Whatever your capacity in online marketing you need to know how many people are visiting your website, how they’re finding you and how long they’re staying. All of these metrics and more are necessary to improve your organic search performance.

Google Analytics is the perfect tool to record these details, all of which will help you gain a better insight into the average user journey on your website and allow for effective, impactful improvements to your design and content. 

Though Google Analytics is great out of the box, it has many ‘hidden’ features which, when activated, help you gain additional insight into the user journey. One of these features is site search tracking, which shows you exactly what people are using the search function for on your website to help you tweak and improve your site content. 

In this article we’re going to provide you with a step-by-step guide to enabling site search tracking in Google Analytics so that even a layman can start recording what visitors are using the search function for on their website.


Step 1

As with all Google products, we’ll need to login before we can do anything, so, firstly, go to https://analytics.google.com/ and log in to the account that you’d like to analyse search tracking on.  Now you’ve logged into the account you’d like to add search tracking to, look at the left-hand pane of Google Analytics for the “Admin” option and select it:


Once there you’ll be greeted with a new screen of options, within this screen we need to click ‘View Settings’ which can be found in the top right corner under the view column:


Step 2

From here on in it’s just a case of ticking a few boxes.

Scroll down until you find “Site Search Settings” and turn it on:


Selecting site search tracking will open a new field prompting you to input your website’s search query parameter.  A query parameter is simply a part of your URL that helps to define actions or behaviour of the information being submitted.


If you’re using WordPress, the query parameter in the search URL that you’re looking for is most likely “s”.

The query parameter in the URL will immediately follow the question mark, so for example if your URL looked like this:


Then “xyz” would be your query parameter.


Step 3

Make sure to tick, “Strip query parameters out of URL.”

If this box remains unticked, it can lead to skewed tracking for each of the search pages visited, listing them as their own individual listings.






You can avoid this by simply selecting the “Strip query parameters out of URL” option mentioned above, Google will still track internal searches, it will just attribute them to a single results page.


Step 4

Save your changes, we’re done!


Now, to access site search reports go to Behavior > Site Search > Overview


You’re now able to record the search terms that users are actively scouring your website to find which can help you to mould the website’s user experience for the better.


Users searching your website for a product or service that you don’t offer? Bank it, or start prospecting respectable affiliates!  If it’s feasible for you to sub out or offer a certain product or service and the user is looking for information that currently isn’t present on the website – create content surrounding the topic.


User metrics are an important part of Google’s algorithm, keeping a user engaged and interacting with your website, not only increases your chance of conversion, but also presents to Google a case that your website is providing its users with the product/service/information they were looking for when initially using the Google search engine, hence your website’s relevance to the query which reflects positively in terms of SEO.


Beginning to understand exactly what users search your site for is an important tool in any webmasters, or digital marketers, arsenal for helping to improve user experience. This information can also feedback to the important tweaks you make to the site, offering fresh information for users and search engines to keep coming back.  Now, you can start to analyse the search data wisely, amend the website accordingly and finally; reap the rewards.


While we hope you find this guide easy to follow, if you have any difficulty or would simply prefer someone with more experience to manage this on your behalf, we are of course here to help you. Our team can offer the insights and expertise to shape your content marketing strategy to grow your reach and, ultimately, ROI. Get in touch to start elevating your marketing efforts. 

Get in touch today to find out how we can help:+44 (0) 161 941 5330


Increase your online visibility

Call us on: +44 (0) 161 941 5330 or email us: info@firstinternet.co.uk

Get in touch today!