Taking Advantage of the Site Search Report

I don’t have to explain why having a search bar is an important tool for users browsing your site. One thing you may not know about, however, is how a search bar can benefit your understanding of users and their site experience.

While most Google Analytics pros will be well versed with this report, I think it’s important to sometimes return to the basics. The site search report can give you valuable user insights based on how people search on your site, what they’re looking for and what outcomes result from searches.

While insights are interesting, you may ask yourself, “what good are insights if I don’t know what actions can results from this information?” Well, you’re in luck because site search reports provide a myriad of valuable and actionable insights including but not limited to:

  • Landing Page Optimization: If people search for a specific keyword enough, it may be worthwhile to build out a landing page to shorten the conversion funnel.
  • Keyword Expansions: Much like the above bullet, if terms or categories are search enough, it may be worth a keyword expansion in your AdWords campaign.
  • Ad Copy Testing: Use site search terms to optimize your ad copy. Test against your “evergreen” copy to see if it increases quality score or conversion rate.
  • Improve Funnel Drop Off:  You may discover that website users often drop off when searching certain terms or categories. This may be due to a wide variety of reasons ranging from a broken page to users simply not being satisfied with the results that are returned. Either way, it allows you to diagnose your site navigation and overall user experience.


Site search is standard feature in Google Analytics, but it must be enabled. Here is a step-by-step guide to implementing the site search report.

  1. Click the Admin tab located on the top of the page.
  2. On the right hand column, the view column, click on the “view settings” link.
  3. Scroll down until you see the “Site Search Settings” section and enable Site search tracking.
  4. After you enable site search tracking, enter the internal query parameter that denotes an internal search.
  5. Click “Apply”

For more information on implementing site search tracking, see Google’s help center here.

Sherveen Shingu About the author
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