March 31st, 2006
On the not-quite-dead-yet SIGIA-L list, Eric Scheid shared this idea for a product he’s developing:
I’m rolling out a search log tool and am wondering about capturing and reporting referrers to searches, including penultimate referrers.
A referrer to a search request would be the page the search is done from. The penultimate referrer is of course the page previous to the page the search is done from. Thus, for example, if a search is done from a given product page, then would it be interesting to know from whence they came to that page. For example, the user arrived there from Google, but then immediately did a site search.
I think this tool could be very useful and something I could see myself insisting our clients make use of.
Our research has shown that on most (not all) sites, only about 14% of search queries are issued from the home page. The vast majority of queries come after visiting lower level pages, such as galleries and content pages.
From this, we infer that many users are making a stab at trying to find what they are seeking by using the categories and links. Only when the scent trail dries up do they turn to Search.
When they turn to Search, our research has shown the queries they enter are the trigger words they were seeking. In essence, they are using Search to create their own links because the links on the page failed them.
For years, we’ve been telling our clients to look at their search logs and extract the trigger words. We’ve also suggested they make an effort to determine what pages the user was on when they made the search and to pay attention to the path they traversed to get there.
Our experience shows that you can see substantial improvements in user satisfaction and task completion by adding the links on the page that duplicate the queries users are making.
Having a tool that makes this simple would be extremely valuable.
(How people use on-site Search is something we talk a lot about at the UIE 2006 Roadshow. A few seats still available for Seattle, San Francisco, and Minneapolis.)Tweet