Internal search metrics to streamline the customer experience


User behaviour can be difficult to understand.

But the good news is, it’s possible to grasp if you know which signs to look for, and what those actions mean.

When navigating websites, users take actions that signal specific outcomes, AKA user intentBut how do you actually measure the strength of this intent?

In other words, how do you identify and nurture visitors who are more likely to convert?

One of the most powerful ways to gauge the intensity of user intent and predict conversion is to analyze internal search activity.

Here are the top four metrics to keep an eye on.

1. Top searched queries

The value of this metric probably seems inherent, but it goes beyond simply knowing what your visitors want most.

After all, that’s information you could simply get by analyzing your individual product sales.

But, your top search queries will clue you into how your users tend to describe items, which could in turn affect the keywords you use in product pages, titles, descriptions, and even external ads!

search descriptions

If you find a significant portion of your top queries are general and non-branded, that should impact your merchandising strategy - and vice versa.

It's also the perfect opportunity to discover what misspelled words you should be re-directing.

By knowing the top misspellings of your most searched products, you can ensure that you're re-directing those search results to the correct product. An easy way to get those results is to type your top searches into, and it will generate common misspellings of the keywords you enter based on information from

2. Top queries with no results

Picture your customer ready to buy, credit card in hand, searching for a product and finding zero results. Not even synonym results, but zilch.

Sure, they may try a couple more queries or search for a different product altogether, but many customers will simply leave after reaching a dead end.

Top query

By checking out the top queries with no results on your site, you’ll be able to identify gaps in your product range.

It's also an opportunity to connect shoppers with your customer support team. If you're not able to resolve a "no results found" outcome for certain searches, offering customers the option to live chat with your team or connect with them via email gives you the opportunity to direct them to another product, or send them to the product they were looking for in the first place. 

If these queries point to items you actually do carry, make changes to existing product pages to ensure users stick around and buy from you instead of your competition.


3. Searchers’ conversion rate vs non-searchers’ conversion rate, by device

Ok, that’s a mouthful - but an important one to understand! As mentioned above, site search users are more likely to convert (twice as likely, in fact) than visitors who navigate the website in other ways.

This, of course, comes down to intent: Searchers tend to have a specific item in mind they want to buy, while those who navigate using the site menu or other internal links are in more of a browsing state of mind.

Your site search analytics should show this, and if you don’t see a clear, significant increase in conversion among searchers, there may be something lacking from the tool you’ve chosen, like synonym search and auto-completion.


Beyond comparing searchers to non-searchers, though, you should also pay attention to conversion rates on mobile vs desktop, and even between various mobile devices.

Typically, you’ll find that desktop users tend to convert at higher rates, especially after initially viewing a product on mobile.

This is likely due to customers wanting a better look (on a bigger screen) before pulling the trigger, which should impact the way you construct your product pages on different devices.


4. Common auto-complete suggestions

Savvy online store owners know that in order to meet user expectations from search engines, it’s important to offer advanced features on-site, including auto-completed queries.

This means that from the first character typed into the search box, the site search algorithm will offer predicted queries that the user can select to save time. These suggestions are generated using big data, but some Shopify site search tools, such as Instant Search+, allow you to customize the queries and the order they appear, based on various considerations.

search auto-complete

If you take a look at the commonly generated suggestions and spot inaccuracies, take the matter into your own hands and optimize it for your users’ sake, and to help your conversions.

In conclusion

Giving users what they’re looking for is always a good idea, and simply implementing a solid site search in your eCommerce website already means you’re ahead of the game.

But, don’t take this advantage lightly. Familiarize yourself with the numbers and what they mean, so you can make the necessary improvements to your store, maximize your conversion rate, and improve navigation for your customers. Your revenue is sure to follow!


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Guest post: Zohar Gilad

Written by Guest post: Zohar Gilad

Zohar Gilad is the Co-Founder and CEO of InstantSearch+, a service that brings state-of-the-art ecommerce search & merchandising to over 350,000 merchants worldwide.

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