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Site Search

What if you could find out what people think is missing for your site? That’s easy. Just connect your desired view to your internal site search and you’ll have a list of every keyword people search for on your site. You’ll know exactly what they think is missing and what they have trouble finding.

To set up site search:

  1. Go to your Google Analytics admin section
  2. Click on “View Settings” for the desired view
  3. Go to the bottom where you’ll find “Site Search Settings”
  4. Select “On”

Now you need to find out how your site identifies internal search terms. Your site uses what’s called a query parameter for this. We need to make sure Google Analytics knows to look for the same query parameter and identify them as internal search terms.

How to Find Your Search Query Parameter

Go to your website and search for something. On the search results page, look at your URL and find your search term.

For example, I get this URL if I search for “google analytics” on the my blog.

Before the search term, there’s an “=” and the letter “s”. The “s” is the query parameter for the myb blog site search. Now your letter might be different (it’s usually “s” or “q”) and you may even have a complete word like “search”. The key is to look for your search term and find the letter or word before the “=”.

Once you know what letter or word your search query parameter is, plug it into the Query Parameter box in the Site Search Settings of Google Analytics.

See Site Search data

To see the Site Search reports:

  1. Sign in to your Google Analytics account
  2. Navigate to your desired account, property, and view
  3. Select the Reporting tab
  4. Select Behavior > Site Search

If you site has a search function, don’t forget to enable site search in your main view.

The practical use of site search

There are many uses for this report. Some examples include:

  • How many pages it took for people to find what they wanted
  • How many visitors gave up and left the website
  • Which keywords did not have good enough results so users had to refine their terms
  • How persistent visitors were with their query, by how many pages of results they looked through
  • Most common queries
  • Trends and identifying new searches which can help you identify products to stock or content to write about
  • Identifying common misspellings or other ways to phrase something
  • Which areas of the site people choose to search for over navigating through a menu for
  • Which queries lead to users being engaged with the website
  • Queries that have good conversion rates