Once visitors see search results, there are five things they can do:
- Click on a product of interest, if they find one on the first page.
- Close the browser or move to a different site.
- Click on another part of the same website to look for something else.
- Refine their search keywords and try again.
- Move to the next page of the search results to continue looking for their product of interest, if they did not find it on the first page.
In this post, we’ll consider the last item since that ties directly into the metric, Average Search Pages Navigated.
I do not see this metric used a lot since most people rely on Search Depth. I believe, as far as search results quality is concerned, this is a far more important metric than search depth.
Consider that Search Depth tracks all pages visited after the SERP. For search quality, what we’re interested in is the number of search results pages on average a visitor navigates to find products of interest. By navigation within search results, I mean the clicks on “Next” link to navigate to the next page of the results.
The reason is simple, if the search is not presenting most relevant results on the first page, motivated visitors will navigate to second and third SERP to find the relevant result.
Generally, higher the average search pages navigated, lower is the relevance of the search results and most probably, lower will be the conversions.
The thumb-rule is that for search results to be optimal, the value of this metric must be as close to 1 as possible.