Measure Site Search Effectiveness: How To Know Shopify Product Search Optimization Is Performing Well

Doki Nguyen
Jun 14, 2024
3 min read

The on-site search (or product search) performance of your Shopify store can make or break your potential customer experience. When working on your Shopify product search optimization, always look at it through the customer’s eyes.

However, many merchants are struggling with how to measure site search effectiveness. The reason is, slapping a search bar on all Shopify pages and then calling it a day doesn’t count as “product search optimization”.

A concentrated on-site search optimization goes a long way toward improving how your visitors engage with your online store. So, get in merchants! We’re going to look at different ways to measure your own Shopify product search performance.

Determine the effectiveness of your onsite Shopify product search optimization

What makes your site search successful? Merely offering search functionality on your Shopify store and hoping for the best won’t cut it. Optimizing your site search can have a significant impact on your website's usage, sales, and conversion rates. It can also enhance your branding, loyalty, and retention.

You see, there are many things to consider when you look at your site search effectiveness. To make it simple for you, an efficient site-wise product search can improve the customer experience and how you can benefit from that.

Basically, everything boils down to these two goals: your site search makes customers happy while doing their shopping - and, of course, it increases your revenue.

To determine the effectiveness of your Shopify product search optimization, you will need to:

1. Know your final goals in optimizing product search

Do you want to achieve more clicks through search terms, increased sales, reduced costs, improved customer experience, better and longer engagement, or other improvements? It's important to specify your goals clearly.

Sometimes, "increase sales" is too broad a goal, and many factors contribute to it. As a result, it can be difficult to measure the exact impact of site search optimization on your store's overall revenue.

2. Understand product search metrics

How to measure site search effectiveness without site search metrics? Impossible!

site search metrics

When you have clear, specific goals for your onsite product search optimization activities, you’ll have to make sure they are measurable. What are the essential site search metrics to look up for? We’ll be discussing them below.

3. Adjust your Shopify product search optimization

To ensure your optimization efforts are aligned with the right goals, it is crucial to test and make necessary changes. By doing so, you can determine which tweaks provide visitors with a better product search experience.

In addition, tracking product search data can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. These insights can inform your decisions for future improvements.

How to measure site search effectiveness: the most important metrics to start tracking today

Search frequency

This metric measures how often website visitors use the search function (aka your search bar). A high search frequency may indicate that site visitors prefer using the search function to browse products by categories or collections.

With 69% of all shoppers going straight to the search bar to find what they want, search frequency is for sure an important metric in your overall site search effectiveness measurement.

How to keep track of search frequency on your Shopify store?

There are a number of ways to track the usage of your search bar. You can either set up Site search in Google Analytics 4 or use a heat-map tool like Hotjar to analyze what and how visitors engage on your website.

To calculate the percentage of search bar usage, divide the number of visitors using the search bar by the total number of visitors to the website.

It may also be useful to analyze user behavior with your website’s search box. Do they use the search box immediately upon entering the website, or do they only use it after browsing or scrolling through a few pages to find a specific product?

What to do if the search frequency is low?

The low usage of the search bar can be attributed to its design. If the search bar is not prominently located on your website, it can easily go unnoticed.

To improve visibility, the search bar should be prominently located either in the center of the site or at the top right of the page. These locations are conventional and online shoppers are accustomed to looking for a search bar here.

Pro tips:

  • You can label the search bar with the word “Search” for better visibility or add a more search intriguing phrase like “I’m looking for…” to encourage shoppers to use your site search bar.
  • Use search prompts to encourage your online visitors to enter search terms in the search bar. This helps collect more search term data and behavior, as well as increase product search engagement in your store.

Read the full article:

How to Optimize Your Conversion Rate with Shopify Navigation & Site Search

Search relevance

Site search relevance is critical for a successful Shopify product search experience. It ensures that customers receive accurate search results quickly, saving time and guiding them toward the final stages of the purchasing process.

In essence, site search relevance refers to how well search results match what customers are looking for when searching for a product on your Shopify store.

search relevance

How to know if your Shopify product search is delivering relevant results?

Defining the relevance of search results on your Shopify store can be tricky, as it depends on the specific use case. What is relevant to one user may not be as relevant to others. Below are the key metrics to determine your overall search relevance:

  • Number of searches per search visit:

How many searches do your customers have to make before they place and complete an order? The ideal scenario is on the first try, your site search engine can identify the shopper’s intent, understand it, and returns the most relevant suggestions.

The more searches your shoppers have to perform using similar but different keywords, the more friction they encounter. This is a sign that your search relevance needs improvement.

  • Bounce rate (search exit rate):

This metric measures the percentage of users who leave your store after performing a search.

A high search exit rate may indicate that the search results are not relevant or the search function is not easy to use.

Pro tip:

To determine whether shoppers are having trouble finding the products they want on your site, consider the search exit rate and the amount of time they spend on a page. If both metrics are high, it may indicate that visitors are struggling to find what they're looking for.

Conversely, a low bounce rate and short dwell time after performing a search may suggest the opposite: that shoppers are finding what they want quickly and efficiently.

  • Average search duration & click-through rate (CTR):

This metric tracks the length of time customers use the search function. A longer search duration may indicate difficulty in finding what they need.

CTR, or click-through rate, is the ratio of visitors who clicked on a search result to the total number of users who viewed the search results. A low search CTR might indicate that your search results are inadequate, and visitors did not find what they were looking for.

Consider combining these metrics with the number of searches per visit to draw a conclusion on your store’s search relevance.

  • Sales generated by search (search conversion rate):

This metric measures the percentage of searches that result in a purchase. You can find out if your Shopify site search works by looking at the sales it generates. Most visitors who use the search bar have high purchase intent because they already know what products they want to buy.

An effective product search and discovery should seamlessly connect shoppers to whatever items they have in mind.

A high search conversion rate indicates that customers are finding relevant products through the search function without any friction.

How to improve search relevance on your Shopify store?

Online visitors who use the search function on your Shopify site are often looking for a specific product or category, and if the search results are not relevant, they are likely to leave your site or look for alternatives.

By improving search relevance, merchants can help potential customers find what they are looking for more easily and quickly.

Check out this guide on improving site search relevance:

The Importance Of Site Search Relevance And Boost's Algorithm To Fine-Tune It

Search findability

How else can you know your Shopify product search optimization is performing well? Let’s look at the actual findability of your on-site search and filter system.

Popular search terms

While it may not be possible to know exactly what your shoppers are going to search for, you can train your search machine to guess what they might be interested in or looking for.

For instance, if your store is selling denim jackets for men, will the search terms differ depending on whether your visitors are looking for a hoodie denim jacket or a relaxed-fit denim jacket?

Moreover, what about the style? Will they search for a trucker, a military, or a vintage one? Do they prefer a button-down or a reverse button style?

levi search terms

Levis lists many terms for their shorts' styles

To ensure that your customers can easily find what they are looking for, it is important to include as many relevant search terms as possible in your product descriptions and tags, which are also known as specifications.

By doing so, you can improve the chances of your products appearing in search results when customers use specific keywords or phrases.

Pro tip:

  • Look at both high-performing keywords and low-performing keywords as well as common misspellings to adjust and harness your store’s search engine performance

Percentage of searches with "No Results Found”

When site visitors conduct a search on your Shopify store and receive a "No Results Found" message, they are more likely to abandon your store and may never return. If your store has more than 5% of search results that yield no results, then there is room for improvement.

Read more:

Best Practices for Instant Search Box - What to Do With ‘No Search Results’

Search filter

While online visitors’ search behavior might be unpredictable, search filters do provide them with the ability to search however they want. You can rely on search filter metrics to understand your customer on their product discovery journey.

For search filter metrics, you should pay attention to:

🔑 Total filter clicks: This metric indicates the level of customer interest in a group of products over a period of time.

🔑 Top filter option value: By analyzing the summary of filter option data, you can identify trends in product browsing on each Shopify collection page. This allows for a deeper understanding of customer demand for specific product attributes.

Did you know?

We helped Sage and Paige - an Australian fashion store - increase their site search usage by 400% just by utilizing the power of search filters.

Want to see the same results on your Shopify store? Start using Boost today, we have a 14-day free trial with full premium features waiting for you to explore.

Try Free Now

Search personalization

Personalization accounts for a rich customer experience in any online store. Take a close look at the metrics below to improve your Shopify search personalization over time more effectively:

  • Top search terms: Analyzing the top search terms used by customers can provide insight into popular products and keywords among your store visitors.

This insight can help optimize product listings and search algorithms accordingly to tailor to each individual search on your store.

  • Search term misspellings: Digging into the search term misspellings used by customers can help you identify common errors and incorporate them into your search algorithm to improve search results.

Therefore, not only will search personalization be improved, but search relevance and findability will be as well!

FAQs about measuring the effectiveness of Shopify product search optimization

What are examples of good site search optimization goals to strive for?

If you’re not sure what goals to set when optimizing Shopify search and discovery on your site, here are a few key goals to track first:

  • Reducing or eliminating "no results" pages
  • Improving the quality of search results to reduce search exit rates, or shorten the sessions per search if the bounce rate is high
  • Acquiring more revenue from search (conversion rate)

How often should you analyze your site search data?

It depends on your store size and the volume of search queries you collected, as well as the power of search engine you’re using.

In general, it's a good idea to analyze your site search data at least once a month to identify any search trends or behaviors that may be emerging.

However, if you have a larger Shopify store with a high volume of search queries, you may need to analyze your site search data more frequently - on a weekly or even daily basis, especially during peak seasons - to ensure that you're providing the best possible user experience for your customers.

How much data is reliable to assess the effectiveness of your site search?

Again, it depends. However, the minimum amount of search and filter data that can be collected is within the past 180 days. For a more accurate and insightful decision, it is preferable to analyze data collected (up to) within the past 12 months.

Getting lost? Which metrics can help you improve your Shopify product search optimization?

When it comes to choosing the right set of metrics to measure your site search optimization, there are many factors to consider. Of course, you'll want to keep your business goals at the forefront of your mind. But it's also important to think about your users' search objectives.

By understanding what they're looking for, you can choose the evaluation methods that will help you optimize your Shopify product search more effectively.

It can be overwhelming for many Shopify merchants to find and set up the most helpful site search metrics on your store.

Boost's advanced search and filter analytics provide you with the ideal combination of tools to investigate different search experiences in your store, while giving you the ability to adjust your search performance effortlessly.

Everything is ready-made for you in an easy-to-understand, in-app report UI.

Say goodbye to manually analyzing search data and hello to actionable insights that will boost your sales and improve the user experience for your customers.

Try Free Now

Doki Nguyen
Content Marketing Specialist
June 17, 2024
6 min read