Why it's Important to Have a Search Bar On Your Site – And How to Leverage It

By Jillean Kearney on March 04, 2016

About 30% site visitors will use its search bar to find something, and search term data provides valuable insight into what your users are interested in.

Most Agility CMS-powered websites use Google Site Search. It applies the same technology and functionality of Google's search engine to a website's internal search bar.

Google's Site Search can seamlessly be integrated with Google Analytics, making it easy to view the search queries that users are entering into your search bar. (Follow these steps to set up to link you're site's search for reporting in Google Analytics.)

No matter how you've configured your site search or how you're tracking queries, having an internal site search is important because it can be leveraged to help improve your SEO strategy, user-experience and conversion rates.

Find New Keywords

It's very likely that users are typing the same (or similar) queries into your site's search bar as they are into Google and other search engines. It's also very likely that while mining through these queries, you'll find new keywords that you'll want to target.

These found keywords can then be used in your organic SEO or paid search strategies to help target the right – and most responsive – audience.

Boost Conversion Rates by Optimizing Landing Pages

Continuing on the idea of capturing the most responsive visitors to your site, you can use internal search query data to optimize landing pages and give your conversion rate a boost.

Something that you don't want to see within your internal search analytics is use of the search bar being on landing pages (whether the purpose of the landing page is for the user to complete a transaction or to fill out a form). If a site visitor is using the search bar on a landing page, it means that their expectations were not met and they didn't find what they were hoping to when they decided to click on the link to the landing page – whether it was from organic or paid search.

There are two takeaways from seeing a trend of your search bar being used on landing pages. First, in terms of paid search, you can edit the ad copy that entices a user to click through to a landing page to more accurately describe what they'll be presented with and better manage expectations. Or, you can create a more specific landing page, particularly if you're seeing a trend in queries, to improve retention and conversions.

Improve User-experience

Internal search queries provide insight into how users are searching for your existing content, but it also shows you what content they expect or hope to find on your site. By digging into your analytics, you can find out what site visitors are searching for and whether they it or not.

In Google Analytics, the % Search Exits metric indicates how many users clicked away from your site from a search results page instead of clicking on any of the links that were returned. The higher the percentage, the less satisfied users are.

Within your analytics, you should also check out the Results Pageviews/Search metric. This shows you how many times users viewed a search results page after searching for something. Typically, if Results/Pageviews/Search is higher than 2, it means that people have to dig deeper than they should for relevant results.

Less than stellar results for both metrics can mean that your user-experience can be improved – either your site search needs to be fine-tuned to provide more relevant results, or your site is missing the content that visitors want.

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March 04, 2016
Categories:  Content Managers

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