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Internal Search terms into a Word Cloud

I recently discovered this neat solution to the following problem

How do you make sense of thousands of unique search terms?

Imagine this scenario.

  1. Your boss asks you (you're the Digital Guru - it's one of 12 roles you have) where people go to next after they land on your home page.

  2. You crunch some numbers and let her know.

  3. She wonders why 13% of people use internal search from the home page - "That's 1 in 8!". Surely the navigation and calls to actions are clear enough? "What is the top search term?" she asks.

  4. "Widget" you reply. You're the website of a company famous for making widgets so that's hardly a surprise. "What else do they search for?" Well the 8th most popular search term is "blue widget". There is a Call To Action tile below the desktop fold for your most popular colour which obviously isn't being seen.

  5. Your boss is firing up now. "Let's revamp our home page based on what people are searching for - let's make it easy for them to find what they want without having to use search."

  6. That's hard to argue with - you've known for a long time that the home page was built by committee and ensured that every department was represented with little thought for the actual website users.

  7. "It's 3 o'clock - have something on my desk by 5 for me to read so I can present it at the board meeting tomorrow."

  8. You start digging into the data. (If your website has internal search and you aren't tracking it, click here)

  9. From here, let's go to detailed instructions .......

  10. Set the time period required in Google Analytics. Don't go too far back in time as you want to know what people are searching for now rather than what they were searching for in the past. If you website is seasonal in some way, go back 12 months to smooth out the seasonal trends.

  11. Go to the Site Search/Search Terms report as shown.
    Some description

  12. Adjust search rows so that all rows are displayed.
    Some description

  13. Export the report to Excel (XLSX)

  14. Go to the second sheet on the spreadsheet (the one with all of the search terms)
    Some description

  15. Delete columns C to G

  16. In column A, do a Find and Replace (replace spaces with tildes). 
    FIND: {space}
    REPLACE: ~

  17. Go to cell C2 and insert this formula
    =REPT(CONCATENATE(A2," "), B2)

  18. Copy that formula into column C for every row of the spreadsheet.

  19. Go to Tag Crowd and copy the whole of Column C (except for the title) and paste it into the text box.
    Some description

  20. Click on “Visualize!” to generate the word cloud – adjust the settings to refine what appears in the image.

  21. Print it and give it to your boss - she will be mightily impressed and you will have completed the task with time to spare.

Once you've done this once, it is really fast to do it the second time and will be one of the first things you do to impress a client when you look at their analytics for the first time.

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