13 Jan

How To Set-Up Google Analytics Site Search Tracking

Google Analytics’ Site Search Tracking is an invaluable tool that gives you greater insight into what people are looking for when they come to your website.

It does that by tracking what people type in your site’s search box.

You can use it to get ideas for new keywords to target or topics for content and blog post, or just to learn more about what people want from your website.

Setting it up takes only a few minutes.

This post provides you a written reference of the set up steps.  There is also a “Google Analytics Site Search” how to video to see the whole set up.

Setting up Google Analytics Site Search Tracking

  1. Login in to Google Analytics, and click the Admin





2.  In the VIEW column, click “View Settings” (1st item)





3.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and find the “Site Search Tracking” option


4.  Yours will probably be in the “off” position.  Click the button to turn it “on” and the Site Search Settings menu will open up.










The key field here is the “Site Search Query”.  Google Analytics needs this to know when a search is being done on your website.

Finding Your Site Search Query is Easy

Open another tab in your browser and go to your website.

In your search box enter a term, anything will work.  In the example below I have entered a search for “Pay per click advertising”:













Look at the URL bar at the very top of your browser window and find the letter that comes immediately after the question mark in the URL address. That letter is your site search query parameter. In this example, the letter is an “s”.









Go back to your Google Analytics browser tab and type that letter into the Query parameter box.








Click Save – Your Site Search set up in complete!

To View Site Search Results in Google Analytics

After a few weeks you will want to look at your Site Search Data.  Here’s how you do it:

Click “Reporting” in the Google Analytics top navigation menu.

On the left navigation panel, click “Behavior” and the click “Site Search”








Browse your results, paying particular attention to the most frequently used search terms – these may be terrific SEO keywords, blog ideas, or indicate navigation problems your users are having.




02 Aug

How to Use AdWords Ad Preview Tool

Without Wrecking Your CTR…..

Every time you look at your ads in a Google search you risk damaging your own Google AdWords click through rate (CTR) performance.  CTR is an important ad ranking criteria and a high CTR can your ad a rankings edge.  The previous post, Stop Damaging your AdWords CTR describes why CTR is important and how searching your own ads damages yours.

Here’s how you can see your ad without harming your CTR.

Navigate to the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

To preview your ad you have to get to the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool.  There are two ways to get to there:

  1. Tools menu (in the top navigation) Or,
  2. Bubble in the keyword status

Here are the instructions for using both methods:

Tools Menu in the Top Navigation

From any AdWords screens go to the top navigation and click “Tools”.  From the drop down menu select “Ad Preview and Diagnosis”

Google AdWords Tools Menu to Reach Ad Preview

Bubble In the Keyword Status

This is convenient when you are already in the Keyword or Ads tab.

Choose the campaign you want. This takes you to the Ad Group screen where you will select the Ad Group you are investigating. Make sure you are on the Keywords tab.

Google AdWords Keyword Status Bubble

Find the “Status” column and hover your mouse over the “speech” bubble for any of the keywords.  The bubble opens up and shows your ad status.  At the very bottom of the bubble, click “Ad Preview & Diagnosis”.

AdWords Keyword Bubble to get you to Ad Preview

Using the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

Once inside the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool you will need to do three things to preview your ad:

  1. Insert your target location – Enter the specific location you want to check; a country, state / province, city, etc.
  2. Insert your target keyword you want to be found for. Alternatively, if you came from the keyword tab, your term may already be entered.
  3. Click the blue preview button

Google AdWords Ad Preview Screen - Insert location, and keyword

If your ad is showing it will appear exactly how it looks in a search results page.  If your ad has the top ranking it will be first, if it’s ranked second, it will be second and so on.

Google AdWords Ad Preview when your ad is showing on Google Search Results

If your ad is not showing the screen will have a message that it is currently not showing.  Your ad not showing could be a function of the keyword, the location, etc.  There are links provided how to investigate.

Sample screen of Google AdWords Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool when ad is not showing in search.

Ad Preview Tool Does Not Wreck Your CTR

By using the Ad Preview tool you see exactly how your advertisement looks without having impacting your ad ranking and click through rate.  Let your competitor do keyword searches to see their own ads and drive down their CTR it helps you rank better.

28 Jun

How to Configure Goals In Google Analytics

Without configuring goals in Google Analytics, it’s almost impossible to determine which marketing activities benefit your business the most.

Google Analytics goals are the actions you want people to take while on your website. Some examples include: make a purchase, complete a lead form, subscribe to your email list, etc.

It is valuable to configure goals in Google Analytics is valuable because your data is organized empowering you to evaluate your marketing programs.

Here’s a step by step demonstration video how configure goals in your Google Analytics.

How to Configure Goals in Google Analytics

If you would like the step by step written How to Configure Goals in Google Analytics sign up for my mailing list:

This article was previously published on Linked In Pulse.

14 Jun

How to Choose Your Google Analytics Goals

Graphic-GoalsA Guide to Choose Google Analytics Goals

If you have never set up goals in Google Analytics, these guidelines will make it easy and get your started.

Making Four Simple Goals

Start by making a list of four things you want your website visitors to do:

  • One should be directly attached to revenue, like making a purchase (donation for not for profit), or completing a website lead form. This will be your event or destination goal in the table below.
  • One should require a lower level of commitment, like subscribing to a newsletter, following you on social media, downloading a white paper, etc. This will also be an event or destination goal in the table below.
  • Two should measure the engagement with your website. You’ll want to know things like how long visitors spend on the site (duration goal in the table below), and how many pages people view while on the site (pages per session goal in the table below).

Beware of vague goals

Vague goals like “brand engagement” don’t work. You need to make sure you goals can be quantifiable, such as how much time people spent on the website or how many pages they looked at.

Start small

The old adage “walk before you run” says master walking first because if you fall while running you’ll hurt yourself.

With Google Analytics, start small so you don’t get overwhelmed by a deluge of data.

That’s why I suggest you start with four, or even just three goals. Get used to reading and using the data from those goals. When you feel confident, you can expand with more goals.


This post is an excerpt from a longer post: Directing Your Marketing with Google Analytics Goals

24 May

How to Set up Site Search in Google Analytics: Video Tutorial

Previous posts have demonstrated why you should configure site search in Google Analytics.  Fore example, it is a great source of new source of SEO keywords, content, and even find where users struggle with site navigation.

It’s quick and simple to Configure Site Search Tracking in Google Analytics .

Here’s a step by step demonstration video:

How to Configure Site Search in Google Analytics

If you want written step by step set up instructions with screenshots take a look at this post.