Note: If you joined Zendesk on or after August 21, 2013, you have the Help Center instead of the Web portal. If you landed on this page by accident, see the articles on using the Help Center.
By Jennifer Rowe
If you have a Plus or Enterprise account, Zendesk provides a search analytics dashboard so that you can review knowledge base search terms from the last 30 days. For each search term you can see the number of searches for that term, number and type of search results returned (if any), click-through, and the next action taken.
Analyzing search terms can help you improve customer success. Most end-users look for information in your knowledge base by typing a search query, reviewing the search results, then selecting and reading an article. If they are not successful at any step of this process, they might request support.
Search analytics organizes data into four sets to help you pinpoint potential problems when end-users search for help in your knowledge base:
Total end-user searches (regardless of results)
Searches with no results
Searches with results but the end-user did not click any of the results
Searches that resulted in the end-user creating a ticket (due to insufficient results or content)
For each scenario you have an opportunity to make your customers more successful by improving search results and improving your knowledge base content. Doing so will help customers find the answers they need and avoid making support requests.
Search analytics is available in the Plus and Enterprise versions of Zendesk. The statistics are only visible to administrators and agents who have permission to moderate the forums or view reports.
Viewing search data
Search data includes only end-user searches, not agent searches.
To open the search analytics dashboard
Click the Reporting icon () in the sidebar, then click the Search tab.
Zendesk Classic: Select Manage > Reporting, then click the Search tab.
At the top you have four options for viewing search data: total searches, searches with no search results, searches with no clicks (where no search result was selected), or searches that resulted in a ticket being created. Above each data set you can see the number of searches in the last 30 days for that data set.
Click one of the four data sets to see a more detailed graph with a node for each day (the graph for Total shows by default). Hover your mouse over a nod to see the total number for that day. You can change the graph to show the numbers as a percentage of the total. To do so, select % of total searches from the drop-down menu in the graph (this option is not available for the Total data set).
Below the detailed graph you can see search data in a table. The Total data set includes data for the top 500 searches overall. Each of the other data sets filters the top 500 search terms accordingly to show data for searches that had no results, no clicks, or resulted in tickets.
For the Total data set, you can click More at the bottom of the search terms table to see the next 15 searches. You can view up to 500 searches. You can also limit the top 500 searches to only those from the Feedback tab, by selecting Feedback tab only above the search terms table. This option does not affect the other data sets.
For each search string you can view the information described in the following table. You can also click the term in the Search string column to see the associated search results or you can click the article in the Top clicked result column to view the content that was most clicked after the search.
Table 1. End-user search data
Exact term the end-user entered in the search
Total number of end-user searches for a term over the last 30 days
Avg. # of results
Average number of search results displayed for a search term
Click-through. Percentage of end-users who clicked one of the search results displayed for a search term.
Total number of tickets created immediately after a search
Top clicked result
Knowledge base content that was the most selected from search results
Disabling search analytics
Search analytics is enabled by default. If you don't want to use this feature, you can disable it.
To disable search analytics
Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Channels > Web portal.
Zendesk Classic: Select the Settings menu, then select Channels > Web portal > Edit.
Deselect the Forum & Search analytics > Show option.
Exporting search data
You can export search data as a CSV (comma separated values) file so that you can save and analyze the data.
To export search data, click CSV above the search terms table.
You can open the CSV file in a text editor or in a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice.org Calc. The first row of the CSV file is the header row, which contains the names of the data contained in the file.
Finding tickets and content related to top search terms
When you are reviewing search terms that resulted in tickets, you might want to find those tickets. The best way to do so is to search for tickets that include the search term and title of the most clicked content for that term. From the results, look for those tickets created in the last 30 days.
You might also want to find content that users are selecting in searches to make sure it's the best content. You can see the most clicked content for each search term in the search terms table for each data set.
There is also a visual indicator for top content in search results. Any piece of content that is associated with a top 500 search term and is a most clicked result appears with a special label in search results (at the end of the content title).
Making changes based on search data
Search analytics gives you insight into what your customers are looking for and where they are failing to find answers.
To make end-users more successful you can analyze search data (review searches with no clicks or no results, look at click-through, notice whether the best content appears in results, and so on), then take actions to improve search results and your knowledge base content.
After you make changes, it will take about three minutes before the content is indexed and can be searched.
Improve search results
You can improve end-user search results by updating content in the following ways:
Add tags to content. You can add tags to content so that the appropriate content appears in search results. For example, if you see that end-users are searching for "e-mail" but you use "email" without a dash in your content, add a tag with the similar term to the content.
Update content titles. You can rewrite titles to more closely match end-user searches. For example, if your article is titled "Deleting an email account" and end-users are searching for "removing a user from email," consider updating the title.
Break content into smaller articles. You can divide large articles into smaller articles to help customers find what they are looking for. For example, instead of "Managing email" consider smaller articles about "Setting up email," "Adding email accounts," and "Deleting email accounts."
Update content body text. You can add common end-user search terms to the body of appropriate articles so that the article appears higher in search results.
Remove old content. You can remove old content so that it does not clutter search results and confuse your customers.
Improve your knowledge base content
You can improve your knowledge base content by identifying content gaps and updating content:
Update existing content. You can update existing content to be more complete. For example, if end-users are searching for how to schedule a backup, and you have an article on running manual backups but not how to schedule backups, consider adding that information to the article. If scheduling backups is not an option, you might want to add that info to the article so that end-users don't continue looking for an answer.
Add new content. You can add content for common searches that aren't yielding any search results. For example, if end-users are searching for "accessing email remotely" and no content exist on that article, consider adding that article to your knowledge base.