The most popular object in our online collection database is still a dress worn by Delta Goodrem.
I’ve previously written about how the popularity of this dress was driven in part by coverage on a number of Delta Goodrem fan forums. But this neglects the criticality of search. Google has always driven traffic to this object and looking at last months analytics where Google search represented 86% of referrers to the object, the top 5 keywords used to discover this dress were these –
1. lisa ho – 11.24%
2. evening dresses – 4.55%
3. lisa ho dresses – 2.71%
4. formal dress – 2.13%
5. chiffon dress – 1.07%
Because of the frequency of the keywords ‘lisa ho’ in the title, description and body text of the object record, and the trusted PageRank of the Powerhouse Museum domain, we rank 11th in Google search results for ‘lisa ho’; 2nd for ‘lisa ho dress’; and 4th for ‘lisa ho dresses’.
Fortunately for us, this external traffic isn’t fleeting. Visitors to this object view almost double the average number of pages viewed by others on our site; and they spend more time on the site too.
Looking at the internal search terms for that same object the results are very different.
1. Australian fashion (also a subject classification)
2. tennis (user tag)
3. lisa ho
4. delta goodrem
5. elegant (user tag)
External search has effectively driven nearly 10 times the traffic of internal users to this object. It has also brought audiences to the object who have very little behavioural similarities to those who search within the context of our own site (internal search). This creates many new challenges in terms of usability and user experience.
Over the entire collection there are pockets of objects for which the difference between internal and external search is not as great however this needs much greater data analysis (and may be the subject of a future post or paper).