Site Search as Key Performance Indicator


Do you know what’s happening in your own site search? Understanding site search is one of the most important KPI (Key Performance Indicator) you should measure.

Based on Econsultancy, up to 30% of visitors will use the site search box on e-commerce sites, and each of these users is showing a possible intent to purchase by entering product names or codes. Yet according to a Forrester study, over 50% of major websites fail in search usability. When your search fails to deliver, your conversion suffers. A low converting site will result in less sales and decreased revenue. Search is not just another nice feature to have. You have to think of search as an important revenue generating part of your business.

Your company works hard to drive traffic to your site. Many visitors will use your onsite search instead of browsing through your site. Online shoppers want to use site search to expedite their shopping process. The faster and easier they can locate the product they are looking for, the more likely they’ll buy on your site. The more roadblocks you set in place to inconvenience the shopper, the more likely they’ll buy from someone else.

Do you know what they are searching for? Are you in any way measuring what search phrases are queried on your site? It is not enough to have site search as a feature. You must analyse it. You have to understand it. Then, you should make adjustments based on your findings.

The best place to start learning about your site search is through the search log files. If you don’t monitor your log files, you will fail to gain an insight into what your customers are looking for on your site. Understanding site search is a KPI that should be part of your tactical operations. Learning about site search will tell you what your customers are looking for.

In addition to understanding what site visitors are searching for, you have to test what results yield from searches. For example, if your customers are searching for return policy what results are they shown? Are the search results relevant to the search queries? If the result you get is not the best possible result, you have to tweak you search engine. The top few results must be relevant, because searchers are not interested in reading deep down in your search results. Search result number 10 is infinitely more irrelevant than search result number 1.

Every reasonable search phrase should result in relevant search results. For example, if the site searcher types return policy in the search field, the search should result in pages with information or action on return policy. Every e-commerce site should have a return policy. Therefore, the site search should yield the relevant result. One of the worst possible outcomes for a search query would be no results. If a user types any relevant key phrase, it should result in relevant results. If they don’t, your search is failing your customers.

Site search is a tool to enhance customer satisfaction. If it works as it is supposed to, it has done its job. If site search fails it becomes a frustrating experience instead of a positive one. This will result in lower conversion rates, lost sales opportunities, loss of revenue and unhappy site visitors. So, monitor and analyse your site search, and make the tweaks that are necessary for it today!

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