Our client, Joanne, a celebrity food and lifestyle blogger, really wanted to discover the search terms people were using on her website Fifteen Spatulas. She knew that there was a business story she was missing out on and she asked MashMetrics to her help her find it.
This is how we helped Joanne to discover what it was that her readers and fans were hungry for so she could deliver the content that people were craving.
To see a more in-depth article about this process with a video, go checkout our site search setup guide.
Peek Behind the Search Box
From baked apple chips to homemade mayonnaise, Fifteen Spatulas has more than 700 approachable recipes for you to make from scratch. Joanne’s fans love to follow the recipes for great meals and are devoted to her.
Though she has a nice little search box at the top of each page, Google Analytics doesn’t make it easy to find the actual search terms people are using on your website. But when she followed these quick steps, Joanne was able to get a deeper understanding of what other recipes her fans were eager for.
The way to do it is to go into your Google Analytics reports and click on “Behavior” where you will see a drop-down. Go ahead and click on “Site Search” then “Overview.”
In this Fifteen Spatulas example, the first thing we noticed was that less than 1% of the users on the website were typing anything into that site search box. But luckily Joanne gets a LOT of traffic, so we had a good amount of data to review even with that low percentage of search box users.
Using this feature in Google Analytics, we discovered more about Joanne’s readers. We found out that the people who DO use the site search box are way more engaged on her site. They visited an average of 6.7 other pages versus 1.21 for visitors who did not use the site search. The takeaway? You can get more engagement by encouraging people to increase the use of the search feature: mention it in social media and on your site’s content.
Checking Out the Search Start
Reviewing the results in Google Analytics, we see that her visitors are most interested in what she has to share about “cheese.” Yep. Cheese. The next interest is her “candied pecans” then her “Tiramisu” and so on. It is a long list, but the “cheese” stands alone!
Google Analytics also shows you something called “search refinements.” Statistics say that 13% of the people who conduct a site search will type in additional words to refine their initial search a bit more. Snooping at these refinements will give you a better understanding of what they are really looking for, and that information can be gold!
Hungry for Cheesy Mexican Meals
While looking at the list of search words, we saw something surprising. A lot of people were using the search term “Mexican,” and this was a big clue about what Joanne’s readers were hungry for. But with a 54% search refinement, people needed to add words to their search because when
they typed in the word “Mexican” they didn’t see recipes that they wanted.
Discovering Search Intent
So now we know a couple of things:
- People who like Joanne’s recipes love cheese
- They are also looking for Mexican food
- But they are not getting the Mexican recipes they are looking for
Incredibly, Google Analytics will even show us the pages that people are on when they perform a search. You can also see who is happy with their search results on the page and who is leaving because they are not getting the information that they were hoping to find.
So now our sleuthing becomes more sophisticated. In this example below, we see people are on the “homemade nacho cheese sauce” page, but 70% of them are leaving right after they type in a search term.
When we clicked on the “homemade nacho cheese sauce” page, we saw what the most searched words were and yep you guessed it, people were searching for “cheese” on that page that they were leaving so quickly from.
Next step was to go to that page on the website itself and see what they were seeing. We typed in “cheese” and immediately noticed that the top articles were not related to Nacho cheese or Mexican food or other cheese recipes.
By taking a peek at the terms people were typing into her search box, we discovered that her fans love cheese and Mexican food and though she was offering her homemade nacho cheese sauce recipe, people wanted even more cheese recipes.
How might this type of story about people’s search activity help your business? Would you want to know what it was that people were hoping to learn from you? Do you think you could put that information to good use?