Data, Digital Marketing

How to Track Your Site’s Search in Google Analytics

It’s easy to find out what people are searching for on your site and yet many people don’t track internal search in Google Analytics. How people are using your site (successfully and unsuccessfully) is something you should be thinking about a lot and there’s little point in thinking about things without some data to work with.

At Optix we use internal search data to inform:

  • Our UX plan – What are people looking for and not finding? Do we need to sign post things better?
  • Our Content marketing plan – What questions aren’t we answering?
  • Our Search marketing plan – What terminology do our users actually use?
  • Our CRO plan – What information do people want before they will convert?


5 Step Setup Plan

Here’s how you set it up in Google Analytics:

  1. Go to your site and do a search, look at the URL. It’ll probably say something like
  2. Make a note of the bit before the words you searched for, this is the query parameter. Ignore things like “?” or “&”. In the above example you’re looking for “s”.
  3. In Google Analytics go to Admin > View Settings.
  4. In the section called Site Search Settings turn the function on and put in the query parameter.
  5. Click Save and you’re done. You won’t get historical data but it will start tracking once you put it in.




To see the results go to the normal GA dashboard and click on Behavior > Site Search > Overview. Here you’ll see what people have searched for as well as other data such as what page they found, how long they spent on it and so on. If you need any help setting this up drop me a line on Twitter and I’ll try and help.