Beyond Goals: Site Search Analytics from the Bottom Up

by Lou Rosenfeld

8 Reader Comments

Back to the Article
  1. I really appreciate the approach you are describing to getting a better understanding of your visitor’s intent. Internal Search is one of the view things customers do on many sites and it is a direct indicator of how a site is not serving a certain segment. I believe getting a feeling for what visitors are missing is often the first step in creating changes to a site’s design, that can then be validated by measuring outcomes. It’s very much along the lines of what any scientist is doing when he is working with lots of data: coming up with a hypothesis during the discovery phase, where you immerse yourself in data and formulate what might actually be happening, before you then use a quantitative method to measure if you’re right. A lot of that first phase is about lookng at available numbers, but it is also about having hunches and developing ideas. I wish we had more tools that helped us along those lines.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  2. Willwill, I agree; as I mentioned in the article, you’ve got to play with data to develop hunches.  Otherwise we risk missing out on the unexpected.  Better tools would be nice, but I’ve found Excel to be good enough to handle most aspects of exploratory data analysis.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  3. I’s a nice and useful way to use Excel for site search analysis, and quite varying from the other methods presented today. I did not believe before that there were so many different techniques for that issue.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  4. ...I was pleasantly surprised to come across this article.  Great to see the MSU community taking a part on A List Apart. Keep up the great work.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  5. Nice results. As a person who is also acquinted with MSU community, it’s good to see the them taking roles on A List Apart.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  6. Hi there Thanks very much for your insights. As someone who often gets lost in data, I appreciate your tips on how to wade through it in a way that makes sense. Using the bottom methodology that you describe has already given me a wider perspective on conversion optimization
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  7. Every good site manager or designer probably formally, or informally, almost certainly engages in bottom-up analysis at some point. I wonder how many “community managers” do ... ? I can think of more than a couple examples of website community managers who’d really benefit from a rethinking of their strategy, to shift their focus from “brand building” to “meeting user expectations and needs” by identifying what people are actually seeking.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  8. I had never given much thought to using site search statistics to help me determine how to best arrange the layout and images (as in your campus map example). Thanks.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.