Google Analytics Site Search Reports: Understand Your Traffic

That small search bar on your website is definitely helpful for your visitors and readers to search for the right content. They can customize their search and look for the exact things they want to read through. But have you ever wondered how they could be useful to you for making your website better and easy to gain from?

A simple search bar on your site can lead you to get good insights into how your viewers and visitors intend to use your website and what they look for while surfing through your site. Internal search option has led to a more capable data searching and navigation feasibility for the viewers as well as you as a host. The most you can do with your Google Analytics, the better. You can make all kinds of observations and data gathering with Google Analytics and using Internal Site Search is one of the best options you could choose. This helps you understand exactly what your traffic is looking for. Not just that, you can also get to know what they do with the search results. You can attain all of this, by just viewing and keeping track of your site’s search report.

Why Internal Search?

When a search query is run, your visitors are looking for something specific which they haven’t been able to find on your Homepage or your Navigation Menu. If you know what they are looking for, you know exactly what to place and where on your site to prioritize your content, according to demand.

Google Analytics Site Search

Whichever part of the content is in maximum demand, you place that very thing where your customers can find it easily. This way they are happy with your service and the accessibility of your website and you are happy because they can convert very easily. You increase your site’s search quality with the help of this Internal Search option. Also, when a user is signed into Gmail and then searches through Google, your analytical data fails right there because that goes into your “not provided” section. When a user is signed in to Gmail, they are using a secure network and hence their data is neither tracked nor revealed. This is where your internal search results help. Your internal site search completely belongs to your site and does not need any external elements to cause any issue with the results and on-goings from your site.

How to Set Up Internal Search for Your Website

Google added the internal site search feature to Analytics in November 2007. Since then, your life as a Webmaster has become a little simpler. Setting this feature up is not difficult at all. You will find the details of how to set up, in the Behavior tab under Analytics Help Forum. It is a step-by-step detailed description as follows:

To set up Site Search for a view:

1. Click the Admin tab at the top right of any screen in Analytics.
2. If you are not already on the Account Administration screen, click the All Accounts link at top left, just below the orange bar.
3. Click the account that contains the web property and view for which you want to set up Site Search.
4. Click the web property that contains the view for which you want to set up Site Search.
5. Use the View menu to select the view you want.
6. Click the View Settings sub-tab.
7. Under Site Search Settings, select Do Track Site Search.
8. In the Query Parameter field, enter the word or words that designate an internal query parameter, such as “term, search, query.” Sometimes the word is just a letter, such as “s” or “q”. Enter up to five parameters, separated by commas.

For information about identifying query parameters, see Identifying Search and Query Parameters for Your Site.

Site Search

9. Select whether or not you want Google Analytics to strip the query parameter from your URL.
Note that this strips only the parameters you provided and not any other parameters in the same URL. This has the same functionality as excluding URL Query Parameters in your Main View: if you strip the query parameters from your Site Search View, you don’t have to exclude them again from your Main View.
10. Select whether or not you use categories, such as drop-down menus to refine a site search.
If you select No, you are finished. Click Save Changes.
If you select Yes:

  • In the Category Parameter field, enter the letters that designate an internal query category such as ‘cat, qc,’.
  • Select whether or not you want Google Analytics to strip the category parameters from your URL.
  • Note that this strips only the parameters you provided and not any other parameters in the same URL. This has the same functionality as excluding URL Query Parameters in your Main View: if you strip the category parameters from your Site Search View, you don’t have to exclude them again from your Main View.
  • Click Apply

It wouldn’t be a good idea to miss on any of these aforementioned details. However, if you are using a POST-based website, you need to play by some different rules. You can find the details here (https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1012264?hl=en).

Advantageous Insights

Avinash Kaushik, in one of his conferences on Google Analytics and its tools, talks about the Internal Search feature and its benefits. He states that he has mentioned the same in his book on Web Analytics. According to Avinash, there are n number of features and benefits of having an Internal Search process in place. You can trace your traffic without even them knowing about it or troubled by it. You don’t need feedback, you don’t need to ask or bombard them with questions. They give you your answers without you asking them any questions. When a visitor types a query into the search bar and looks for something which he or she couldn’t find on the home page or the easily accessible Navigation tools, that query gets reported. If multiple users search for the same thing, you know you are doing it wrong and need to update your website for the easy accessibility of content on your website.

Google Analytics

Another benefit of having these queries on record is you can use the same keywords which they provide you as your SEO aid. You can use those exact terms which they feed you, to attract them to your site and increase your traffic as well as the conversion rate. For them it’s a miracle, for you it’s a well-planned strategy. You can customize this search query as per your necessity and analytical requirement. If your traffic types in a query and then once the results are in front of them they simply walk out on you, you are at a big loss, because this traffic is never going to convert. All you have to do is, customize your content based on their search queries.

One of the most important things that you need to make sure is to have a goal set. If you don’t plan your Outcomes or set your goals in Google Analytics, you are basically doing nothing and are just plain wrong!

Internal site search is one of the best ways to increase the conversion rate of your website and generate leads. These are going to be promising leads because you know what they are exactly looking for and you are ready to modify and adjust yourself according to your users’ requirements.

Your Data Navigation also improves because of this. You know exactly who searched on your website, what they searched for, where they searched for it, and when they searched. You have all the advantages here and can use minimum resources in order to make your traffic happy and keep them satisfied.

Sounds interesting right? Go give it a try by setting up and customizing Internal Site Search 0n your website now!