How to easily track internal searches on your site
Understanding what people do on our sites and blogs can sometimes be confusing. Yeah, we have stuff like traffic reports in Google Analytics but reading these can take time and it isn’t always clear what the user was looking for or why they came to our blog in the first place.
I’m about to share with you a super clear indicator of what users are looking for when they come in contact with your blog. It is also very easy and requires no previous technical knowledge (woo!).
What we will be doing is actually looking at the terms users are searching for on your blog (yes, really!).
You will need to have Google Analytics on your blog for at least 3 - 6 months (if you don’t have it implemented, check out this post here). Having a nice chunk of data is important to making sure the analysis we are doing is based on solid site visits.
Once again, we will be using the report under Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
When you are generating this report, make sure to select more than a month worth of data. If you are a low trafficking site, select several months; you can do this by using the Date Range option in the top right corner.
Remember to hit “Apply” once you have selected the dates you want.
Next we are going to use the search box in this report to filter out specific values; you are going to search “?=”. Looks weird, but trust me for a moment. You will see the search box right below the graph, on the right side
Ready for some magic? Ok, hit enter!
You see those values after the ?s=? Those are your search terms. Pretty cool, huh?
So those are keywords that your users are searching for on your blog. It’s as simple as that!
You are probably thinking, “This is cool, but how do I use these? What do I do next?”. The first thing I would recommend is creating a Google Drive spreadsheet to document the keywords and keep tabs on new ones that come up.
Next, I would separate out these keywords into two categories: the ones that generated blog content vs. the keywords that lead to blank searches. Unfortunately, this does become a more manual task of clicking through each one (click on the tiny vertical arrow right beside the term and not the term itself). This will pop out a separate window for you to view that page (and if it had any search results).
To start, you can focus on the first 10 keywords and leave it at that. This might become something you do every 2 - 3 months. Once you’ve divided out your keywords, focus on the ones that have no search results.
Make a note to review this list next time you are brainstorming blog topics or filling out your content calendar. These are literally golden nuggets telling you what users want to read on your blog.
For the keywords that have already existing blog content (and I’m sure the majority of the keywords fall under this category) answer the following questions:
Which keywords are the most popular?
Are there any variations in the way certain keywords were searched?
Could certain topics or themes be expanded on already existing content you’ve created?
Could something turn into a downloadable worksheet or ebook?
Can an ultra popular keyword inspire a future service or product?
Again, popping out your spreadsheet when you are in brainstorming mode is a great way to review this real data coming from actual users interacting with your content.
Creating content we like to write and talk about is great, but it is more important to know what users are searching for and if the content we product is relevant to a problem or need. Hope this inspires your best blog writing yet or even an awesome service for the near future!
Day 10 is up! Good job! Ready to talk about mindset?