Using Your Search Bar Effectively
Hello! I'm Charlotte, and I'm the founder of Blog and Beyond. I'm a slightly sarcastic 22-year-old grandma from Glasgow who loves The Sims, Hugh Laurie and programmes about airports. I've been blogging at Colours and Carousels for nearly eight years and work freelance in digital marketing.
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Every blog should have a search bar. It helps readers old and new find exactly what they’re looking for, without scrolling through page after page of content. It’s particularly useful when you’ve been blogging for a long time, like me, and have amassed a lot of posts!
If you take a look at the analytics for your search bar, you can uncover a lot of information about how your readers interact with your blog.
The best way to check the analytics for your search bar will vary depending on your platform, but I recommend using Google Analytics. Read more about using Google Analytics for your blog. To find out what people are using your search bar for, open up your Google Analytics dashboard and head to the Behaviour panel. From here, navigate to the “site content” section and select all pages.
To narrow down the results and clearly show what people are using your search bar for, find the search bar within the Analytics dashboard, hit “advanced” and type in the phrase that corresponds to your blogging platform -
Blogger and Squarespace: search?q=
This will bring up the results related specifically to your search bar and you can see the queries people have been entering on your blog.
What to do with your data
So, now that you know how to see what people have been searching for - how can you use this to your advantage? The data provided here can go a long way toward helping you build your blog from both a creative, analytical and technical standpoint.
Get to know your audience
When you look at your results, you’ll gain clear insight into the sort of topics your audience is interested in. You’ll be able to get a better idea of what topics perform best for you, what your readers care about and what they want to read. This understanding of your audience is a great tool when it comes to partnering with brands, as you’ll be able to gauge how well the partnership will perform with your audience, and figure out if it’s a good fit for you.
Your search bar data is fantastic for finding post ideas. Maybe people are searching for something you haven’t written about yet, or haven’t covered for a while? If it’s the kind of thing you could see yourself writing about, it might be time to add it to your repertoire. For example, when I was looking at my search bar results for June, I noticed that there were quite a lot of people looking for posts relating to podcasts. It’s been a while since I shared my favourites, so I’m now planning to write a post about my current podcast picks.
Defining your niche
Knowing what people look for when they come to your website is really useful for defining your niche or cementing your brand. Ideally, you want people to be looking for posts that are related to your key topics, as this would demonstrate a strong awareness of the type of content you’re writing. If the queries coming up aren’t the most relevant, you’ll maybe want to consider the ways you can make your niche a bit clearer or more defined.
Improving the user experience
If a topic is coming up regularly in your search box, it’s worth considering if there’s a way in which you can make it easier for your readers to access this information from the get go. Can you add a new topic to your navigation, or stick a button in your sidebar? As another example from my blog, I often get queries for “blogging tips”, so I’ve added a clear button on my home page and my side bar direction people to that topic, or to the Blog and Beyond website, to give a gentle push in the right direction and make it as easy as possible for readers to find the topics they’re interested in.