Top Reports for Site Search (Part 2)

 In Data-driven Marketing, Standard, Web Analytics, Web Analytics Reporting

This is the second post of a three-post series on top reports for optimizing your site search. In our last post, we covered the first three of the list below. Again, the top reports are:

  1. Search Usage
  2. Searches per Search Visit
  3. Top Search Terms
  4. Top Failed Terms
  5. Visitor Segmentation
  6. Top Pages Driving Search
  7. Search Groupings
  8. Success Rate
  9. Micro Step Success Rate

In this post, we?re going to cover the remaining items.

4. Top Failed Terms

Failed terms are defined as search terms that provide no results to the user. Why is this important? Because it reveals gaps in your site search deployment. You can use this information in a number of ways:

  • If a product that you carry is showing up as a failed search, then you clearly need to reindex your site to make sure that those products are displayed in your search results.
  • Products you should carry? You may find a series of products that you currently don?t carry but should be in your inventory. The failed terms report will let you know how much money you?re leaving on the table by not carrying these items.
  • Misspellings ? Let?s face it. Visitors don?t always correctly spell every word. You should use this report to detect such misspellings and optimize your site search tool for such occasions. For an example of good implementation, go to and do a search for ?bedding? and ?beding? (screen shot below). You?ll see the same results in both cases.

Example of mistyped search on

5. Visitor Segmentation

Not all visitors are created equal. Visitors of different segments will behave differently and therefore will search differently. Two segments of interest are “new visitors” and “returning visitors”. By understanding the difference in search behavior between these two segments, you?ll be able to see your site navigation?s effectiveness between these two groups. Typically, you want to look for abnormalities in ratios between new and returning visitors.

Search example by visitor segments

Consider the example in the above screen shot. What you see is the top search terms and the breakdown of search between first time and returning visitors. Overall on the site, returning visitors constitute 19.80% of site visitors and we can see that this ratio also holds for most of the search terms. However, you can see that the terms ?vaio battery? and ?macbook battery? both get a greater share of search from returning visitors. Why is it that a larger share of returning visitors are searching for battery products compared to other products? Perhaps it?s because your battery inventory is not well promoted on the site and as a result a smaller share of first time visitors is aware of their existence on your site. Whatever the reason, this high discrepancy in ratios should alert you about an investigation that ought to be made between your navigation and the battery products.

6. Top Pages Driving Search

This report provides a listing of pages that the visitors were on prior to conducting a search. In most web analytics applications, you can simply look at the navigation reports or previous pages to get this data. It reveals what pages did your visitors get stuck before resorting to search. For many people, this may simply be the home page or the landing page, which is not a cause for concern since some people simply resort to site search as their first option. However, if the search originated on a product page, then it could be cause for concern since the product that the visitor was browsing may not have been what they were searching for. In this case, you?re looking for those oddities that could give you insight onto the navigation flow and visitor interest.

In our next and final post, we?ll cover the remaining reports that you should be looking at for site search analysis.

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