Why You Should Turn On Google Analytics Site Search Today

Linda Bustos

November 26th, 2007

Google Analytics recently introduced an internal site search feature to its already kick-ass free stats program -- aptly named "Site Search."

This tool works with your existing site search and is invaluable to ecommerce marketers as it gives you so much insight into customer intent and your website's success at delivering results. For example, you can use search log data to discover:

  • What keywords people search for - what's hot and what do they want that you don't carry
  • What search refinements are made, indicating possible "Results Not Found" messages or unsatisfactory results
  • What pages the searches were made from, and where users clicked to

The next 30 days is when this information will be crucial. Customers can't buy what they can't find. Maybe you only use the term "notebook computer case" and your customers search for "laptop bags." You can tweak your product pages and search engine for the various ways customers describe your product until the right pages show up when you test your site.

You can also decide which products to feature on your home page, your ecommerce blog and email campaigns based on customer demand.

Product searches for brands, models and colors that you don't carry can also give you an idea of what to add to your store in the future.

Site Search is disabled by default, but Google Help has a great explanation of how to enable Site Search.

It takes a few hours to start seeing data but once you're up and running, you'll be able to navigate through the new features from the left hand menu:

Your Site Search Overview will show you important metrics like % of visits that use site search, % search exits, % search refinements and # of unique searches and more:

You can also play around with Site Usage, Goal Conversion and Ecommerce Revenue reporting:

Site Search works with whatever internal search engine you're using. If you don't have internal site search (I'm assuming all ecommerce sites do and if you don't, what are you thinking?!) Google also offers a free or paid Custom Search Engine product.

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Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.