Site Search Tracking In Google Analytics Without Query Parameters

This article is in conjunction with the article Understanding site search tracking in Google Analytics where I introduced the concept of ‘site search tracking’ in Google Analytics and also introduced ‘GET based’ and ‘POST based’ search engines.

Today I am going to show you how to set up site search tracking in Google Analytics for a POST based search engine.

If you use a search engine that is POST based, then most likely the search page URL does not contain query/category parameters and search terms.

So instead of a search page URL, like the one below:

Your search page URL may look like the one below:

No matter what you search and how many times you search, your search page URL remains intact as the search information is sent from a user’s web browser to your web server within the body of the HTTP request and not via the search page URL.

If you are using a POST based search engine then Google recommends the following two methods to set up site search tracking in GA :

  1. Convert your POST based search engine to GET based search engine.
  2. Send virtual pageviews along with query parameters and a search term whenever a search is performed on your website.

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Method #1: Convert your POST based search engine to GET based search engine (Recommended)

Configure the site search engine on your website in the way that it sends search information (like search query parameter, search terms) from a user’s browser to your web server via search page URL (instead of within the body of HTTP request).

So whenever a search is performed on your website, both the search query parameter and search terms are appended to the search page URL like the one below:

https://www.optimizesmart.com/search/?s=keyword

So basically convert your POST based search engine to GET based search engine.

Once this task is complete then configure the site search settings in your Google Analytics reporting view i.e. set the ‘Site Search Tracking’ toggle button to ON and enter your query parameter in the text box under ‘Query Parameter’:

Note: I would recommend that you convert your POST based search engine to GET based search engine. Not only then it will be easier to set up site search tracking, you will also be able to use search results as landing pages for your marketing campaigns. Since GET requests can be bookmarked and cached, it will be easier for your users to return to their previous search on your website.

Method #2: Send virtual pageviews whenever a search is performed

If for some reason, it is absolutely not possible to convert your POST based search engine to GET based search engine then you can send virtual pageviews whenever a search is performed on your website.

Customize your Google Analytics tracking code in the way that whenever a search result page is loaded into a user’s web browser (i.e. the search is performed on your website), the search query/category parameter along with the search term is appended to the request URI. For example:

ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’, ‘/search/?s=keyword’); // rewriting request URI on page load

Here you would need to write a code which can identify and extract search term from your HTML DOM and then append query/category parameter to it before sending it as a virtual pageview to GA.

So for example, if a user searched for the keyword ‘enhanced ecommerce tracking’ on your website, he may see the search result page with the following URL:

https://www.optimizesmart.com/search/

But the request URI sent for this page to GA would be:

/search/?s=enhanced+ecommerce+tracking

instead of the usual:

/search/

Once this task is complete then configure the site search settings in your Google Analytics reporting view i.e. set the ‘Site Search Tracking’ toggle button to ON and enter your query parameter in the text box under ‘Query Parameter’.

Related Article: Creating and using Site Search Funnel in Google Analytics

Other articles on specialized tracking in Google Analytics

  1. Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  2. Event Tracking via Google Tag Manager – Tutorial
  3. Event Tracking in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  4. Guide to Google Analytics Store Visits Tracking
  5. Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  6. Implementing E-Commerce Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  7. Tracking Virtual Pageviews in Google Tag Manager – Tutorial
  8. YouTube Video tracking via Google Tag Manager
  9. How to Use Keyword Hero to Reveal Not Provided Keywords in Google Analytics
  10. Virtual pageviews in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  11. Google Analytics and YouTube Integration Tutorial
  12. Google Analytics for Facebook Tutorial
  13. Google Analytics Cross Domain Tracking Explained Like Never Before
  14. Using multiple Google Analytics tracking codes on web pages
  15. The one thing that you don’t know about PayPal.com and the referral exclusion list
  16. Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  17. Creating your own Google Analytics Tag Auditing System
  18. Tracking Site Search without Query Parameter in Google Tag Manager
  19. Tracking true referrals in Google Analytics when using PayPal and other payment gateways
  20. Phone Call Tracking in Google Analytics and Beyond
  21. Learn to Track Qualified and Won Leads in Google Analytics
  22. Introduction to Postbacks in Google Analytics
  23. Google Analytics Recurring Revenue and Subscriptions Tracking Tutorial
  24. How to track the impact of cookie consent on website traffic in Google Analytics
  25. Tracking Offline Conversions in Google Ads
  26. Implementing Scroll Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  27. Scroll Tracking via Scroll Depth Trigger in Google Tag Manager
  28. Site Search Tracking In Google Analytics Without Query Parameters
  29. Video Tracking via YouTube Video Trigger In Google Tag Manager
  30. How to Correctly Measure Conversion Date & Time in Google Analytics
  31. Google Analytics Social Tracking – Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn
  32. Google Analytics Cross Domain Tracking (ga.js)
  33. Tracking Twitter and Linkedin Social Interactions in Google Analytics
  34. Creating Content Group in Google Analytics via tracking code using gtag.js
  35. Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics with Query Parameters
  36. Understanding site search tracking in Google Analytics
  37. Creating and Using Site Search Funnel in Google Analytics
  38. Learn to Setup Facebook Pixel Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  39. Setting up & Tracking AMP Pages in Google Analytics
  40. Setting up Sales Funnel across websites in Google Analytics
  41. Regular Expressions (Regex) for Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager – Tutorial

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers' purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years of experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence. The Digital Analytics Association is a world-renowned not-for-profit association that helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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