The Swiftype Blog / Mastering SEO & SEM with Site Search Data

Mastering SEO & SEM with Site Search Data

Consumer interests and behavior are always changing, making the best approach to search engine marketing and optimization a continually moving target. In the face of this uncertainty, the best strategy to adopt is to stay ahead of the curve by forecasting what your target consumers will be searching for in the future. But how can you best make these predictions? and what tools do you have at your disposal to inform these decisions?

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The traditional model for making these predictions is, at its core, educated guesswork. Experienced site owners rely on website traffic data or consumer spending habits to anticipate changing seasonal or topical interests, but this strategy places too much focus on past consumer behavior. To stay ahead of the curve, site owners need to tap directly into the pulse of their visitors to understand their real-time needs and wants. One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to find this pulse is by looking at what users are searching for on your website.

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Below are the key pieces of data that site owners should know about user search behavior, paired with suggestions of how to use these analytics to improve search engine optimization and marketing campaigns:

  1. Top searches. What are users searching for most? This data reveals your users’ intent and identifies the most valuable and popular content on your website. Because you know that users are already looking for this content on your site, these top queries should form a central part of your keyword strategy.
  2. Top searches with no results. Where are users hitting dead ends on your site? If a user searches for something but finds no results, they will assume your site doesn’t have what they are looking for and leave your site to find the content elsewhere. The simple solution to this problem is to create content for those queries – a strategy which will not only help users already on your site, but can also improve rankings for long-tail search queries.
  3. Top autocomplete conversions. What are users clicking on before even seeing a full results page? This data gives you a laser focused understanding of what users hope to find when performing particular queries. Harness this data for your search marketing campaigns by using more targeted, page specific keywords.

By tapping into this rich, user generated data, site owners can find a new source of inspiration for their SEO and SEM efforts and ultimately drive increased traffic to their site.