February 15, 2007, 12:00 AM

Site search technology teaming up more with web analytics

Site search vendors are building tighter connections between their search engines and web analytics applications, enabling web site operators to better tailor search results to customers’ shopping interests, industry analyst Susan Aldrich says.

 

In the past several months, site search vendors have been building tighter connections between their search engines and web analytics applications, enabling web site operators to better tailor search results to customers’ shopping interests, says Susan Aldrich, senior vice president and site search analyst research and consulting firm Patricia Seybold Group.

The new tools are designed to make it easier for online retailers to automatically tailor site search results to shopping behavior, so that a shopper searching on, say, a 5-pixel digital camera would see the best-selling models at the top of the results page. Until recently, however, web site operators would have to manually pull data from analytics reports and then modify their site search function accordingly. “That’s often too hard to do, and the analytics data may be too old,” Aldrich says.

But with vendors like WebSideStory Inc. and Endeca Technologies Inc. integrating their site search tools with imbedded analytics, and Mercado integrating its site search with web analytics from Coremetrics Inc., e-retailers can now set up systems where terms entered into a site search window can automatically trigger in real time a results page populated with products shown to produce the highest visitor-to-sales conversion rates, Aldrich adds.

“In the past six months, I’ve seen an increased move by site search vendors to say they’ll use web analytics to help web sites make decisions on how to show search results,” she says.

FredHopper.com, a site search vendor based in the Netherlands, is going even further by beginning to integrate site search technology with search engine optimization for improving results in Internet search, she adds. Using data on popular site search terms, FredHopper will modify a web site’s pages to assure that they contain enough of those exact terms when crawled by Internet search engine spiders, in turn making them appear higher in Internet search rankings.

The next wave of site search technology development, Aldrich adds, will probably come from further integration between site search and Internet search. “Site search engines know a lot about what people are looking for and buying,” she says. Eventually, Aldrich says, she expects to see site search technology that will automatically trigger keyword buys in bid management tools, so if shoppers are searching a site for “red widgets,” a web operator’s bid management system could automatically bid on that term.

 

 

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