Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on business web sites draws on both keyword research and paid search engine marketing (SEM) data to build a list of search terms to target. However there’s one very rich resource that is often ignored when looking for more product or service phrases to attract customers via organic search. That source is Internal site search analytics.
Monitoring on-site search queries can be valuable because it suggests your customers found the site through some other means than those queries found in your internal search analytics. Once they navigated to your site, that potential customer needed to search further to find precisely what they came for. Internal search analytics records all internal queries made by site visitors. It’s like a collection of fallen leaves in your yard representing precisely what visitors to your own site are looking for. They should be able to find exactly what they are after within that fenced area.
If they are existing customers, they know that you probably sell what they are looking for – but that “thing” is not always represented in your site navigation. If they arrived via Google and then search internally, they are probably not satisfied with the page they landed on. Assuming the site search box is prominently featured on the page they are on – they could then give you a nugget of gold by formulating their own query.
What makes those internal site search queries so valuable? Those search terms will be simple one or two word phrases without the need of brand or industry buzz-word qualifiers. It will be a distillation of product name that your brand manager may not have wanted – less elegant, but very clear. On-site search doesn’t compete with anyone externally. The query represents exactly what that user wants to find – absent misspelling or typos.
On some business sites, those customer formulated search queries might offer surprises. They might not know the “proper” product name and may be more descriptive. This query is one to note to potentially include in buying guides created for less informed buyers. Or conversely this could be a “pro” who already knows the item SKU, product ID or model number. A blog post on your business blog might be the best place for that custom crafted content.
So how do you know which visitor queries to pay the most attention? Simple – volume. Which terms get the most site searches? Are there variations on a single theme? Are there lots of typos or incorrectly spelled terms? Compile that site analytics data by query and pass it along to the content team with the suggestion of using groupings of relevant terms to craft a blog post, buying guide or category page descriptive text using those terms.
If the newly minted content is justifiable to post site-wide in a “You might also like” or “Top Articles” modules to give a number of internal links to the new content and help increase the authority of that page. The result will be improved organic SEO for search terms that need strengthening within the textual content of your site. You’ll begin to attract external organic search traffic for those terms and will notice fewer internal searches for those same terms in your internal search analytics data.
This means more potential customers or clients will be landing on your content and converting, rather than looking for your site search box.
Mike Valentine works with Enterprise level businesses to Startups seeking to build organic search engine visibility and authority