Some time ago we released some new Search Analytics features, and so far the feedback has been very positive. In this blog post I thought I would go over some of what you can use Alexa's search analytics for, both to increase the traffic to your site from search engines and to monitor what the competition is doing.
Let's start by going to your favorite website's site information page and clicking on the "Search Analytics" tab. This is the heart of search analytics for a site, so I'll step through each section one by one.
This is the percentage of visits to the website that come from searches on search engines. These include Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Baidu, and many more. It's also worth pointing out that these are visits from searches, and not all traffic from the search engine's domain. Google, especially, can drive significant non-search related traffic to websites through Google news, Google groups, gmail, etc. A quick thing to do here is compare your percentages with those of your competiton. Are you better at being found on search engines?
Top Queries from Search Traffic
This is a list of the top search terms, both organic and paid, that lead traffic to the site. If you want to know which phrases are the most important in terms of raw visits, this is where you should look.
If you click on any of the Top Queries, or any search phrase on this page, you will be taken to a Search Information page and find specific information about the term. First is the Query Popularity for the search, which is just that. It is a measure of popular the search is, with a larger number meaning more people search for the phrase. The Query Competition Index, or QCI, is a measure of how many times ads appear for the term. The larger the QCI the more advertisements there are. The Share of Voice shows which sites the term drives the most traffic to, along with which percentages of the term's traffic go to each site. Lastly you will find the term's Engagement for each site. The Engagement is an indication of how much time someone spends on the site compared to the average visitor to the site.
Now back the the site's Search Analytics section.
High Impact Search Queries for site
This is a list of search phrases and sub-phrases that drive organic traffic to a website, sorted by their Impact Factor. The Impact Factor takes into account how much traffic a phrase drives to the site, how popular the phrase is (Query Popularity), and how much competition there is for that phrase (QCI). This can give you a quick look into which terms are important for a site's organic search, especially those with a high popularity but low QCI.
This is as much as you can get without a toolbar installed. If you do install and Alexa Toolbar, you will see two more sections devoted to SEM.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Activity by site
These are the terms the site is paying to get traffic from. This is a great way keep tabs on your competition's SEM campaigns across all search engines. The SEM activity indicates how aggressively the site was advertising for these terms, and is rated as either High, Medium, or Low.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Opportunities for site
These are queries that offer the greatest opportunity for the site to get more traffic through SEM, sorted by the Opportunity score. The Opportunity of a term is calculated using a number of different measures. First is the Query Popularity, if no one is searching for a term then it offers less of an opportunity. The next factor taken into consideration is the QCI. Terms with a lower QCI have less competition, and therefore you will presumably have to bid less for them. Lastly are terms that have a small share of voice for the site. Even if a term is a High Impact Search Query, meaning it is generating organic search traffic for the site, the traffic to the site through that term might be a tiny fraction of the overall search traffic for the term.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas for how you might use search to increase the traffic to your site. I plan on walking through a few case studies in future blog posts, if you a specific use case you would like to see addressed then please leave it in a comment below or send it via Twitter (@alexainternet or @wcoburn)