How to double conversions by using Site Search

  • 1
  • August 20, 2012
Emma Barnes

Emma Barnes

Senior Insights and Analytics Analyst

At Branded3, we are privileged to work with many different clients across many different sectors. One of the sectors we are growing in is CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation). One of the major players in CRO is the usability of a website. If a user cannot successfully navigate your website, it would be a bit much to hope that they are going to convert.

Something that the Data Insights and CRO team are very keen on looking at is site search.

By evaluating conversion data for 27 websites, we found that users were more than twice as likely to convert if they used a site search. The average conversion rate for users without site search was 2.41% – this jumps to 5.45% for users who used site search.

So there you have it, site search is mega important! When you think about how a user navigates from the landing page to your check-out page, consider the search box as a key navigation point. In other words:

  • Make your site search as prominent as possible

    Amazon Site Search
    Amazon’s Site Search takes up more than half their top bar
    Ebay Site Search
    Ebay’s Site Search Takes up about two-thirds of their top bar

Now, instead of just saying “Hey look, site search is great” (even though it is) it’s not just about having a visible site search that matters. Here’s another thing:

  • Make sure your site search works

There are always going to be cases where whatever the user types in is not within your database. We have found that if a user is shown nothing after searching, they are 2.5 times more likely to exit the site than if they are shown something. So make sure that if a user has to see the ‘no results found’ page, you offer them something to look at – special offers or top products would be a place to start user testing.

Now I know what you’re thinking…”That’s all well and good, but how do I actually track any of this?”

Google Analytics, of course.

How to set up Site Search tracking in Google Analytics

  1. Log onto your Google Analytics Account
  2. On the right-hand side, click “Admin
  3. Under “Profiles” go to “Profile Settings
  4. At the bottom, you will see “Site Search Settings” – here, select “Do track site search
  5. Now, you will see the “Query Parameter” box – enter your query parameter. To find this, do a search on your site and have a look at the URL which should look something like this:
    Site Search URL
    The Query Parameter is the string after the “?” and before the “=”
  6. Click apply and wait for a few days for some data to come through

 

Well done, you have successfully set up site search tracking in Google Analytics. Now onto the fun bit.

How to find e-Commerce conversion rate for site search visitors

  1. Log onto your Google Analytics Account
  2. From Standard Reporting, navigate to Content->Site Search->Usage using the left hand navigation
  3. In the Explorer, click the E-Commerce Tab (or if you don’t have e-Commerce goals – whatever your goal of choice is)
  4. Navigate below the visits graph and change the dimension to E-Commerce Conversion Rate and you should see something like this:
    Site Search Goal Conversion Rate
    In this case, goal conversion rate is a lot higher with site search

And finally, you can monitor what works best for you.

If you have any questions regarding this, feel free to Tweet me @ejbarnes89 or if you’re a little Twitter-shy, use our contact page and I’ll be happy to help.

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