What are people searching for on your website?

Do you know how to find out what people are looking for once they’re on your website?

Today’s tip is how to use Google Analytics to give you the answer.

Firstly, you’ll need to have a search facility on your site, and you’ll need to know what parameters appear in the url of your website when someone does a search. The easiest way to find out is to go to your website and do a search yourself, then look at the url of the results. On my WordPress websites the query parameter is usually s, and it appears after the domain name like /?s=

Next we need to make sure you’ve got SIte Search set up in Google Analytics.

Open Google Analytics, Click on ADMIN in the left hand panel and navigate to the View (probably the website domain) that you want to set up site search for. Select View Settings.

Under SIte Search Settings, on the right, set Site Search Tracking to ON.

In the Query Parameter field enter the letter or word used in your url when you performed the search. Just put the word or letter not the = sign.

If you’ve only just turned on site search tracking that you’re going to have to be a little patient whilst data is collected. You’ll start to see the reports appear under BEHAVIOUR and then Site Search.

You’ll be able to see what % of your visitors used your site search facility and if they did, whether they found what they were looking for and read the content on your site, refined their search or whether they exited.

And why is this useful?

Every time a user performs a search on your website they tell you in their own words what they were looking for, and this can be helpful when writing new content.

Seeing what pages people are on when they perform a search may provide a clue as to where you need to provide extra, or more specific, information.

If you’re a little impatient to see the results before anything has populated on the special Site Search report then in the meantime you can go to the report BEHAVIOUR, Site Content, All Pages and perform a search for your query parameter e.g. ?s= and you’ll see past metrics for urls containing this search term and this will contain the phrases they searched for.