I’ve been diligently working on my blog for a year or so now and am getting some decent traffic but I’m still curious about where I can expand and grow with an interest in better serving my reader base and gaining even more traffic. One thing that’s caught my attention is the search on my site. Specifically, I realize that there’s no way to know what searches people enter on Google that should lead them to my site, but what about when the search is actually on my site? And more importantly, what searches could they be doing that produce zero results? Is it even possible to figure out empty search results on my blog?
Sounds like you’ve been thinking about this and working your blog, which is great. There are all too many people who start a blog with the very best of intentions, just to find out that it’s a marathon, not a sprint: a half-dozen blog posts isn’t the path to success, it’s the dozens – or more – over the course of months that start to produce results for you in terms of both traffic and potential customers.
There’s also a great difference between a blog that’s just starting out and one that has an established body of articles, just as there’s a difference between a magazine and an archive of years of publication: once there’s a lot of material available, people will start searching within the site to find specific information or entries, often just guessing that you’ll have covered a specific topic.
At a minimum, you definitely want to have a search engine on your blog, and most of the modern blogging tools offer just such a thing, whether it’s the built-in search in WordPress or a third party plug-in. They’re good for what they’re worth, but if you’re used to tools like Google, it’s a bit of a drag that misspellings and anything that’s not “close” fails to match. That’s pretty darn hard to solve, but even the question of what searches are people entering and how you keep track can be darn tricky when you probably don’t want “monitor the blog” as a major element of your job description.
That’s why I’m a fan of Lijit and use its search engine system on this blog. Their technology has two components, however, and most users like that it lets you set up a search space that’s not just your blog, but any other sources you like, including your YouTube videos, Tweets, and even your friends’ blogs. Nice if you’re part of a group blogging about the same thing, for sure!
What I particularly appreciate, however, is that Lijit is tracking and analyzing the on-site searches, and even makes the information hard to miss by emailing a report to me. It’s in this report that I can see what you seek: what searches are people doing that don’t yield any results at all?
In the report for this site, for example, I see:
I’m not entirely surprised that these searches fail to yield results, as most either have misspellings or are too specific, but it’s still critical data to track, allowing you to answer the question of “what should be on my site that isn’t?”
There are other paths to solving the problem but I encourage you to check out Lijit as one that certainly works well for us here at AskDaveTaylor.com