Why it's Important to Have a Search Bar On Your Site – And How to Leverage It

Jillean Kearney
Jillean Kearney
Nov 30, 2014

About 30% of site visitors will use the search bar, so search term data provides valuable insight into what your users are interested in.

Most Agility CMS-powered websites use Google Site Search. This applies the same technology and functionality of Google's search engine to a website's internal search bar.

Google's Site Search can seamlessly be integrated with Google Analytics, making it easy to view the search queries that users are entering into your search bar. (Follow these steps to set up your site's search reporting on Google Analytics.)

No matter how you've configured your site search or how you're tracking queries, having an internal site search is important because it can be leveraged to help improve your SEO strategy, user experience and conversion rates.

1. Find new keywords

It's very likely that users are typing very similar queries into your site's search bar as they are into Google and other search engines. It's also very likely that while mining through these queries, you'll find new keywords that you'll want to target.

These keywords can be used in your organic SEO or paid search strategies to help target the right – and most responsive – audience.

2. Boost conversion rates by optimizing landing pages

To continue attracting the right visitors to your site, you can also use internal search query data to optimize landing pages and give your conversion rate a boost.

Something that you don't want to see in your analytics is the use of the search bar on landing pages (whether the purpose of the landing page is for the user to convert). If a site visitor is using the search bar on a landing page, it means that their expectations were not met and they didn't find what they were hoping to.

There are two main things you can do when your search bar is being used on landing pages. Firstly, in terms of paid search, you can edit the ad copy that entices a user to click through to a landing page to more accurately describe what they'll be presented with. Secondly, you can create a more relevant and informative landing page, particularly if you're seeing a trend in queries, to improve retention and conversions.

3. Improve user experience

Internal search queries provide insight into how users are searching for your existing content, but they also show you what content they expect or hope to find on your site. By digging into your analytics, you can learn what site visitors are searching for and whether they are finding it or not.

In Google Analytics, the % Search Exits metric indicates how many users clicked away from your site from a search results page, instead of clicking on any of the links on the page. The higher the percentage, the less satisfied users are with that page.

In your analytics, you should also check out the Results Pageviews/Search metric. This shows you how many times users viewed a search results page after searching for something. Typically, if Results Pageviews/Search is higher than 2, it means that people have to dig deeper than they should for relevant results.

Less than stellar results for both metrics can mean that your user experience can be improved – either your site search needs to be fine-tuned to provide more relevant results, or your site is missing the content that visitors want.


If you would like to find out how Agility CMS can help you build a highly converting website, request a free demo now.

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