Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Search Analytics

This presentation was an interesting overview of leveraging your metrics to help improve search and the overall web site. Lou spoke to working with metrics from the bottom up and from the top down.

Bottom up, he suggests, is working with the information and asking questions. Do not get caught up in specific statistical analysis methods, instead just look at the metrics and see what questions you have. Examples of these are:
- What are the most frequent search queries?
- What are the most frequent results clicked on?
- Which pages are referring the most queries?
- Which pages are launching the most 0 hit queries?

He suggested that you should look at your search results to create better metadata. This involves looking at your top 50 to 100 queries, developing a set of categories that these queries might fall into, then seeing what percentage of your queries fall into each category. Once you have the values for the categories, you can also look at the attributes.

You can also scan your data for content types that people are searching for. If you track this data over time, you begin to see the seasonally of the queries and the adaptations that the enterprise makes to its environment.

He suggests digging deeply into the failure states, specifically for the pages within the site that are not working. Look for where the *content* is failing as well as where the search is failing.
His last suggestion was to leverage your best bets to become a A-Z listing for the site. He showed an example from the University of Michigan where the list was of the terms the best bets were created, paired with the best bets. Seems a simple, quick win.

Top Down is the process of thinking about the larger business issues and seeing what the metrics can tell us about them. So if the bottom up is thinking about the most common queries, top down would be the question "can users find the items they are looking for, with these top queries?" His actual example was e-commerce conversion for the top queries.

The slide deck will be available at SlideShare.net, but here is a similar one from a few years ago

1 comment:

Lou said...

Thanks for the write-up, Ed. Just posted the presentation here:

http://www.slideshare.net/lrosenfeld/improving-findability-through-site-search-analytics

cheers