Google Analytics - Site Search Report

Internal site search reporting can be used to track how people use the search function of your site and their intentions for using it. Information generated through Google Analytics regarding internal search queries are extremely significant for site owners as it details exactly what visitors are looking (‘searching’) for within the site.

The Site Search Report makes use of some unique metrics that are not used within other reports that can be produced within Google Analytics. This report makes use of the following metrics ‘Total Unique Searches’, ‘Results Pageviews/Search’, ‘% Search Exits’, ‘% Search Refinements’, ‘Time after Search’ and ‘Search Depth’. The ‘% Search Exists’ and ‘Results Pageviews/search’ metrics are two of the most significant metrics when analyzing visitor search behaviours. The ‘% Search Exits’ metric provides an insight into the percentage of searches in which visitors left a site rather than clicking on any of the results provided. This metric illustrates whether visitors are satisfied with the results returned from the search. The ‘Results Pageviews/search’ metric illustrates the number of times visitors viewed a search results page after searching. This metric is useful as it shows how effective your search engine is and how appropriate your content is, if you are seeing that visitors are looking through 2 or more pages then you know that they are having trouble finding the content they desire.

Within the Site Search Report several sub-reports exist that can be used to help identify different trends regarding the use of the site search function.

  • Usage Report – Can be used to compare information on visits that involved a site search and visits which did not involve a site search. This is valuable as it allows site owners to see if conversions are occurring from visits that involved a site search.
  • Search Terms Report – allows you to see the exact keywords visitors are using when searching for information within your site.
  • Site Search Start Pages Report - This report reveals the pages on which your visitors are starting their searches, which will give you an indication as to where visitors are getting lost or where they are unable to find the content they desire.
  • Destination Pages report – Shows the pages where visitors have ended up after using the search function on your site.
  • Categories Report – This report is relevant to site owners that categorise products or sections of their site as it shows which categories visitors searched on based on the search term.
  • Trending Report – Allows site owners to analyse visitation statistics broken down over time (hour, day, week, month) or ‘time after search’ which displays the average time a visitor spent on your site.

Overall, the site search reporting function within Google Analytics allows the site owner to answer such questions as; how often is the search function being used? What are visitors looking for? What pages are searches beginning and ending on?

Armed with this information site owners can infer what changes they need to make to their site and content to provide the information that visitors are craving.

Considerations

  • Users that wish to view these reports need to ensure that they have configured their account for internal site search. Refer to the link below for directions on how to set this up;

http://www.roirevolution.com/blog/2008/08/internal_site_search_reporting.html

Benefits for Different Business Sectors

Multi-National Corporations

  • These companies can use the Categories report to understand the behavior of international visitors by segmenting the site into different sections based on the language content is written in.

Domestic Corporations

  • These companies can gain an insight into the content that visitors are trying to find through the Search Terms Report and provide themselves with opportunities to tailor content to match needs of visitors

Medium

  • Smaller to medium organizations can use the Usage Report to analyse whether their search function is working as desired.

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