How Well Do You Know Your Customer? (Your Analytics Won’t Tell You This)

search on your site

If you’re looking to learn more about your site visitors, you’re likely looking at your Google Analytics (or other traffic analysis tools) in order to determine who is visiting your site, what they’re looking for, and even your conversion rate. But by default, Google Analytics isn’t going to tell you something important: what are they looking for once they visit your site.

Sure, you can tell what they’re looking at, or even what Google searches land a prospective customer on your site. But what happens when they are on your site? Can they search for content, whether help documentation for your product or service, educational materials, or even information about you and your business? You might think that your site is too simple for site search, or maybe you have specific funnels set up and there’s no need for search.

I’d argue that your on-site search data is incredibly important for understanding your customers, prospects, and site visitors. Knowing what a site visitor is searching FOR while on your site can tell you a few things. On site search data tells you:

  1. Specific data on what a visitor is looking for once they’ve already landed on your site.
  2. How well is your site presenting content that is specific to that search?
  3. How frequent are those searches?
  4. Does your site have content to fulfill those searches?

Let’s take an example. On my own site over the years, many people land here looking for specific content about what it’s like to live in Mount Shasta. Google results for this search place that post rather high, but that’s really my only post about what it’s like to live in Mount Shasta. They land there, but that’s all they get. If I had a product or service related to living in Mount Shasta, for example if I were a realtor, I could easily drive them into a funnel for conversion on buying a house in Mount Shasta, California.

Now, if my on-site search information showed that they then started to search for specific things such as restaurants in Mount Shasta, doctors or dentists in Mount Shasta, then I might have a business opportunity in writing reviews for those types of services. If perhaps some business such as a car repair service in the area went out of business, had a change in personnel that affected their service, and then all of a sudden there are a number of on site searches landing for car repair alternatives, that information could be helpful to write a new blog post specific to that type of inquiry.

Alas, this is but a mere blog doing mere place holding of random thoughts and observations on life around here, but if it were more than that, the on site search data is incredibly valuable.

What to Do With On-Site Search Data

There are a lot of things you can do with this data including but not limited to:

  1. Write new content to address any high volume searches that does not have enough content on your site.
  2. Modify existing content to ensure your site visitors can find content that isn’t easily findable initially. Perhaps you have content that addresses these searches, but you’re writing about where to get food in Mount Shasta, but people are searching specifically for restaurants.
  3. Add new products to address popular topics
  4. Add new services to address popular searches
  5. Reach out to related businesses for niches you’d rather not get into and see if there is an opportunity for partnership/affiliate deals
  6. Write time-sensitive content to address time-sensitive searches

How to Measure On-Site Searches

If you’re using WordPress, there is a plugin for that! You can install Search Meter to track and measure on-site searches to inform your content and business decisions.

If you’d rather not use another plugin, you can also set up Google Analytics to track on-site searches. On initial set up, Google Analytics will not track on-site search, but with a few tongue lashings and some encouraging words, tracking your site visitors successful (and not so successful) site searches is rather easy. You can find more information on how to enable this in this helpful article.

Remember to Check Analytics

Too often, business owners forget that they’re tracking analytics or on-site search data. Doing so and looking for opportunity is an important step in understanding your clients and market. Just like you check your bank balances and reconcile bank statements, checking on analytics and search data needs to be a regular part of business. As such, set a reminder to check in with your site and let it share secrets of your site visitors with you regularly.

This was day #10 of #ClickPublish in which I re-added site search to my blog. Feature image from Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash.

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