver the right results.

 

Which terms are returning poor search results?

Next, you’re going to want to ask if there are any search terms that are returning less than stellar results.

This information is essential for building out a search strategy because poor search can cause customers to leave your site entirely. Hawksearch’s ‘Searches With Poor Results’ report can log the search terms that return a low number of results and the number of times this has occurred. The best part of this report is that it’s customizable – “poor search” can be quantified as whatever you want it to be.

Use this information to see which search terms are not synching up to avoid lost opportunities. For example, if customers are frequently searching for “caps” instead of “hats” and getting little to no results, you may want to use that information to group those two synonyms together.

 

Are any search terms resulting in conversions?

The final question to ask is a big one for measuring the effectiveness of your ecommerce site search: which search terms actually generate sales?

Reports like Hawksearch’s ‘Conversion Summary’ can track the number of sales placed for a specific search term as well as the revenue generated for that term. In addition, the average revenue per order and the conversion rate is also calculated.

This data is essential for determining whether or not your site search is contributing to your business goals. Knowing what search terms deliver results that lead to a conversion can help you further refine your search strategy. For example, if searching for a specific brand name led to an increase in conversions, you may consider highlighting that brand more prominently on a landing page or even building out a campaign or a promotion around it. This info can not only optimize your search but it can also provide some key insights about your customers and what entices them to convert.

All in all, the best way to determine whether or not your site search is performing as expected is to look under the hood and dig deeper into the metrics. Studying real user data is key to providing a seamless search experience to your customers.