If you’re looking for something new to conquer in the SEO world, onsite data might be just the thing to satisfy that craving. Believe it or not, there are many companies that still ignore onsite data in favor of data they get from Google, PPC ads, email marketing campaigns, social media, etc. While all of these data sources are also incredibly important to give you the full picture of your website, onsite data is also a piece of the puzzle.
For those who are unfamiliar, onsite data refers to the data you gather from when people search within your site. Chances are your website has a search bar that allows people to visit your site and then search your website specifically (and if you don’t have a search bar you should for improved navigation if nothing else). The sooner you can understand what data points are gathered from onsite search, the more advanced you can get with your overall SEO strategy.
Using Onsite Search Data to Help Refine Your SEO Strategy
Below are several different data touch-points you can use to help your SEO strategy overall (not just your onsite search strategy) and how to use that data effectively and create a plan of action:
Pay attention to search queries for keyword ideas
You want to see what people are physically typing into your search bar so that you can follow trends and get keyword ideas. This data is coming straight from your audience, so this is one of the best ways to get keyword ideas and see how you could be improving your SEO and PPC outside of your website as well. In fact, this is a great way to hopefully avoid having people need to do an onsite search altogether!
Once you have this data, you can begin to type in those same queries on your website and on Google to get a feel for what type of information is popping up for your readers, which can help you in more ways than just keyword insights (discussed below). It is true that you can see what landing pages people land on to get similar data, but according to a HigherVisibility article, it’s worth noting that this isn’t always as accurate just in case some of your pages are ranking differently, which affects the search.
Look at search query trends and remove pages you don’t want to show up
You should look for trends in your onsite searches and then do those searches on your own. Pay attention to the content that is popping up, and remove any pages that you don’t want to either A. Rank for that search, which will take some revision work, or B. You want gone from your website altogether. If these pages are getting attention and you don’t want them to, the sooner you remove them the better.
Make sure there is no missing content that is causing a high bounce rate
On the flip side of the last point, this is also a great time to add pages that you do want users to find. If they don’t exist yet (which they most likely do not), create them! This will help give you extremely targeted content ideas and help you give readers what they want. Again, pay attention to the trends in searches and base your new content off of those queries.
Follow search trends and pay attention to content on the popular pages
If you notice that a good portion of your audience is searching the same thing, the first thing you should do is analyze where they’re being sent. Second is to revise the content that is showing up as ranking number one. The points above talk about adding and removing content, but sometimes all you need is a little revision. Make sure you’re reading this content and keeping these popular pages overly optimized—include a new video, new updates and statistics, posting them on your social channels, etc.
Where to Find Onsite Search Data
You can find your onsite search data numbers by visiting your Google Analytics account and going to Site Search > Behavior. Once here, you can decide if you want to see an overview, usage, search terms (which is what I recommend checking out first), or pages. Visit this article for more detailed information.
In the end this data may not be quite as insightful as metrics that you get from Google, but it can help you get a more complete picture of your audience’s behavior and help you gain new ideas when you’re feeling stuck.