Most likely, you already know that with web analytics, you can uncover valuable information about how and where your visitors use your site to purchase products or download information. Did you also know that when you integrate analytics (like Google Analytics) with site search you can gain great insights into how your visitors think, how they navigate your site, and why they buy (or don’t buy)?

In fact, analytics packages show differences in how site search and non-site search users interact with your site. Typically, site search users are more engaged with the site – they spend more time browsing, view more pages, and convert at a much higher rate.

Specifically, analytics packages track and analyze site search data to give you a better understanding of which keywords convert well, and which keywords perform poorly. For example, site visitors might spell a keyword differently (a common problem for complex product names), or simply use a search term for a product you haven’t accounted for (e.g., “iPods” instead of “MP3 players”).

If the keywords don’t match, then valid products may not appear for that search term – resulting in poor conversions and/or click-throughs. Analytics can help you detect such keyword challenges early on, and allow you to modify product descriptions and other content and ideally capture more sales or requests to download information.

Integrating analytics with site search can also tip you off to seasonal trends so you can modify product copy or even add products as visitors’ search habits change. For example, you may discover through keyword analysis that shoppers are looking for back-to-school products earlier than you anticipated, or that they’re actively searching for a product you don’t carry that you might want to stock.

Analytics can also help improve your success rate when using site search results pages for pay-per-click campaigns. You can easily use site search results pages as PPC landing pages, giving you more time to spend on developing ad copy and bidding on keywords. Analytics will identify the ad variants that perform well, so you can optimize landing pages for campaigns with the best click-throughs.

Remember, when you’re using site search pages as PPC landing pages, the traffic patterns are going to be very different from when the pages are accessed from the site search box. In order to properly evaluate the site search effectiveness, as well as the effectiveness of the landing pages, they should be tracked separately in the web analytics tools.

While there’s a wealth of data to dig into when you connect analytics to site search, it can be overwhelming to sort through all the numbers. If you’re curious (or confused) about any information that you’ve gleaned from web analytics in relation to site search, contact your SLI customer success manager, and we’ll help you interpret the data.

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