Thursday, October 3, 2013

SharePoint: Search analytics or How to Improve Search

Recently, I have been diving deeper into Information Architecture

Key Issues in Governance Planning is Search

Google search and sharepoint search shouldn't work the same

when you google something you will get a lots of something

when you search in SharePoint, your intention get less but more relevant information to make business decision quicker. You are confined in bussiness jargon you use in your organization, or by author you are searching for.

Typical Search problems:
 - Garbage in, Garbage out
 - Poort meta data
 - Too much noise
   - Irrelevant content on top
   - Useless content
   - Duplicate content
 - Bad document authoring (pdf, MSOffice)
 - Misalligment with/misunderstanding users' conceptions
 - No Improvement over time

Actions to improve search:
 - Use Site Collection Web Reports
 - Check statistics weekly in the first 3 months
 - Make 20-50 Best Bets
 - Check monthly  and adjust
 - Improve titles descriptions
 - Add metadata
 - Map existing metadata

How to use Site Collection Web Reports to analyze Search?

How do you know of search needs improvement?

Start with "Failed Queries" /_layouts/WebAnalytics/Report.aspx?t=SearchFailureReport&l=sc
Look at the numbers of Queries that are failed. Compare with numbers of visitors
If you see that failed numbers are high, this is the first indication that you have to improve search.

Percentage abandoned value indication:
 returned no results - need to see if we can improve content exposure (via metadata) to show the result based on criteria
 100%  - users didn't follow any link that been shown in the result page. Check the result by yourself, analyze why content is not used by user. Is it wrong metata that describes the content or user uses different terminology?

How do you analyze UX via Search?

If visitor numbers are high /_layouts/WebAnalytics/Report.aspx?t=UniqueVisitorsTrend&l=sc
, but rarely people use Search overall _layouts/WebAnalytics/Report.aspx?t=SearchTrafficTrendReport&l=sc
, it might mean that you navigation is great
or users go only to the specific places without exploration what else can be useful in the portal and maybe you need to promote search feature more.

If users intensely use search it might indicate that you have to improve your navigation page

How can you reduce failed queries?
Add a search keyword with best bet.
Best Bet is a promoted result. Analyze use of the Best Bets via "Best Bets usage" - _layouts/WebAnalytics/Report.aspx?t=BestBetPerformanceReport&l=sc

This note is based on Search Analytics in SharePoint 2010

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