Search Logs: A Valuable Source of Information

Do you regularly look at your search logs?  If you don’t, you are missing a significantly valuable source of information.  The search logs tell you what people really want, not what you’ve provided them "easy" access to.

Some insights you will be able to glean include:

  • Ways to tailor your navigation to provide access to frequently required content with a minimum number of clicks
  • Useful thesaurus entries for commonly searched terms which have different names across your organization (e.g., Marketing = Marketing Department = External Marketing, or for a product, [Product Code] = [Product Name1] = [Product Name2])
  • Uncover content areas which you ought to be providing but aren’t currently

The goal isn’t necessarily to eliminate the use of search (some folks will always turn to search, even if what they want is right in front of them), but to tighten up your information architecture on an ongoing basis.  Information architecture should never be "done"; if you aren’t continually making adjustments, it will go stale fast.

NOTE (added 7/28): I didn’t have access to a MOSS instance when I posted this, but the pages you can go to in Central Administration to look at your search logs are in Shared Services (SSP) Administration:

  • Search Results Report — http://[SSP Administration server port]/ssp/admin/_layouts/SpUsageSspSearchResults.aspx
  • Search Queries Report — http://[SSP Administration server port]/ssp/admin/_layouts/SpUsageSspSearchQueries.aspx

Both of these reports can be exported for further analysis.


  1. The Search Query reports that are available through the Shared Services Administration pages are pretty basic (though you can still learn quite a bit from them).  There are third party tools that can do much more detailed analysis.  If you are more adventurous, you can dig into the search logs yourself.
  2. any idea how to get the same Search Queries Report to display for only a particular site?

    we are wanting to track and display stats on what people are searching for in a team site.


Have a thought or opinion?