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In Google Analytics Essential Training, Corey Koberg shows how to use the Google web analytics platform to generate and evaluate information about the visitors to a web site, including data on site traffic, user behavior, and marketing effectiveness. This course covers the out-of-the-box functionality, from account creation to reporting fundamentals, and explains how to glean insights from the vast array of data available.
The Site Search Pages report can help us understand how our visitors are using our Site Search tool to find content on our site. It can help us identify pages that are confusing, vague, or otherwise frustrating to users, because one of the most important things we need to know when evaluating a particular search is where was the person on our site when they performed that search, and what were they seeing at the time? After all, as site owner performing analysis on my own site, if the visitor is at Cardinal Paths Adwords management page and they type in an internal search for Google Analytics Consultant, that's okay.
You want them to move from one section of the site to the other. But if they're already are on our Google Analytics Consulting page, and then they type in Google Analytics Consulting in the internal search box, well, then I have a big problem. So for good reason, the Start Page location is the default dimension for this Site Search Pages report, as this view shows us where our visitors are beginning those searches. Let's take a look at an example from the Google Store here. Let's say we're doing analysis on the page that hosts merchandise related to Google apps. This down here is the page that I'm interested in, with a somewhat cryptic file name.
In this case this it is our main category page, Google apps. We see that there are over 9700 unique searches started from that page. We'll click down to drill down on that page of interest, and because of some oddities of the way that our web site's database works, we have some erroneous data in here. And this isn't common, but it's not uncommon either. So if you see this in yours, it's easy enough to correct via an advanced filter. In our case I'm going to apply a regular expression that will remove those digits that starts with 10. I am going to exclude this, start with 10, and removes anything there after.
We apply that and then now one rises to the top. This one I want to pay attention to, Google Apps Bumper Stickers. We see that a lot of people who are on this page were searching not just for Google apps items, but one in particular, the Google Apps Bumper Stickers. So there is a clear action we can take away from this analytics. People on this page who feel they need to begin a search are overwhelmingly looking for this product. So we need to update that page to make sure that these bumper stickers are clear and center in the front, or if we don't currently offer them, we probably should, and feature them here. The opposite of the Search Start Page is the Search Destination Page report, which rather than showing us which pages they started the search on, these will show us which pages did they go to after the search.
This report shows us not just what pages are showing up in our internal results, but which of those pages are ultimately selected by the user from the search results. It can be accessed by clicking here on the original Site Search Pages report and then selecting the middle bar here to Destination Page. Determining the destination pages can be important in showing the relevant results or showing up for the keywords that visitors are typing in. Now one thing that jumps out to me here right away is this one labeled exit. 152,000 people searched, weren't happy with the results, and left my site.
So let's take a look at what caused that. We can drill down in here to that particular page, which isn't actually a page; it's the exit. What we're going to get is a list of all the terms here that caused people to do a search and become dissatisfied with the results enough to leave the page at that point; in fact, they left my entire site that point. So we get a list of all the terms here that caused people to do a search and become dissatisfied with the results enough to leave the page and the entire site at that point. And there's a lot of action we can take from this page. If these are items that we don't sell, well maybe we should consider selling them.
Worse yet, if these are items that we do sell, we need to understand why people weren't clicking into these results. Were the results not presenting the proper page? Was it not clear to the user that this page had those results? Whatever the case in your site, you can use this report as the glue to connect the dots from what the user did to the structure of your actual site and how you can fix it. Another way to come at this is from the keyword side. Instead of looking at a destination page and then seeing the keywords, we can look at a particular keyword and see which destination page people chose from that.
So I can come back here to the Search Terms report and look at the different keywords that people were searching on. I want to select one of these keywords that people searched on, let's just say in this case android. I'm going to apply another filter here to remove some of these erroneous search pages and my list will become much cleaner. I'm going to get rid of those that are actual search pages so I can see which ones actually got clicked on. Now I see that a fair amount of people exited, but I'm interested in these next two here.
In fact, I'm curious about this one down here, the Android+Restroom+Sign. So I'm going to copy that URL and come up here and see what that page is all about. This is the Android Restroom Sign T-Shirt. Given that this is the second-most popular page after the original one, now if I go back here to the list, I'll see that this was the second-most popular result after the main android page. So if I go to the main Android T-Shirt and look what that says-- let's take a look at that.
One thing I noticed here is that the most popular result for a specific T-shirt is not even featured here on the main T-shirt page. We can surmise that we might find success by moving it here, given its popularity as a search result destination page. As you can see, there's a ton of insight to beginning from the Start and Destination Pages report if we take the time to really analyze them.
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