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 a use a search engine which 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 search page URL.

If you are using a POST based search engine then Google recommends 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 parameter and 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 Specialised Tracking in Google Analytics

  1. Google Analytics Recurring Revenue and Subscriptions Tracking Guide
  2. How to track the impact of cookie consent on website traffic in Google Analytics
  3. Phone Call Tracking in Google Analytics and Beyond
  4. Scroll Tracking via Scroll Depth Trigger in Google Tag Manager
  5. Video Tracking via YouTube Video Trigger In Google Tag Manager
  6. Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics – Complete Guide
  7. The one thing that you don’t know about PayPal.com and the referral exclusion list
  8. Introduction to Postbacks in Google Analytics
  9. Creating Content Group in Google Analytics via tracking code using gtag.js
  10. Tracking Site Search without Query Parameter in Google Tag Manager
  11. Setting Up Site Search Tracking for POST based search engines in Google Analytics
  12. Tracking Site Search for GET-Based Search Engines in Google Analytics
  13. Understanding site search tracking in Google Analytics
  14. Tracking Virtual Pageviews in Google Tag Manager – Complete Guide
  15. Creating and using Site Search Funnel in Google Analytics
  16. Learn to Setup Facebook Pixel Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  17. How to use Keyword Hero to reveal Not Provided keywords in Google Analytics
  18. Guide to Event Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  19. Learn to track Qualified and Won leads in Google Analytics
  20. Creating your own Google Analytics Tag Auditing System
  21. Using multiple Google Analytics tracking codes on web pages
  22. Guide to Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics
  23. Google Analytics and YouTube Integration Guide
  24. Complete Guide to Google Analytics for Facebook
  25. Tracking true referrals in Google Analytics when using PayPal and other payment gateways
  26. Virtual pageviews in Google Analytics – Complete Guide
  27. YouTube Video tracking via Google Tag Manager
  28. Implementing E-Commerce Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  29. Event Tracking in Google Analytics – Complete Guide
  30. E-Commerce Tracking in Google Analytics – Complete Guide
  31. Google Analytics Cross Domain Tracking Explained Like Never Before
  32. Google Analytics Social Tracking – Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn
  33. Setting up & Tracking AMP Pages in Google Analytics
  34. Setting up Sales Funnel across websites in Google Analytics
  35. Using Data Visualization to analyze the SEO Performance
  36. Tracking offline conversions in Google Adwords
  37. How to Correctly Measure Conversion Date & Time in Google Analytics
  38. Tracking Twitter and Linkedin Social Interactions in Google Analytics
  39. Implementing Scroll Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  40. Phone Call Tracking and ROI calculations – Champion’s Guide
  41. Google Analytics Cross Domain Tracking (ga.js)
  42. Open Graph Protocol for Facebook Explained with Examples
  43. How to Exclude URL Query Parameters in Google Analytics?
  44. Understanding Google Analytics Default Page Setting
  45. Implementing rollup reporting in Google Analytics
 

What is the difference between Digital Analytics and Google Analytics?


99.99% of course creators themselves don’t know the difference between Digital analytics, Google Analytics (GA) and Google Tag Manager (GTM).

So they are teaching GA and GTM in the name of teaching Digital analytics.

They just copy each other. Monkey see, monkey do.

But Digital analytics is not about GA, GTM.

It is about analyzing and interpreting data, setting up goals, strategies and KPIs.

It’s about creating strategic roadmap for your business.


Digital Analytics is the core skill. Google Analytics is just a tool used to implement ‘Digital Analytics’.

You can also implement ‘Digital analytics’ via other tools like ‘adobe analytics’, ‘kissmetrics’ etc.

Using Google Analytics without the good understanding of ‘Digital analytics’ is like driving around in a car, in a big city without understanding the traffic rules and road signs.

You are either likely to end up somewhere other than your destination or you get involved in an accident.


You learn data analysis and interpretation from Digital analytics and not from Google Analytics.

The direction in which your analysis will move, will determine the direction in which your marketing campaigns and eventually your company will move to get the highest possible return on investment.

You get that direction from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.


You learn to set up KPIs, strategies and measurement framework for your business from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.

So if you are taking a course only on 'Digital Analytics’, you are learning to use one of the tools of ‘Digital analytics’. You are not learning the ‘Digital analytics’ itself.

Since any person can learn to use Google Analytics in couple of weeks, you do no get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing GA.

You need to know lot more than GA in order to work in digital analytics and marketing field.


So what I have done, if you are interested, is I have put together a completely free training that will teach you exactly how I have been able to leverage digital analytics to generate floods of news sales and customers and how you can literally copy what I have done to get similar results.

You can sign up for the free training here: https://learn.optimizesmart.com/registration-web-class

I truly hope you find it helpful.  

My best selling books on Digital Analytics and Conversion Optimization

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

Attribution Modelling in Google Ads and Facebook
This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling in Google Ads (Google AdWords) and Facebook. It will teach you, how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to understand the customer purchasing journey and determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

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 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 which 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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