How To Set-Up Google Analytics Site Search Tracking

How To Set-Up Google Analytics Site Search Tracking

By David Bird

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.