We often find ourselves wondering if among the things going on at Google is the ability to read our minds. We started looking for cost-effective, in depth, usable website analytics, and bang! Google buys Urchin and makes Google Analytics free to the world. As our multivariate testing algorithms became more time intensive and complex, Google rolls out the Website Optimizer, a tool that can help us automate much of the testing process. So I felt a sense of déjà vu when I was at Google last week and watched Avinash and the GA team show off the new Google Analytics Internal Site Search tool, since we have been recently writing metrics-laden site search tools for customers.
As with Analytics and Optimizer, this set of reports promises to be extremely enlightening, to the point where you will ask “How did I get by without this before?”
When advising consulting clients, we have long professed that motivation & intent are the most important factors—but how do you measure it? Clickstream data only tells half the story—just because they ended up on a page doesn’t mean it was what they were looking for.
Internal Site Search will certainly show you what keywords are being searched for on your site, but there are three other reports that I’m particularly excited about.
Search Exits is essentially the bounce rate of a search. This means a visitor searched on a keyword and was dissatisfied with the results and decided to leave. After all the money you spent optimizing your pay-per-click campaigns, it’s a shame to lose them here. Find the keywords that are underperforming and fix it!
Segmented Search allows you to segment your results by any of the standard segmentation options. This is incredibly useful for seeing what a particular segment of your visitors came looking for.
Finally, you now have ability to see how well your search tool is converting. The report will show results of searchers vs non-searchers on a collection of metrics, such as conversion rate, time on site, revenue, per visit value, and even average order size. I have yet to see a case where those who did not use the site search tool convert better than those who do, so if you don’t have an internal site search tool get over and snag one now!
For those that truly want to understand their customer, there are a couple reports that allow you to dig even deeper. Search Term Refinement allows you to drill down and see what were the next terms the person searched for after a particular keyword. For example, you may see that visitors that searched on “TrippLite UPS”, went on to search for “TrippLite UPS 1300W sale” and so on.
Another report for the analytics junkie is the Results Pageviews/Search. The idea here is to show you how far down the list a visitor had to go before finding the item that matched their search and tuning your internal search engine to deliver more relevant results near the top.
One of the most common questions we get during an analytics consulting engagement is “How can I track AJAX & ‘web 2.0’ elements with Google Analytics?”
While there have been hacks and workarounds before, the announcement of an extensible event tracking model built into GA is a welcome addition. While I haven’t personally used it yet, we were given a demo last week by Phil Mui, who is a product manager for Google Analytics, and it was fairly impressive.
Look for a more in-depth post to come soon on this topic as well as the launch of the long-awaited Urchin 6.
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