Internal Search: Users Search For This On Your Website (In Vain?)

Internal Search

Internal Search: Every year at Easter, flocks of children go looking for Easter eggs and even have a lot of fun! But who doesn’t feel like searching for things and playing hide and seek? Your website visitors.

It is good that many (but unfortunately by no means all) websites have a search function: Ideally, certain content or products can be found with ease. At the same time, the search queries provide many valuable clues for the questions and concerns of your website visitors. Use this knowledge to tailor your site even better to your prospects before they disappear on competitor sites! Here I tell you how to do it.

Internal Website Search – What Is It Anyway?

The internal search (site search) in the search field available to users on many websites. This makes it possible to quickly search through all the contents of a page. In some cases it is used to save time; in other cases, users have no other choice: namely when a page is, for example, confusing and unstructured. If visitors even bother using the search, website owners can consider themselves lucky! Because the click away from the page to the next is done quickly.

So keep an eye on user behavior on your site. In this case, of course, specifically the search: It tells you a lot about the needs and questions for which users on your site want information or answers. A check of your site search can therefore serve as an honest testimony to whether you are meeting these needs.

What Use Is The Internal Search Now Exactly?

Before it comes to the evaluation options, I anticipate the question that is certainly more exciting: What concrete advantage does an analysis of the search offer? Here are some examples of the important conclusions you can draw from this:

A Term Is Noticeably Often Typed In The Search

This could be an indication that users cannot find what they want intuitively based on the menu structure of your site.


Check whether the page you are looking for cannot be better placed directly in the menu structure, for example as the main menu item or as a sub-item of the second menu level. This increases the likelihood that the user will find what they are looking for faster and thus stay longer on the page. At the same time, the number of inquiries or the number of purchases in an online shop should increase in this way: This time then without any interested parties having to rely on the search function.

Many Searches Are Made In A Foreign Language


If there are more search queries, for example in English, it is time to consider translating the page and thus offering it in several languages. This in turn has the advantage that you can expand your target group and increase your reach.

Incorrect Entries In The Search Line, Such As Misspellings Or Reversed Letters


Especially in online shops, it is important to allow tolerance for search queries. One can speak of a very large spread here; every now and then there are incorrect entries. It is therefore important to accept spelling errors and spellings that differ from the product name in the system. This way, interested parties can still find the correct search results in the listing. Example: “Lederhose for men” instead of “Herren Lederhose”.

What Happens With Synonyms?


It often happens that users use synonyms when searching. Because of course, you are not always familiar with the exact names of your product catalog. Here the search should be structured in such a way that produces results are also displayed with synonyms with the spelling stored in the system. This is for user-friendliness and increases the chance of conversions.

Set Up Tracking For Your Site Search – That’S How It Works

The analysis tools Google Analytics or Piwik are two ways to set up tracking for your internal search. However, we primarily recommend and use Google Analytics.

You can follow step by step here how to set up.

Find Search Parameters For Your Own Website.

In order to get the search activities of your website visitors displayed in Analytics, you first have to find the search parameters. It’s actually pretty easy. Because this is usually included in the URL and always structured according to the same scheme. However, it depends on the system used. For example, if you search for “Easter Bunny” on Google, the URL contains the value q = (Google search parameters), followed by the search query you entered:…

In other systems, such as WordPress, the search parameter is:? S =. This is followed by the search query:

Go To The Administration Interface Of Google Analytics.

If you have several managed pages, you must first select the correct account in this step.

Change To The Data View Of The Account Via The Point “Administration”.

Here you now have the complete data view. In the basic setting, “Site Search Tracking” is “OFF”. You have to switch this on and then enter the previously determined value in the input field “Search parameters”.

  • In order to have the search queries directly in plain text, you can still select the option “Remove search parameters from URL”.
  • In order to have the search queries directly in plain text, you can still select the option “Remove search parameters from URL”.
  • Enable site search tracking in Google Analytics
  • By clicking on “Save” you can save the settings you have made.
  • The “Behavior” area in reports has now been expanded to include the Site Search:
  • View of the Site Search in the Google Analytics side menu.

Place The Search Field Sensibly

The search field itself should of course be easy to find and therefore placed prominently on your website (all sub-pages included). So here are a few tips:

    • The header area should be used as a successful placement. It is best to position the search field on the right-hand side, as in most cases people first read to the right instead of left. A placement further down or to the left is also okay but loses attention.

The search field should always be prominent and unobtrusive. Apart from the areas above or below, the search is also often implemented in the main navigation.

    • The search field should be clearly visible and easy to use on every device.
    • In order to make the search easier for the visitor to find, you should at least make the button that sends the search eye-catching or integrate a magnifying glass symbol. Preferably with a color that catches the eye.

Problem: The Search Does Not Produce Any Suitable Hits

If no suitable hits are found in the internal search, the reason is usually as follows: There is simply too little relevant content on the page. As a result, it is not possible for the search function to create a conclusive ranking of search hits, even if there is content on the website for the search term entered. Therefore, you often get inadequate or mostly no results. This shows once again that you have to provide enough content for every area of ​​your website. So you can not only improve your Google ranking but also the functionality of your internal search.

I hope my tips have opened your eyes to how important internal search is to the usability of your website.

Do you want to get off to a flying start with your company and would you like an online marketing agency by your side? No problem! Simply contact us using our contact form.


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