Are you a married man? I am! Happily married now for five years, one month, and seven days at the time that I’m sitting down to write this. In the five years of my very happy marriage, and my dating years that came before, it has become quite obvious to me that, in many situations, guys can’t read girls’ minds. I know, it sounds strange, but follow me on this one.
Have you ever been in a situation where your significant other expects you to know what they are thinking, and you have absolutely NO IDEA that they are even thinking about something? If you are a guy, you’ve probably encountered this at least once in your life 😉
In my Many years of marriage (ok, I know. I’m still a newbie), my wife and I have come to realize that if we want to know what each other are thinking, asking can be a very valuable skill that is often overlooked.
So what in the world does this have to do with Internet Marketing, Online business, blogging, etc? Well, in a past article, I showed how my 5 Question Survey saved me time and resources in product development. It’s a very clear example of how asking your audience the right questions can help you accomplish your goals for your online business.
But what if you could read the mind of your significant other? What if you knew exactly what he/she was thinking without even having to ask? How awesome would it be if you could wake up in the morning, sit at your laptop and get a detailed report of everything your wife thought the day before, and throughout your entire relationship? How AWESOME would that be?
(On a side note: Have you seen the Movie “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson? That’s EXACTLY what I’m talking about.)
Well, unfortunately for you and I, that won’t happen. My wife and I will just have to go through the long, and sometimes painful, process of getting to know each other. Fortunately, for my online business, this is something that’s very easily accomplished – Thanks to Google Analytics‘ Site search Feature.
What Is Site Search And How To Benefit From It?
If you’re a blogger, you probably have a search function on your site. If not, you should definitely add it. It’s an easy way for your website visitors to search the contents of your site. It basically functions as an internal Search Engine. Most WordPress themes have a search function built in, and if yours doesn’t, WordPress has a widget that you can add to your sidebar.
Here’s the thing – most bloggers have site search on their website, but don’t use it to their advantage. Whenever someone does a search on your site, they are telling you exactly what they are looking for, without even intending to do so. However, you will never know what they are looking for if you don’t have a system to report what their searches are. It’s like having the ability to read the mind of your significant other, but not taking advantage of it.
Fortunately for you and I, Google analytics gives you the option to Track Site Search.
How To Set Up Site Search
Before you can track site search on your site, you need to set it up in Google analytics. It’s quite a simple process. Here it goes:
- Go to your site and do a search for anything using your site search function.
- When you reach the results page, take a look at the URL in the address bar. For example, when I go to my Interactive Biology Website and do a search for the term “Kidney”, the url in the address bar is http://www.interactive-biology.com/?s=kidney
- Take note of the Query Parameter. In my case, my query parameter is the letter “s” (?s=kidney).
- In your Google Analytics Profile Settings, you will see a Site Search section that gives you the option to Track Site Search. Select “Do Track Site Search” and enter the query Parameter as shown below.
- Select the option that says “Yes, strip query parameters out of URL“. This will clean up your reports and make it easier to analyze.
- Click on “Save Changes“.
That’s pretty much it. Now you are ready to use your mind-reading powers. However, make sure you use your powers for good and not for evil 😉
How To Analyze Your Site Search Report
Now that you have your superpowers, it’s time to start making the magic happen. Of course, it will take some time for data to start accumulating. Hopefully, you have enough visitors by now and they are actively doing searches on your site. If so, the rest is super easy. Allow me to illustrate by giving an example. Let’s take a look at my Site Search Report.
When I look at the report above, it gives me some very useful details. Not only that, but it shows me that a number of the things people are searching for are very closely related to the content I have on my site. This makes me happy, and gives me actionable data.
The term that is searched most often on my site is “kidney“. Obviously, some of the people that are using my site are looking for information on the kidney. And when they do that search, they don’t find any results. Approximately 67% of people leave after not finding what they are looking for. The average user that searches for “kidney” on my site only spends 1 minute and 25 seconds on the site.
If I were to make a few videos on the kidney, that should increase the amount of time they spend on my site, and that would increase the likelihood of them coming back for more.
The next most frequently searched term on my site is “Action Potential“. Fortunately, I have a bunch of videos on my site that deals with the concept of the Action potential. As a result of that, only 11% of people who do that search leave the site, and the average person who searches for that spends 6 minutes and 39 seconds on the site. Do you notice a difference? I sure do.
So the take home message here is simple: If people are searching for something that is very relevant, but you don’t have it – start making some of that content and increase the amount of time they spend on your site, and the likelihood that they will return (and even share your site).
My Next Steps
Seeing that this gives such valuable info, there are two things that I plan on doing. The first should be extremely obvious. I plan on making more of the content that people are searching for. It’s easy to do, and is very relevant. In other words, it’s a win-win situation.
Secondly, I plan on making a search box that’s more prominent on my website, to highlight the fact that you can actually search for what you are looking for. That will accomplish two things:
- It will make it easier for my visitors to find what they are looking for
- It will enhance my mind-reading capability (if you know what I mean).
Are YOU Reading Your Audience’s Minds?
If not, then you should start. Set up the Site Search reporting capabilities in Google Analytics. Have you done this already? If so, how are you using this information? Let me know what you think below.
Until Next Time!