Search Analytics for Your Site Blog

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Posts written by Louis Rosenfeld

  • Site search analytics workshops: early regi deadline

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    Just a reminder that the early registration deadline for the Seattle edition of my workshop on site search analytics is this Friday, October 2. The workshop takes place on Thursday October 29; Steve Krug’s new workshop on do-it-yourself usability testing follows on the very next day.

    Steve and I will also tag team in Washington, DC, November 9-10; the early registration deadline is October 9.

    If you’d like to get a taste of what I’ll cover, check out my slides on SlideShare or read my contribution to the recent special issue of A List Apart, which was devoted to site search analytics.

    One more note worth mentioning: my workshops have been described as “wonderfully intimate”. I’ve always assumed that’s how workshops ought to be, but apparently that’s not always the case. So, like it or not, you’ll get a healthy dose of contact with moi if you attend.

    OK, what are you waiting for; go and register! Hope to see you in Seattle or DC!

    US E.P.A. Washington DC 9/21/09

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    Special invite to speak to the US Environmental Protection Agency…

    Typically for anyone who has ever tried to find, well, anything on a government website has found it is easier to find what they were looking for Goolge or Yahoo. But, every once in awhile someone understands that it takes more than just technology to serve good results. And with that I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been selected to speak at the EPA Search Summit and will be able to advise the on their EPA’s future Search Strategy,

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is gathering a small panel of experts for a Search Summit at the EPA’s offices in Arlington, VA on September 21, 2009. The purpose of the summit is to discuss the vision, goals and technical alternatives for developing an EPA Search Strategy.

    The EPA is currently analyzing the way it shares information with the public. In the Agency’s opening round of research, a broad spectrum of participants identified their inability to find environmental information, particularly using the Agency’s search engine, as a major source of dissatisfaction. As a result of these findings, SRA International is working with EPA to develop a Search Strategy that will address the entire ecosystem for finding Agency information, including content, metadata, processes, partnerships, technology and policy.

    Search Analytics for Content Strategists

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    Last Thursday I gave a talk to the NY Content Strategy Group on how to apply search analysis to content. This was actually the first time that I gave my talk on this topic to a non-web analytics (WA) crowd. While not nervous, I admit I was not sure how it would be perceived. I am glad to report that it was very successful and touted “as the best yet”. (I do have the email to back that statement up!)

    What stands out most in my mind about that talk is this…

    1. After seeing and now knowing what data, metrics, & reports are available the audience was now able and comfortable with going to ask their SEO, Web Analytics, etc the right questions
    2. For those that were relying on themselves (no WA person) that had the basic tools and knowledge of how to use data they had access to make decisions based on that data
    3. And what struck me most, while it was a point I tried to drive home time and time again, was that a good amount of them came up after and said they now see the value in breaking down the walls and that UX & WA can work together

    So, with that I’m very pleased to share with you the presentation I gave. I (we) really do appreciate any feedback that you can provide (positive & negative). Enjoy!

    Brand Websites Must Die

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    How do you apply web analytics to design & prove ROI when you don’t sell anything? Brand & most company websites are the perfect examples of sites where ‘gut feelings’ or the attitude ‘we’re not selling anything’, so we don’t need analytics. But you are running a business, aren’t you? You do want to make you bonus, don’t you?

    Thinking of a site as just a ‘brand site’ is harmful to your company &/or you clients. If you have the attitude of ‘if we’re not selling something, we can’t show ROI’, well, first of all you’d be wrong. Secondly I can prove you wrong. But what I’d rather do is have you learn how to apply what in analytics we call “online business models” and apply KPIs (key performance indicators) to all your designs and experiences. The real change is simply not thinking of a site as a ‘brand site, but instead as a Lead Generation site. What that term might mean something to most people, it means something very specific in analytics. I also show you some screen shots of a few analytics reports such as Funnel Analysis & Multivariate testing, as well as what to do with them. I use as my example, to show how a brand/CPG website can benefit from web analytics, including KPIs for Lead Generation websites.

    All my notes are included in my slides, I encourage you to read them along with the slides. This is a very short presentation and the first is series I’m doing on each of the business models.

    My struggle with metrics-driven analysis

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    As Marko and I triangulate on site search analytics from the bottom-up (exploratory analysis) and top-down (metrics-driven analysis), I’ve really struggled with the latter. Not surprising, as a designer of sorts, I’m much more of a bottom-up guy. I’m just not as experienced with the top-down approach, which has been one of the really valuable things I’ve learned from Marko.

    But I still feel that there’s a gap. In my take on top-down analytics, you start with a reasonable understanding of your organization’s goals. Is it trying to sell widgets? Help people research retirement plans? Change the minds of voters? This is hand-waving Big Picture stuff, but obviously you shouldn’t be in business if you can’t describe what it is your organization is there to do.

    Next part: come up with some concrete site search metrics for purposes of benchmarking and measurement. And there’s the rub: getting from big goals to specific SSA metrics is really hard. Maybe not if you’re trying to sell widgets, but definitely if you’re trying to change voters’ minds.

    Marko describes some useful basic SSA metrics in his presentation (see slide #43), and there are many more here. But, based on both reading and direct experience, I still don’t feel like the mapping process is obvious, and I’m not entirely sure what guidance to offer than 1) start with generic SSA metrics and 2) make the effort to customize them for your own organization’s needs.

    As an author, I feel like that’s something of a cop-out: readers will surely want more guidance than that. But I’m not sure there’s more out there other than “your mileage may vary”. Does anyone have any advice on getting from broad goals to concrete site search metrics? Love to discuss it in the book (with full credit, natch).