This is a guest post by Neil Jones who is head of marketing for eMobileScan, one of the Uk’s leading barcode scanner and handheld computer specialists.

If you would like to write for this blog, please read the guest post guide lines.

Google have provided one of the best Analytical engines available and they do it all for free. It’s easy to track goals, conversion, funnels and it will also allow you to cut segment and partition your data anyway you want.

Once done correctly and you know how to interoperate the data Google Analytics will hold some valuable and useful information for your site. Many webmasters and online marketers may spend hours digging through data in Google Analytics just so they can get an insight into how their traffic interacts with their site.

Are We Overlooking The Most Important Data?

But there is one section that many overlook and that is the search data that is stored in Analytics. The data held here can help give you an insight that no other section of Analytics can and that is your searchers intent and what they are really hoping to find on your site. All the other data held in Analytics will give you some great insights into how well your site is performing but only the search data will help to give you a look into the mind of your traffic.

2 Set Of Data Can Tell Different Stores

It’s back to old reliable widgets: Someone comes to your site and instead of browsing through your neatly designed categories they go straight for your search box and type in “striped yellow widgets” surprisingly they can’t find any results, now they know that you don’t have exactly what they are looking for they are left with a choice, leave your site and look somewhere else or try to refine their search, they decide to try “striped widgets” still no results. Now they are pretty close to leaving but they decide to give it one more shot and just search for widgets and finally they get a result. They click on it, take a quick look at the page and leave because they know that it is not what they are really looking for.

If you review the data for this searcher without looking at their internal search data, you would see that first of all they didn’t bounce away from your site which is a good start but the even better news is that clicked around a few of your pages, sadly though they did not click on any ads or sign up for your newsletter, but at least they didn’t bounce away.

When you look at the same searcher using your internal search data a much different picture emerges and it does not paint your site in such a good view. There is still no bounce so at least that is good news, but the internal search data shows that person had to continually refine their search term because your site did not have what they were looking for, eventually that searcher found something that was loosely related to what they what, but it did not provide the answers they needed so they left. Your site failed to provide then with what they wanted!

They Say The Numbers Never Lie

The numbers never lie but it’s how you interoperate these figure is what is important .As you can see looking at 2 different sets of data for the same person can return 2 completely different results, it is also easy to see what happened to that searcher on your site.

Internal site search not only provides you with a look into the mind of the searcher it will also provide you with clear and actionable tasks, After looking at the data you can easily see that your site is lacking content on “striped yellow widgets” and also “striped widgets” now you know what you need it’s time to start brainstorming some idea to get relevant content on your site. So the next time someone comes looking for a similar answer you know that you will have the content that can provide that. These searchers will now only leave your site with the answers they are looking for but they will also be more likely to click on one of your ads ( because they are relevant to what they are looking for) they may also join your newsletter or subscribe to your RSS feeds which will provide you with extra value now and in the future.

In Conclusion…

Between 15 and 30% of a site’s traffic will use your search function which means that in some cases nearly a third of your visitors are telling you what they want to find on your site so shouldn’t we start to take notice of what we are being told and use it to our benefit?


  1. Kate Brown Wilson


    I really appreciate this great article that you have shared it proves that one site has the most important part, I mean the internal links that is very useful.

  2. Neil


    Hi Brian,
    I think you will have to enable it first, on the main Analytics profile page, edit the profile you want, and on the next screen you will see if site search is already enabled, if its not all you need to do it add the query string from your search results page.

  3. Reply

    I’ve never even looked at the internal search options from Google. Determining what your visitors are looking for and then editing your current content to have that information would be the most ideal situation.

    I’m actually excited to go an have a look at what your referring to. Thanks so much for the suggestions Neil.

  4. kira permunian


    This is such a very good advice. The analytics of a site is so important in order to make the right decisions about how to get a site up and optimized. Thanks a bunch for some great ideas.

  5. Nick


    That’s funny, I recently took my search bar off because I assumed it was something people just ignored. Might have to look back into putting that back on, haha. Nice post Neil. A potential 30% is definitely not a number to scoff at.

  6. Neil


    Its surprising how many people use a sites search function. Even if you have exactly what they are looking for directly under the search bar, chances are they will still search for it. I guess most people just want to find what they are looking for as fast as possible.

  7. Reply

    Great overview Neil!

    I never knew that the search bars on blogs are really that much used. Up to 30% of the traffic is defintiely a big number. I had a search bar until a month back. Don’t know why exactly, but I decided to remove it. Seems like it wasn’t the right move. Will have to rethink that.

    Thanks for sharing!

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