SERP (Search Engine Result Page) analytics help you measure how users interact with the search results on your SERP, which gives insight to how your search engine is functioning. This gives you important data points about where to improve the search experience.
On-site search performance is often overlooked due to the lack of tools available to measure its relevance. Your site’s SERP is prime real estate, which you have full control over (unlike the Google search results page). Optimizing its relevance can be considered the easiest Search Engine Optimization you can do.
Most site search engines and ecommerce site search engines (aka eCommerce search) return low quality results and without detailed search analytics it is impossible to know where the biggest pain points are for your users. 0-results pages are very common even when the content or products exist on the site. The search results many times are shown in the wrong order and users struggle to find what they are looking for.
On-site Search Analytics gives you the important data points you need during discussions with your developers or third party search engine provider; it helps you prioritize the changes you need to make to improve SERP relevance. Prefixbox has its own version of Search Analytics.
Check out the tips below to see the best practices and the aspects you need to track when it comes to measuring your on-site search relevance.
Search Results Found / Not Found: with this, you can track the number of results returned for each search keyword and the popularity of the keywords. It also helps you identify the 0-result search keywords and their proportion amongst all your products. Google Analytics does not track the 0-result searches even though this is one of the most important metrics since it gives insight into your search user’s biggest pain points
Search Result Clicks: tracking clicks on the SERP gives you feedback about the user’s intent when searching for a keyword and helps monitor the user engagement after the search. This engagement tells you if the search results are relevant for a keyword.
Search Result Cart events: most eCommerce search result pages have the “Cart” button on them. Tracking cart events on the SERP gives more detailed engagement information than simply tracking clicks. In certain categories (e.g.: Food, Beauty), cart events on SERP happen even more frequently than clicks.
Order events: tracking them in the context of search helps you know the proportion of revenue that comes from the search function. This data is available in GA.
Prefixbox calculates Search Analytics daily.
The SERP Engagement report gives you an overview of what users do on the Search Engine Result Page, e.g.: searches, 0-result pages, clicks and cart events. You should aim to reduce the frequency of 0-result pages and increase the click count.
The engagement report also contains important information like paging count per search and clicked positions, which tell you how accurate the product ranking is on the SERP. If both paging and clicked position are low then the search results are relevant and well ordered. You can also see data about clicks per result; a low rate indicates that your results are not so relevant.
The Searches with Results count tells where results were found in the search engine for the keyword. Paging (navigating to the 2nd, 3rd, etc. page) within the same results page is not counted as a new search.
The number of searches that did not return any results. This is the worst search experience for the user, so you should work on reducing this number as much as possible.
Click count on the SERP. A click is a positive user feedback that shows the results are useful. In an eCommerce search engine the click is a much stronger signal than in content search, because the product image and name clearly identify the product.
This is calculated as the proportion of 0-result searches of the total site search volume. A search engine that is not optimized can have 30% 0-result rate. However, you can reduce this to around 7-9% with thoughtful optimizations.
Paging count indicates the number of SERP pages users visit after executing their search. Users usually don’t navigate further than the 2nd result page. If paging is higher than 2 you should increase the result count that you show on one SERP -a page result count 40-50 is usually a good starting point for eCommerce search engines.
Click / Search measures the CTR of the SERP when results are found. Tracking the CTR of the Top 3 results gives you a quick measure of the ranking improvements you make to your search function.
This is the average clicked position on the SERP. Low click position means people are clicking on the top results on SERP, which means your ranking works well.
This is the average number of results returned for search keywords by your search engine. When you increase the Result Count, by tuning your search engine (e.g.: introducing spell correction), you should track the Clicked Position and CTR as well to make sure those are also trending up.
The Popular Searches report helps you analyse frequently searched keywords, understand how many times people click on the results, and which search results are the most engaging.
If a search keyword is popular, but there are not many clicks or cart events on the SERP for this keyword it indicates that the results are not relevant. One of the reasons for this is that the search engine ranking and text matching are not optimized.
You can select a date range to analyse search trends over a period of time.
The following information is available in the report:
The search keyword executed by the user.
The number of times a SERP was shown for this search keyword. When the user navigates to the next page on the SERP it is counted as a new search result page.
The total number of clicks on the search results. E.g.: the user clicked a product or document returned by the search engine.
The average number of results returned for this keyword.
Search result click count divided by the Search result page count (CTR).
The average clicked position on the SERP for this search term.
For each search term you can see which search results have been clicked the most. Result position, click count, and popularity are all essential information here.
In the example below, the 4th result of the SERP was clicked most often, so it would be a good idea to adjust the ranking so that product is in the 1st position.
The same information can be seen for the cart actions as well.
The 0-result page report helps you analyse the popular keywords for which your site search engine does not return any results. There could be multiple reasons for this:
the product is not available on your site
the product name does not contain the synonym your visitors search
the user made a spelling mistake in the search term
there are some defects in your search engine
or some of the content is not indexed or indexed incorrectly.
Some site search engines show 0-results 30-35% of the time, which means a lot of people can’t find what they’re looking to purchase. Analytics reports that show you which search terms yield no results are invaluable. With this data you can find the terms you need to optimize for and products you should add synonyms for.
The following information is available in the report:
The keyword people searched which resulted in 0-result pages.
The number of times this keyword was searched and shown the 0-result page.
The last time there was a 0-result search page for this keyword.
The last time there were search results for this keyword. This can help you track when the issue was fixed or when the problem started.