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April 25, 2006

Creating Web Pages & Driving Search Results Based on Analytics

According to a news report WebSideStory this week is announcing that it will marry its back-end Web analytics engine with consumer-facing search engine technology in Search Version 4.0.

The technology, dubbed Active Ranking and Active Navigation, allows the search engine to write to a suite of APIs in the analytics engine to pull data out of the system. Consumer searches on retail sites, for example, could present results based on most commonly purchased model, color, or style of product.

Essentially, this tool allows the analytics to determine in real-time what is most popular over a set period of time such as the last 30 days or 3 months. If a user on a cell phone site searched for Motorola on the site and the Pink Razor had the most purchases, then the search results would list the Pink Razor at the top of the results. This allows previous consumers to somewhat dictate what current shoppers are seeing.

Most web sites are currently using the analytics to determine the most popular items and then adjusting their site accordingly. Also, many sites such as Amazon.com utilize similar technologies to the recommend the products that people commonly buy that are related to the product that you are currently viewing. This technology takes it one step further and takes the manual labor out of the picture and automates the process in real time using these API’s.

What the future holds…

This technology has the ability to increase conversions dramatically. If sites can present these search results in this manner, one would think that the ability to build the site dynamically according to consumer preference is right around the corner. Here is a possible scenario:

A customer is on a phone company site. If they click on a link for phone service, the site would be able to instantly determine the most plan that has been purchased most frequently in the past week and then lead the customer to a page featuring that plan and then list the next most popular below, and so on.

Creating web pages or driving search results based on analytics was typically a behind-the-scenes manual operation, but now it can be automated. The end result for companies is less time spent analyzing data and more time to focus on other aspects of their marketing and their business.

-Mark Barrera
Search Engine Marketing Services

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