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5 website search KPIs to improve your content strategy

Agata Kędzia
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Storyblok is the first headless CMS that works for developers & marketers alike.

A short recap from daily life: You probably know those stores, where you can find literally everything but nothing at once. The shelves are filled with different stuff that might seem useful in some theoretical situations, but you don’t need them right now. Most probably, the things you would like to buy now are somewhere there, but it's hard to wade through the ocean of everything to find them. Your time is limited - nobody wants to spend all day in one store. A meticulously made shopping list would surely help, if only you knew what you wanted to begin with.

With this in mind, think of the website visitors, who are also looking to find exactly what they want on your platform, and as fast as possible. You might, of course, have a lot of different content there, but it’s important to take care of concrete audiences with specific demands and needs. If they are able to find exactly what they are looking for, you can be sure that those customers will stay with you forever.

How to create a perfect place to visit?

At Storyblok, while helping our partners build amazing online projects, we know that a well-tailored search function is tremendously vital. It is about enabling your customers to find the most relevant and tailored content, and making this as fast as possible. When aiming to boost your user search experience, it is important to know what to measure, in order to satisfy the needs of different customers. It comes down to creating their search UX that is easy and intuitive. Before we talk about what search indicators are worth considering and how you can measure them, let’s have a short look at why you should care about this at all:

  • People who have a positive search experience with your platform are more likely to return to you, finding the UX better in general
  • Customers who use your search features are more likely to convert
  • Visitors who utilize the search functions account for almost half of revenue streams from your platform
  • People who find your search feature outcomes relevant will feel treated individually and unique - which contributes to building a strong relationship with the brand

In addition to that, you might need:

  • Great marketers who know how to do it
  • Good and up-to-date analytics tools
  • Modern and functional search integration on your platform

Regarding the search integration, we at Storyblok love the collaboration with one of our Technology Partner - Algolia. On our search page, we use a really great product they offer - Algolia Search. Thanks to the reliable API approach and the fact that the data is stored in Algolia, we are able to build an exceptional and streamlined onsite search experience, so as other companies that decide to use this search feature. Here you can learn more about its amazing features, as well as discover how we collaborate with other Storyblok Technology Partners within the Technology Ecosystem we created.

Let’s get back to the mentioned indicators which can definitely help you to build an amazing onsite search experience. “KPIs” can sound a bit strict, but you can treat them as your good friends or allies who show you the right way to your brand’s success. Without KPI’s, you wouldn’t be able to effectively follow your business's progress and ensure that the steps that you take will lead you towards success. Here are your allies:

KPI #1: Percentage of visitors using onsite search

It can be treated as a base KPI to gather data and build further steps from there. Customers who use your search function are 216% more likely to convert. Remember the comparison with the shopping list? You can imagine that these are the people who already have one, when entering your platform. To put it in other words, this group of visitors is highly motivated and likely to make a purchase action on your platform. There is of course no upper limit you would want to achieve - the more engaged visitors, the better. However, it might not be enough just to observe these figures and leave this information alone. Following the search user's percentage fluctuations based on, for instance, seasons or marketplace changes, will let you better understand customer behaviors and tendencies to make your future campaigns more streamlined.

KPI #2: Search exit rate

This indicator shows how many times your visitor left your site right after using the search function. A low rate should make you happy as it tells that your potential customer found the desired data or products fast, with minimal effort. A high rate, on the contrary, would suggest that the experience was not satisfactory, which led a visitor to abandon your platform. At this stage we have two options to consider - either your customers are not able to find what they are looking for on your website, or the search results are presented in such a way that gives irrelevant information or it is illegible.

KPI #3: Click-through rate

This can give you information on how often your visitors click on the result after finding what they want. If the CTR is high, that means that your content is well optimized and tailored to your target group and your overall onsite search performance looks good. Rising indicators of CTR will tell you that the discovery experience of your visitors is improving and they engage with your platform actively. It also gives you a pretty solid base of customers who will most probably convert. Analyzing the data at this stage will definitely contribute to setting up your content strategy.

KPI #4: Most clicked items

To attract your clients and make them stay with you longer, you need to know what content pieces grab their attention the most. Knowing your top-clicked items lets you put the most popular search queries on the top of the results list. The more relevant content is found in the first seconds of a client's discovery journey, the better. Most clicked items will also tell you something about your visitors' profiles - how does the tendency of clicking actions change in time? What causes that? Asking yourself these questions will lead you to new conclusions and information about your audience - as a marketer or agency member you know for sure, that there's never too little of such information.

KPI #5: Search refinements percentage

We can definitely state that by removing attempts for users to find what they are looking for, we remove barriers and obstacles to conversion. We can think of the user’s needed product or information discovery as a booster of the online experience and incentive to dive into your platform even further. Search refinements percentage is an indicator that will direct your attention to the number of attempts a user made to enter a search query before the search process came to the end. The moment that the search was stopped might indicate that the user found what he wanted, or gave up on discovery because of giving up. Of course, a lower percentage will be better in this case, but again, this analysis can also give you a better view of how fast your customers can find what they need and at the same time engage with your content.

Key takeaways

Observing search trends on your website has a tremendous impact on the content strategy and its optimization. The mentioned KPIs can help you track your platform’s performance in terms of what is happening with the customer's search experience. We at Storyblok, based on our own experience, can say that our Technology Partner - Algolia, knows how to do it best. We take advantage of their exceptional features on our website and can ​​definitely recommend trying it out! The top reason why we love using Algolia in our tech stack is search results displayed in milliseconds, regardless of the number of entries. Moreover, with Algolia you can track click-through rates, most clicked items or follow search refinements percentage. It’s also possible to gather data regarding search exit rate or the number of visitors using your onsite search feature. Thanks to the typo–tolerance function and displaying search results with highlighted keywords, it will also help your users find exactly what they need. This all enables you to leverage your observations and outcomes to drive improvements and better value on your website. As content strategy optimization always starts with your audience’s needs and behavior analysis, a well-established onsite search experience can definitely help you at winning in customers’ eyes and building long-term relationships with them.