Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics with 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 GET based search engine.

It is important to remember that the site search tracking does not come pre-installed in Google Analytics. You need to manually set it up, in your reporting view.

Before you set up site search tracking, you need to know, how the search engine set up on your website works and how it sends search information (search query parameter, category parameter, search terms, etc) from a user’s web browser to your web server.

If your website is using a GET based search engine then follow the steps below to set up site search tracking in Google Analytics:

Step-1: Navigate to your website and then perform a search.

Step-2: Identify and note down the search query parameter and/or category parameter (if any) from your search URL:

If you do not see the search query/category parameter in your search URL then maybe you are using a POST based search engine on your website. Contact your web developer, if you can’t identify the search query and/or category parameters.

Note: Some websites can have multiple search query parameters. If you have got such a website then you would need to find and note down all such parameters.

Get the E-book (52 Pages)

Get the E-Book (37 Pages)

 

Step-3: Login to your Google Analytics account and then navigate to the view in which you want to set up site search tracking.

Note: The site search tracking is set up at the view level and not at the property level.

Step-4: In your view, navigate to ‘Admin’ and then click on ‘view settings’:

Step-5: Under ‘Site Search Settings’, set ‘Site Search Tracking’ toggle button to ON:

Step-6: Enter your query parameter in the text box under ‘Query Parameter’:

If your website uses multiple query parameters then you can enter up to 5 query parameters, each separated by comma like the one below:

If you do not want the query parameters to appear in your search page URL in the GA reports then select the checkbox ‘Strip query parameters out of URL’:

Note: When you strip the query parameter from your search page URL, it also strips the search terms associated with the query parameter from the URL:

Note: When you strip the query parameter from your search page URL, no non-search query parameter is stripped from the search page URL.

Step-7: If your website uses search categories then set the ‘Site Search Categories’ toggle button to ON and enter the category parameter:

If you do not want the category parameter to appear in your search page URL in the GA reports then select the checkbox ‘Strip category parameters out of URL’:

When you strip the category parameter from your search page URL, it also strips the category name associated with the category parameter from the URL.

However, no non-category parameter is stripped from the search page URL.

Please bear in mind that stripping query/category parameters from the search page URL could have different effects on different websites. It all depends upon how your website has been set up for internal site search.

So test your search page URL after stripping query/category parameters and before making this change permanent.

Step-8: Click on the ‘save’ button.

Step-9: Perform a couple of searches on your website and then wait for 10 or so minutes.

Step-10: In your GA view (where you set up the site search tracking) set the date range to ‘today’.

Step-11: Now navigate to ‘Behavior’ > Site Search > Search Terms report:

If you see search terms listed in the ‘Search Terms’ report then it means your site search tracking is working:

If your website also uses search categories then click on the ‘site search category’ link to see the search category data:

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

   

EXCLUSIVE FREE TRAINING REVEALS....

"How to use Digital Analytics to generate floods of new Sales and Customers without spending years figuring everything out on your own."


(even if you are completely new to analytics)


Here’s what we’re going to cover…

#1 Why digital analytics is the key to online business success.

​#2 The number 1 reason why most marketers are not able to scale their advertising and maximize sales.

#3 Why Google and Facebook ads don’t work for most businesses & how to make them work.

#4 ​Why you won’t get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing Google Analytics.

​#5 The number 1 reason why conversion optimization is not working for your business.

​#6 How to advertise on any marketing platform for FREE with an unlimited budget.

​#7 How to learn and master digital analytics and conversion optimization in record time.

 
   

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 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:

error: Alert: Content is protected !!