Site Search Analytics eMetrics Madrid 2009

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My eMetrics Madrid Spain 2009 Keynote presentation on Search Analytics: Conversations With Your Customers. (Presentation is in English)


  • 1. Search Analytics For Your Site: Una Conversacin Con Tus Consumidores eMetrics Madrid, Espana 2009 Keynote: Marko Hurst

2. Me

  • Book:Search Analytics -Conversations With Your Customers
    • Anticipated release:December 2009
    • Book website: RosenfeldMedia . com/books/SearchAnalytics
    • Co-Author:Lou Rosenfeld
  • Consultant, Author, & Speaker
    • User Experience
    • Web Analytics
    • Behavioral Targeting: (Machine Learning & Neuroscience)
  • Blog: MarkoHurst .com Insightful Analytics
  • Twitter: MarkoHurst
  • Contact: [email_address]

3. Before We Begin Audience Survey & Search Info 4. Audience Survey

  • Question 1
  • Who currently has search on your company website or on your intranet/extranet?

5. Audience Survey

  • Question 2
  • How would you rate your experience with your onsite search engine?
    • Criteria of success for a well performing search engine means that it delivers relevant results you expected on the first page without refining
    • Defies statistical probability
    • You are pleasantly delighted and use it often
    • Less dangerous, but about the same odds as Russian Roulette
    • There is a greater chance of finding a new continent than content
    • Youd rather contract an incurable disease than use it again

6. Finding Information Online

  • Three (3) ways to find information
    • Browse(navigation, links)
    • Ask(help - automated, live person)
    • Search(query input field/box)
  • SEARCH due to the popularity of search engines (Google, Yahoo!) is the #1 most used feature to find information online
    • BUT, once a visitor gets to your site, browse is the #1 method( with some exceptions)
      • About 1/3 of all visitors use search, but sites range from 5 - 70% *
    • Why does the information seeking behavior change onsite?

*Observations from client engagements 7. Over Promising and Under Delivering On Search Results

  • Onsite searchmildly sucks. Why?
  • I.T. only project
  • Implemented without consideration of the user
  • No optimization program in place
  • Lack of experience
  • Search is believed to be a turnkey solution that is simply plugged in
    • admit it, you thought it was that easy
    • Getting search right is hard work and ongoing
    • Be weary of anyone who says anything to the contrary, they are probably trying to sell you something

8. Unfortunately For You As A

  • VISITORthat means you are.
    • left unsatisfied
    • annoyed
    • unfulfilled
    • sometimes feeling stupid
  • BUSINESSthat means you
    • didnt think about your entire visitor/customer experience
    • lost a potential customer, perhaps forever
    • have reduced your customer satisfaction rate
    • your site isnt a usable as youthink it is
    • you are not listening to your what your customers are telling you

9. A Shining Light of Hope

  • Book Objective
  • Provide simple and effective Site Searchanalysis techniques for user experience &web analytic professionals of all levels tobetter understand their visitors in order todeliver a superior experience

10. Benefits & Expectations

  • SSA *produces actionable insights
    • Techniques used are about analysis, NOT reporting(and there was much rejoicing!)
      • For some, this like reaching Nirvana
      • For others, this is like opening Pandoras Box
  • To achieve the benefits of SSA expect to:
    • Change site design/layout
    • Change keywords, copy, metadata, labels, navigation, taxonomy, etc.
    • Add &/or remove pages
    • Change your SEO & SEM
    • And much more!

*SSA = Site Search Analytics 11. Agenda What Is Site Search Analytics? How We Find Information Anatomy of Search SSA TechniquesQ&A 12. What Is Site Search Analytics? And What Its Not 13. SSA Is Not About Improving 14. SSA Is About ImprovingPublic facing websites, intranets/extranets, mobile, etc. 15. A Few Onsite Search Engines You May Encounter 16. How We Find Information Information Foraging 17. Information Trail

  • Humans forge for information similar to how animals forage for food
    • Move outwards in a direction we think ( predict ) will provide the expected results
    • Continue on a path as long as we smell signs that we are still on the correct path ( information scent )
    • When we no longer smell those signs we retrace our path or find a new path entirely where the smell is stronger, which we remember for next time ( recursive learning ) to betterpredictwhere/where not to go

FlickrPhotogrpher: a walk on the wild side 18. Information Scent

  • Information scentis how people evaluate options they encounter looking for information on a site
    • S trong information scentsare good at guiding users to the content they want/need
    • W eak information scentscause visitors to spend more time evaluating options and increase the chance that they will select the wrong option and be forced to backtrack or leave entirely

FlickrPhotogrpher: RaffertyEvans 19. How Humans Find Information Online

  • Three ways of finding information
    • Browse
    • Ask
    • Search

20. Browse (Navigate) 21. Ask 22. Search 23. Where To Begin Getting Started 24. The Basics

  • Analyzing data
    • Zipf Distribution
    • Excel (spreadsheet) skills
      • Low / no budget software
      • No need for code or higher mathematics
  • Where to get data
    • Log files
    • Search / Web Analytics
  • A mindset / desire to improve your site, increase ROI, and deliver a better user experience
    • Outside the scope of book :)
  • NOTE: everything I show you is 100% technology agnostic

25. Zipf Distribution (The Long Tail)

  • 3 characteristics:head, torso, & tail

Thick head Middle Torso Long Tail FlickrPhotogrpher: hjallig 26. Data: Search Logs(Google Search Appliance)

  • Critical elements inred
  • IP address, time/date stamp, query, and # of results

XXX.XXX.XX.130- - [ 10/Jul/2006:10:24:38 -0800 ] "GET /search? access=p&entqr=0&output=xml_no_dtd&sort=date%3AD%3AL %3Ad1&ud=1&site=AllSites&ie=UTF-8&client=www&oe=UTF-8&proxystyleshe et=www&q= regional+transportation+governance +commission&ip=XXX.XXX.X.130 HTTP/1.1" 200 9718620.17 XXX.XXX.X.104- - [ 10/Jul/2006:10:25:46 -0800 ] "GET /search? access=p&entqr=0&output=xml_no_dtd&sort=date%3AD%3AL %3Ad1&ud=1&site=AllSites&ie=UTF-8&client=www&oe=UTF-8&proxystyleshe et=www&q= lincense+plate &ip=XXX.XXX.X.104 HTTP/1.1" 200 97100.02 XXX.XXX.X.104- - [ 10/Jul/2006:10:25:48 -0800 ] "GET /search? access=p&entqr=0&output=xml_no_dtd&sort=date%3AD%3AL %3Ad1&ie=UTF-8&client=www&q= license+plate &ud=1&site=AllSites&spell=1&oe=UTF-8&proxystylesheet=www&ip=XXX.XXX. X.104 HTTP/1.1" 200 82831460.16 27. Data: Search Engine / Analytics

  • Data collection & options vary by vendor
  • Data collection is typically a separate step if you want to combine it with web analytics
    • Google & Omniture are the only major analytic vendors to have built-in search data capabilities
    • (NOTE: Omnitures Search is an add-on product)

28. Improving Your Site SearchSSA Techniques & Search Behavior 29. The Anatomy of Search:Search Components

  • Six (6) components comprise a single experience

FlickrImage: Peter Morville Based on original image from In Defense of Search by Peter Morville 123456 30. Component 1:Visitor (User)

  • When / Where Do Visitors Search?
  • Most often when a visitor becomes frustrated with browsing(i.e. your design, navigation, information architecture, whatever)
  • eCommerce and Government websitessearchis often the first choice
    • This behavior also occurs when a visitor knows what they are looking for
  • Some visitors use search as their first / main method

For more on this, see Peter Morvilles Search Patterns IA Summit 2008 31. Component 1:Visitor (User) Search Analysis

  • When /where did your visitors initiate search from?

32. Component 2:Query (Keywords)

  • When a visitor users onsite search they are speaking to you theirNatural Language
    • They are confessing their needs & desires to you hoping you can help them
  • This is your chance to have Una Conversacin Con Tus Consumidores
    • REMINDER: Conversation =Good . Monolog =BAD !

33. Component 2:Keyword Analysis

  • What are your visitors looking for?

34. Component 2:Keyword Analysis

  • Trends

35. Component 3:Search Interface

  • Minimum: search query box & search button
  • Sometimes a filter will also be used

36. Component 3:Search Interface Analysis

  • How many characters should your query box display?

37. Component 4:Search Engine

  • While the Search Engine is an essential component
    • Options and details vary by vendor
      • Common features: Ranking, best bets, stemming, facets, weighting, most frequent, etc.
    • Opening the black box is beyond scope of book -- and I promised you didnt need to code & be a mathematician

38. Component 5:Content

  • Search is about getting visitors to CONTENT
  • What type of content can you improve?(Hint: all of it)
      • Metadata
      • Navigation
      • Labeling
      • Ontology
      • Taxonomy
  • SEO / SEM people LISTEN UP
    • SEO is NO LONGER about being #1. Its about getting visitors to your content!
    • This is great place for UX & SEO to work together NOT against each other
      • Perceived differences should be fixed
      • Usability testing, copywriting, & SEO are about content bring them together

39. Component 5:Content Analysis

  • Power of CONVERSATION: Are you listening or ignoring your visitors?
  • What content / products your visitors are looking for?
    • Do you not have it? Or cant they find it? Maybe you should add / remove products?
    • Your visitors may be speaking a language you dont understand
      • Worse you may be trying to speak to them in a language they dont understand
        • Labels, navigation, taxonomy, metadata, SEO, SEM
  • Surveys:tie attitudinal & behavioral data together
  • Look for relationships between content
    • Informs you ontology & metadata, as well as SEO / SEM
  • You can look at the data, but this is a GREAT place to exploreand play with your data 40. Component 6:Results (SERP)

  • SERP (Search Engine Result Page)
  • The (inferred) quality of your results can be determined by:
    • Refinement
    • Null results
    • Bounce Rate
    • Where did they go?


  • There are lots of great reports out there, here are a few I find critical for successful analysis

Component 6: Results (SERP) Analysis 42. Single Greatest Piece of Advice I Can Give Today

  • Reports & data are fantastic and essential for analysis. But if you REALLY REALLY want to find out how well or poor your search engine is working all you have to do is walk a mile in your visitors shoes.
  • MEANING: Take your visitors keywords and manually input them YOURSELF and experience what they did

43. Internal Site Search KPIs

  • Top searches
  • Zero / null results
  • Search conversion
  • Search usage
  • Total Unique Searches
  • Results Pageviews / Search
  • # of Visits with Search
  • Search Exits (Bounce Rate)
  • Search Refinements
  • Time After Search
  • Search Depth

44. Summary Remember this 45. Summary

  • Search is not a turnkey solution, it takes ongoing effort to get it write
  • Improving search improves customer satisfaction, site usability, SEO, SEM, ROI, and & overall user experience
  • Combine & use both qualitative & quantitative data for your analysis
  • 6 components to search
    • Visitor
    • Keywords
    • Search interface
    • Search engine
    • Content
    • SERP (results)
  • Site Search book will be out in December


  • Muchas Gracias!

Book:RosenfeldMedia . com/books/SearchAnalytics Blog:MarkoHurst .com Contact:[email_address] .com Twitter:MarkoHurst