Read Your Visitors’ Minds & Increase Engagement on Your Blog

Mind Reader
A gold star for anyone who can make the connection...

There is a reason why Google is one of the most powerful corporations in the world – people love search.

You may craft a simple and intuitive navigation system on your blog, but a lot of people will still search. With Google now being so good at returning highly relevant results, people expect to get what they want by literally asking for it.

Accept the Inevitable

Search will be used by the vast majority of your visitors who visit your blog on more than a few occasions. For instance, a new reader who is thoroughly engaged with your content may have a specific query. She likes your content, and as such may wonder if you can address her query in your own inimitable style. What’s the quickest way for her to find out? Do a search, of course.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could collect invaluable search data from your visitors and utilize it to craft future content and address their immediate needs? Guess what – there’s a plugin for that.

Enter Search Meter

Search Meter is a powerful plugin that tracks and stores your visitors’ search data. It could do with an update – it is currently listed as being compatible with WordPress 3.1.4. However, according to user feedback, it has a flawless track record with WordPress 3.2.1. So you shouldn’t have any concerns in installing it.

The plugin starts tracking data as soon as you have installed it. Once you have collected a a sizable chunk of search data, you can get started.

Why Is This Information Useful For Me?

There is one main benefit to having the data that Search Meter collates – you can get an insight into what your visitors want to read about. It is qualified data from a targeted audience – what could be better? There are three main actions you can take from the findings in your fresh search data.

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1. Optimize Existing Content

You should optimize your content for onsite queries so that the most relevant results are placed at the top of your search results. You should also consider related keywords – do your articles cover all bases when it comes to the keywords your visitors search for? Optimizing your content in this manner will probably have a positive impact on your onsite SEO for Google too. If they’re searching for it on your blog, they will be searching for it in far greater numbers across the internet.

2. Create New Content Based Upon Unfulfilled Search Queries

If you’re wondering what I mean by “unfulfilled search queries”, I mean searches that return no results. Search Meter actually tracks these:

Unfulfilled Search Queries
As you can see, my blog does not cater for badger-related queries at all. Shame on me.

If you are getting multiple unfulfilled searches on the same topic, you can be pretty confident that there is a gap in your content in need of filling. After all, the better you satisfy your visitors’ search queries, the more likely they are to stick around.

3. Optimize Your Navigation

If you are seeing multiple searches on the same topic, you can be pretty confident that your navigation system is not doing its job well enough. The most popular searches should be tempered by prominent placement in your navigation.

But That’s Not All

Search Meter has one more handy feature – it can display your most popular searches as a widget. This might be ideal placed below your search box.

Popular Searches
Clever, eh?

I would consider this feature useful only if you are receiving multiple identical search queries. If you’re only getting a few identical searches, it’s probably not worth including this widget.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, getting plenty of the same search queries probably points to a deficiency in your navigation system. It might be better to sort your navigation out, rather than include the widget.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Aisyla Aldrin

Comments (4)

  1. I’m assuming your picture is related to how a vampire is supposed to have some sort of a mental link with those they infect. Also in the Underworld films, they can evidently view the memories of those whose blood they drink. Can I have a gold star?

    On an actually related note, thanks for the great article. I’ll be giving this plugin a test run in the next few days!

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