What can you do with site search?

"This is too long to read" summary:
The people looking for something specific in your store aren't "just browsing". They're your best customers in waiting. Site search is a sales tool, a wealth of customer information, and your best friend for SEO.

There’s a specific group of site visitors who are looking for a way to hand you money.

AND they’re already handing you tons of useful information.

They’re the people using your site’s search box.

 

Site search is insanely useful for you and your customers

People who use site search have a higher purchase intent than others. They are already looking for something to buy.

These are people that you want to help.

Here’s how site search is useful for you

 

· It tells you what products your customers are looking for (and having trouble finding)

The words that people search for are what they’re expecting to find on your site. The things they want to buy or learn more about.

It’s your customers telling you exactly what they want from you, down to the type of product.

So you should make it easier for customers to find those products, and here’s a few ways you can:

  • Highlight your most searched items on the home page or collection pages to make it easier to find and purchase
  • Work on your main navigation to make it easier to find products that way. Use your site search data to re-think the way you categorize products.
  • Include product pictures on the search results page, so customers can more easily find the result they’re looking for.

 

· Find new products you can sell

People are literally telling you what they want to buy from you. If they are searching for things you don’t sell, you should think about why.

Does it work for your brand? Could you start selling it?

Or does it mean that your messaging is off and you could better reflect what things you really DO sell?

Site search can give you a signal that you should consider expanding your product selection OR that you should be clearer about what your brand is.

 

· It gives you the exact language of your customers

Since customers are searching, they are giving you the same words they’ll type into Google to find your products when they are looking.

That’s more valuable than any data you’ll get from a paid SEO tools like Moz or SEMRush, and it’s free. You can use it for:

  • Product names and descriptions
  • Collection names
  • Filters and sorting options
  • Content (Guides to products, product overviews/explainers)

How do you access your site search data?

You’ll need to:

  1. Have site search on your store site. I can’t recommend strongly enough that you invest a bit in a good search setup. The Shopify app store has several choices for site search apps that integrate with your store. Literally any of them would be better than nothing.
  2. Turn on site search tracking in Google Analytics so that your site search data starts flowing there. You can find out how to do that in my Google Analytics setup checklist.
  3. Use your data. Once setup, you’ll be able to find site search queries under Behavior > Site Search. You can also create a custom segment to include users who used site search. That will let you see the effect on behaviors (like purchases) and metrics like revenue.
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