Do you have good insights into the website visitors who use your on-site search function?

Chances are that even if you’re interested, the search function may not be set up in a way that makes it easy to track how people use it.

When someone types something into your website search box, it should be recording that search phrase in some way, either visually or in the background.  This then gives you the opportunity to identify the keyword phrases that people used and, ideally, the number of search results that were displayed to them.

As an example of this, using the A1WebStats system to pull out the data, the spreadsheet extract below shows a page url that includes reference to the search function being used (/search/), the phrase that was searched for (e.g. /query-compression tester), the number of search results that appeared (e.g. /results-3), and the number of people who typed that search phrase (2 ‘Visits’) …


In the example above, you can also see that 2 people (Visits) searched for ‘crossland’ within the website but the search results were zero.   When you’re extracting such data from A1WebStats you can easily filter the data to identify anything that shows as zero (in the example above, results-0), which will help to give you a better understanding of what people were looking for on your website (but gave them no search results).    Equally important, is to identify those people who did get search results, how many results there were, and how many people felt the need to use the on-site search function to navigate through to those parts of the website.

We recommend that you undertake such analysis on a monthly basis, focusing in particular on those keyword phrases that brought up zero results.  You may find (over a period of time) that people are searching for things that are either:

a) found within your website but can’t be accessed via your search facility, or;
b) aren’t within your website but possibly should be if you created the website content to focus on such search phrases.

In the majority of cases, website owners uncover interesting patterns about search behaviour, which contributes towards strategic thinking about how the website can become stronger.

If you have an on-site search function and would like to know how the A1WebStats system can help you uncover more information about how people use it, then please do let us know – we’ll be happy to help.


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