Software // Information Management
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10/8/2009
10:44 AM
Tony Byrne
Tony Byrne
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Align Web and Search Analytics

Last week I heard Marko Hurst give a nice talk on search analytics in which he emphasized the importance of integrating quantitative and qualitative analysis in any user experience effort. That makes great sense. But before you even get to that point, I think the domains of search analytics and Web analytics need closer alignment...

Last week I heard Marko Hurst give a nice talk on search analytics, the topic of a forthcoming book he's co-authoring with Lou Rosenfeld. Marko emphasized the importance of integrating quantitative and qualitative analysis in any user experience effort; Lou made a similar case at J Boye Philadelphia earlier this year. It makes great sense.

But before you even get to that point, though, I think the two domains of search analytics and traditional Web analytics need closer alignment in most enterprise Web operations.My sense is that most Web analytics people pay insufficient attention to site search analytics (and it turns out there are a lot of search metrics to review). Part of the challenge is access to real search metrics. As Web Analytics Report readers know, the industry has evolved towards tag-based solutions for a variety of good reasons, but very few of those vendors support search metrics. And even then, you need to make sure you're tagging diligently. Of course, most log-file-based systems will capture search queries, but you end up parsing for only the most basic data. It's no coincidence that e-retailers are ahead of the game in both aspects ("regular" Web metrics and site search analytics); we all have much to learn from them.

The bigger problem, I think, is that the people in your enterprise who are optimizing search and those optimizing site experience (a.k.a., "marketers") often work in two different worlds. That's why this cuts both ways: your search experts need to incorporate broader Web strategy and metrics as much as the other way around. You could spend your entire workweek examining various site search metrics. Let your broader site objectives guide and focus your analysis.Last week I heard Marko Hurst give a nice talk on search analytics in which he emphasized the importance of integrating quantitative and qualitative analysis in any user experience effort. That makes great sense. But before you even get to that point, I think the domains of search analytics and Web analytics need closer alignment...

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