Google Analytics Site Search Tracking via 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 Google Analytics site search tracking via query parameters:

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.

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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’:

google analytics site search

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

Other articles on specialized tracking in Google Analytics

  1. Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking Tutorial
  2. Google Tag Manager Event Tracking Tutorial
  3. Google Analytics Event Tracking Tutorial
  4. Google Analytics Store Visits Tracking Tutorial
  5. Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  6. Ecommerce Tracking Google Tag Manager (GTM) – Tutorial
  7. Tracking Virtual Pageviews in Google Tag Manager – Tutorial
  8. Google Tag Manager YouTube Video Tracking
  9. How to unlock not provided keywords in Google Analytics?
  10. Google Analytics Virtual Pageviews Tutorial
  11. Google Analytics and YouTube Integration Tutorial
  12. Google Analytics for Facebook Tutorial
  13. Cross Domain Tracking in Google Analytics – Complete Guide
  14. How to use two Google Analytics codes on one page
  15. The one thing that you don’t know about PayPal.com and the referral exclusion list
  16. Google Analytics Calculated Metrics – Tutorial
  17. Creating your own Google Analytics Tag Auditing System
  18. Google Tag Manager Search Tracking without Query Parameter
  19. Tracking Google Analytics Paypal Referral and other payment gateways
  20. How to Track Phone Calls in Google Analytics – Call Tracking Tutorial
  21. How to track leads in Google Analytics via CRM
  22. Postbacks in Google Analytics Explained
  23. Subscription & Recurring Revenue Analytics in Google Analytics
  24. Track the Impact of Google Analytics Cookie Consent on Website Traffic
  25. Tracking Offline Conversions in Google Ads
  26. Implementing Scroll Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  27. Scroll Depth Tracking in Google Tag Manager – Tutorial
  28. Site Search Tracking In Google Analytics Without Query Parameters
  29. Google Tag Manager Youtube Video Tracking via YouTube Video Trigger
  30. How to Correctly Measure Conversion Date & Time in Google Analytics
  31. Google Analytics Social Tracking – Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn
  32. Cross Domain Tracking in Google Analytics – Complete Guide
  33. Google Analytics Linkedin & Twitter Tracking
  34. Creating Content Group in Google Analytics via tracking code using gtag.js
  35. Google Analytics Site Search Tracking Tutorial
  36. Creating and Using Site Search Funnel in Google Analytics
  37. Learn to Setup Facebook Pixel Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  38. AMP Google Analytics Tracking – Learn to track AMP pages
  39. Setting up Sales Funnel across websites in Google Analytics
  40. Regex Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager – Tutorial

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