Web Analytics

Gaining Important Insights with Site Search in Google Analytics

The search function on a website is a win-win situation: your users find their way around your site faster, and you can derive essential insights from the search terms. To analyze search input from internal website searches, you can use the Site Search Report in Google Analytics. In the following, we’ll show you how to create this report and what other benefits it offers you.

Three Good Reasons for the Search Function on Your Website

  1. Internal site search allows you to identify content that visitors are looking for and generate ideas for your content marketing.
  2. If users are increasingly looking for topics that your website already covers, you should link to them more efficiently and prominently and include them in the menu navigation.
  3. One of the most effective ways to use site search is to create target groups based on specific keywords. If these audiences haven’t converted yet, you can retarget them with targeted offers in Google Ads.

Site Search in Google Analytics

If you have configured Site Search for your website, you will find the most searched terms on your website in Google Analytics under Behavior > Site Search > Overview. If this is not the case, Site Search is probably not yet set up for your website.

First, you need to find out whether your website supports search parameters or not. To do this, go to your website and use a unique search term like “testsearch”. When the results page loads, look at the URL. The result will determine how you configure site Search.

Option 1: With search parameters

Your search has search parameters. Then your URL will look something like this: advance-metrics.com/?s=testsearch. The important thing is that there is a question mark here, followed by a parameter, which in this example is “s”. This parameter can also be q, search, or similar. The following equal sign specifies the value of the parameter, i.e., the search term. In this case, you can set up Site Search relatively easily.

To do so, go to the Admin section in Google Analytics and then to the View Settings. As the last setting, you can enable Site Search tracking. After that, an input field for the search parameters (Query parameter) will appear below it. Enter the name of your parameter here (“s” in our example). After saving, your website search terms will be tracked in Google Analytics.

Enable Site Search in Google Analytics

Option 2: Without search parameters

Your search has no search parameters if the URL of your search result looks something like this: https://www.advance-metrics.com/search/testsearch. So your search term directly follows a slash, and there is no question mark or parameter in front of it.

You can also track Search terms in Google Analytics without search parameters, but the configuration is a bit more extensive. To do this, create a new filter with the following entries in the Admin area under Data View > Filter (View > Filter):

Configuration Filter Site Search

It is crucial here that you map the URL pattern of your search results in the request URI. In our example, this would be .*/search/(.*) to track terms for all languages.

In the Output To -> Constructor field, select Search Term from the drop-down list and enter $A1 in the field next to it. Also, choose “Field A Required” and “Override Output Field” options as indicated in the screenshot. After configuration, you should run some searches and check if they appear in the report. It can take up to 48 hours for the data to appear in Google Analytics.

You can now apply this filter to other data views so that you can access the Site Search report in additional data views.

Site Search Categories

Site Search Categories are a dimension in Google Analytics under the Internal Search section. They are used for internal search when site search categories are enabled. For example, these product categories can be electronics or furniture. However, to use Site Search categories, you must have defined category parameters in advance.

Do you need assistance in setting up your site search or category parameters? Feel free to contact us.

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