Most webmasters I know use Google Analytics to track their websites. It’s a great tool for tracking visitors, page views, and referals to a website. However, from my experience, most webmasters only use about 1/10th of the great, powerful features that are available on Google Analytics.
It varies from website to website, but on average, about 20% of visits to a website are said to make use of an internal site search engine. WordPress actually provides good internal site search engine itself. Now, wouldn’t it be interesting to know what people search for when they come to your website? With Google Analytics, it’s quite simple to set this up. Here’s how you do it.
Inside of your Google account, edit the profile of the WordPress site that you want to setup. You’ll see a subheading called ‘Site Search’. Under there, click the radio button for the option ‘Do Track Site Search’. Next, you see a required field ‘Query Parameter (required):’. In here,
just type the single lowercase letter ‘s’.
This is the most important setting. For the current version of WordPress, after you’ve performed a search, you’ll see an URL in your browser address bar that looks like this:
The lowercase ‘s’ is the query parameter used to represent the search string on the site search.
The next setting is optional – ‘Yes, strip query parameters out of URL [?]‘. I prefer to select ‘Yes’, because it Analytics otherwise treats pages with a query string as a different page on the ‘Top Content’ report.
The default WordPress search engine does not use categories, so you can just leave ‘Do you use categories for site search?’ set to no.
After you saved this, wait about 24 hours, and you should start to see results showing up. The amount of data is quite deep and actionable. In addition to the actual keywords people are searching, and the pages that people are searching from, you’ll see some summary data like this: