How to Extract Value From Site Search and Give Your Customers What They Want

What do your customers want?! It’s a question that every company will ask themselves when looking to drive growth. But the answer may be closer than you thought. You just need to look at the searches that happen on your site. 

While sites like Amazon and eBay feature a large search bar, most ecommerce sites want this as a secondary function, and would rather their customers be able to find what they need in the navigation menu. So for a customer to search for something in the search bar on your site means that things may need to be changed, as it implies it is not easily found in your menu.

We take a look at how you can get value from your site search to give your customers what they want. 

Extract Your Site Search Results

The best way to find out what people are searching for on your site is to utilise the ‘Site Search’ function on Google Analytics, which shows data around the terms searched on your site. Here you can see the terms people are searching for in a specific time frame, how many times these terms have been searched for, and the time spent on the site after their search. 

Some e-commerce platforms and Content Management Systems, like Shopify, can also provide data and reports on searches that have been made on your site. Shopify, for example, puts together a report for your site’s top online store searches that give no results, which can highlight areas where your site is lacking. 

Our Conversion Rate Optimisation and UX Services can help you to identify these searches and how they can be utilised to improve your site.

What Does Site Search Data Tell Us?

Looking at your site search data can give you invaluable information that can be used to improve your site. 

Different Terminology 

One thing that may become apparent when looking at your site search data is that your customers are using different phrases or terms to search for a product than you have used to describe them. 

An example of this could be for a vape store, where you have written ‘e-liquid’ in your page copy and product names, but your customers are searching for ‘vape juice’. These are two terms for the same product type, but it shows that the people buying the products may be using one form more than the other. As a result, you may want to alter the way you talk about the product on your site, updating terminology or using a mix of both phrases to target more customers. 

As well as on-page copy changes, this can also be used for updating menus and navigation to replace your phrasing with the more popular terminology. You can also semantically link the keywords in the backend of the site, so that the system knows the two words are related. 

Spelling Variations

Likewise, variations in spelling, such as American vs British English or misspellings of brand and product names, may want to be taken into consideration if people are routinely searching for alternative spellings. 

While we’re not suggesting you change your product name to an incorrect spelling, it may be beneficial to make reference to alternative spelling or phrasing within your page copy. The idea is to take how your customers talk and reflect it back to them. 

Products That Are Missing

One of the most valuable things site search data can show us is products that are missing from your site. If you see that potential customers are searching for products or brands on your site that you don’t sell, it shows that there is interest in those items and that it could be beneficial to start stocking them. 

Using the Shopify “top online store searches with no results” report, we were able to see that customers at a vape store were searching for ‘Elux’, a brand of disposable vape that wasn’t stocked on our client’s site at that point. By seeing these searches and the interest around the brand, we were able to get their products stocked on the site and it has now become one of the best-selling brands on the website. 

Inform New Categories or Collections

Likewise, if you see searches for broader categories, it may reveal opportunities for adding to your navigation menu. 

A great example of this is from a watersports client, where there were searches growing on the site around “hooded wetsuits”. The menu didn’t have a section for hooded wetsuits, but the site search data showed that it was something customers were looking for. Therefore, it made sense to add a hooded wetsuit category page and include this in the navigation menu.

Testing Your Searches 

When you know what your customers are searching, it can also be a good idea to test the popular searches out on your site to check that the results that appear are relevant. If you leave all the hard work to the site and don’t check that people are being served what they want, you could be missing out on conversions. A search that doesn’t give the right results  is a sure fire way to get someone to exit.

Want to give your customers what they want? If you need help turning your site search data into actionable changes for your site, Ducard is here to make recommendations to improve usability and sales. Get in touch today to discover more about what we can do for you.