How your site search improves insights about visitors

Blog #1: how to measure your site search

As you have noticed, Google doesn’t send you the search queries anymore. The (not provided)-items are growing and you don’t have a clue what your visitors are looking for anymore. Of course you can get some information while browsing through you visited pages, but do they really tell what you want to know? Since it only shows what people found, not what they were looking for.

This is where your search bar comes in. The visitors that can’t find the products they are looking for by browsing your site structure will be using it. A lot. And these are the people that are really interesting, since they have a large intent to buy your products. Up to five times more!

Two main reasons where your search bar helps you getting sales up:

  1. a good site search will get your customers where they want to be: right at the products they want to buy, and
  2. a site search can provide you with the information you don’t get anymore from Google. By adding your search functionality to Google Analytics you can have a great insight of what people on your site are looking for. Next to that you need a function for the ‘no results’-queries: the products people are looking for, but cannot find by searching with your site search.

So, what needs to be done to add your site search to Google Analytics and how can you measure the ‘no results’.

Add your search queries to Google Analytics

Step 1: Make sure your site search function sends the query parameter to Analytics.

When you click a result after a search your URL should be something like this:
http://www.mywebshop.com/flowers/red-rose?q=rose
Where ‘q’ is the name of your query parameter, ‘rose’ is the value.

Step 2:  Check if the query parameter is added to your Google Analytics

    • Log in to your Analytics Account.
    • On the top pick ‘Admin’. Under ‘view’ make sure you have the right view and click on ‘View Settings’.
    • Scroll down to ‘Site Search Settings’.
    • Is ‘Site search Tracking’ ON? If not: turn it on.
    • At ‘Query Parameter’ add the query parameter you found in Step 1. Remember: this can be different from ‘q’, for Sooqr we always use ‘sqr’.
    • Click ‘Done’

As from now your site search information will be within your Google Analytics.

What about queries that could NOT be found?

Now you know what people are looking for and CAN be found. But what about products the people are searching for but cannot be found? Like products you name differently then your visitors (bike – bicycle) or products you just don’t have in your inventory? There is just no way of getting this in your Analytics. Sorry. So therefore we built it in our Sooqr functionality, as did (and should have) most of our colleagues.

September 2014: Blog #2: What insights can Google give me regarding to my site search?

October 2014: Blog #3: How do I use my ‘no-results’-queries to get better results

Author: Erik Keegstra - at Google+