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Improve internal search

What can an Editor do to improve internal search?

Find keywords

Which words do your clients/prospects use to search for certain topics? Use the experience of collegues who regularly talk with clients and prospects. If visitors indicate to support or sales collegues that they couldn’t find certain information on our sites, let them ask how they searched and let them share that information with the editors. What synonyms can we use? 

Use Google Analytics to check what search queries visitors use:Find Internal search top queries via Google Analytics: Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms 

Use these keywords in the page

Include the keywords you found in the page text, in: 

  • titles, 
  • text,
  • meta-information (meta-title, meta-description, meta-keywords).

Are there other pages on roughly the same topic? Add keywords that indicate the difference.

The search engine results page shows for every result only the title, part of the first line of text and the sentence following the first mention of the keyword in the text:

Internal search first result 

 Therefore:

  1. Include the most important keywords in the title.
  2. Give a short summary of the page in the first lines of text.

Test(!) what your page now looks like in the search results for the keywords you have chosen. Does it look relevent for a visitor for this query? Is your page the number one search result?

SEO
By applying these directions your page is automatically also more attractive and relevant in Google search results. Google also shows page title and a description made from elements in the page.

 

Tips in case changes in text don’t work

Best guess block

If for a certain query the results don’t match the expectations of the visitors, the siteseeker admin (national web editor) can submit a best guess for a specific keyword. A best guess is a gray block that appears before the organic search results. Just like organic search results it contains a title, a description and links to the desired page, all editable by the admin. It is possible to add multiple best guesses for one keyword.

Example of best guess application

The search query windows 10 provides the most relevant search results for both windows and 10. In order to interpret this as a single query, quotation marks have to be added: "windows 10". However statistics show that no visitor ever enters internal searches with quotation marks. In this case adding a best guess for windows 10 and/or for windows solves the issue.

Synonyms

The siteseeker admin can also add synonyms. When you realise that many visitors use a different keyword than expected to look for a certain topic, you can make the search results for query x show when a visitor enters query y.

Related links

If all these tips didn’t help, and visitors still end up on the wrong page, add a link to the better page in a prominent place on the page. Use the keyword in the link text!

Edit Suggestions

Comparable to best guess, the siteseeker admin can also edit the search suggestions.

Not indexed?

If no-index is selected for the page, it will not appear in the search results. When your page doesn’t show in the search results no matter what you have tried, this is the first thing to check. It is of course also useful to make sure undesirable pages are shown in search results. (source)

Check statistics regularly

Both Siteseeker and Google Analytics show the top search queries for certain periods:

Top internal search queries in Google Analytics

Check the Refined keywords: which search queries didn’t provide the desired result and what synonyms did visitors switch to on their second query?

Refined search queries via Google Analytics

SiteSeeker admins can provide the following statistics:

Check the click-through rates (CTR). How often do visitors click on a page in the search results for a certain query? Do visitors end up on the correct page, or do you have to make title and intro more relevant? [Temporarily not available in SiteSeeker]

Check the Queries Without Hits. What did the visitor search for but didn’t find? Improve by adding new pages, synonyms and best guesses. [Temporarily not available in SiteSeeker]

Poll on Search results page

The SERP can also be included in the scope of the “have you found what you were looking for” poll. Gives direct feedback on problems visitors experience with the search engine.