Out in the field I’m see­ing that a good num­ber of mer­chants and mar­keters using our mer­chan­dis­ing tool are stretched a lit­tle thin and barely have time to do any more than look at their “failed” or “null” searches. Well, if that’s you, you’re not alone.

Our Mer­chan­dis­ing Con­sul­tants have been preach­ing to you that you need to pay atten­tion to not only failed searches, but also your Top 100 suc­cess­ful key­word searches. What does this exactly mean? What should I be look­ing for in my reports? How should I approach ana­lyz­ing my data when it comes to “search”? What defines a “suc­cess­ful” search?

The pri­mary pur­pose of the Qual­ity of Search (QoS) test­ing that our con­sul­tants teach you is to ensure that the results we’re return­ing are as rel­e­vant as pos­si­ble – indeed a very impor­tant part of the opti­miza­tion process, but that’s just the begin­ning. Basic QoS test­ing directs you to look at your Top 100 Searches sorted by ”Instances” or the num­ber of times that a par­tic­u­lar term has been entered into the search box on your web site.

Now if you really want to opti­mize site search you need to sort and ana­lyze these reports in a vari­ety of ways – slic­ing and dic­ing the data. You may be sur­prised by what you find when you start look­ing at your inter­nal search reports from var­i­ous angles, not just instances. Con­sider look­ing at your top searches by con­ver­sion, orders, AOV, vis­its and total rev­enue. You’ll be sur­prised by what you learn.

Next you need to run through the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. What is the cus­tomer see­ing when they search for these terms? Are they com­ing into the site from a Google search and have landed on an inter­nal Search Results page? Is the mes­sag­ing clear and the refine­ment path intu­itive for that cus­tomer so he or she can nar­row the search accord­ingly. Where are shop­pers falling out after they have exe­cuted a search?

The data is there, but what you do with the data deter­mines whether your site search is opti­mized or only ran­domly rel­e­vant. The process is not com­pletely sci­en­tific or math­e­mat­i­cal – rather, it’s a blend of art and sci­ence. This requires that your mer­chan­dis­ers and ana­lysts engage in equal amounts of right brain/left brain activ­ity – bal­anc­ing intu­ition and cre­ativ­ity in terms of what is a great shop­ping expe­ri­ence, with analy­sis and metrics-based merchandising.

Suzan Borshch
Suzan Borshch

Hi, I am new to Omniture and therefore would rely on this blogs to get things round. There is an item on my Site search report ---> null:xyz, does it means that it is a failed search? Thanks, S