Many of the website analytics we use tell us quantitative things – how many people are visiting our blogs, what they read, how much the read, and on and on. However that's only 50% of what we need to know to make our blogs more effective business tools. The other 50%? Qualitative data.
Qualitative data tells us the why, which isn't always easy to figure out. One step in the right direction is using Google Site Search inside of Google Analytics.
Google Site Search tracks what people are searching for on our sites. And not only that, it can tell us if they didn't find what they were looking for with their first query! That's rock your socks off kind of stuff.
This helps me (and you once you enable this) to better understand exactly what information people are looking for. It's actionable information! Once you know what people are really trying to find you can make it more predominant either in the navigation or a sidebar. Makes my wet toes tingle.
Now I know that there are some online marketers telling you to get rid of your search box. There are valid reasons for that. However knowing what people really want to know on your site is much more valuable than simply what they did see.
This is insight you need to have.
How to get it? Log in to your Google Analytics account and follow the two simple steps below.
Step 1 – Edit Your Profile
- Select your website
- Click the Admin button in the top right
- Select the Profile Settings tab
Step 2 – Set Up Site Search
If you're using WordPress this is easy peasy. Scroll down and you'll see the Site Search Settings section. Do the following:
- Select Do track Site Search
- Enter in “s” for the query parameter -only the letter, not the quotation marks
Here's a nifty image that shows you what to do:
Step 3 – Wait For The Awesome
This is perhaps the least fun part. From what I've seen Google Analytics won't go backwards in time – this setting, which is NOT on by default, is a this point forward kind of thing. So, put your search box in the widget area of your site and get those insights!
Do You Use Google Site Search?
Have you been using site search on your blog or website (or both)? Has it helped you gain more insight into what your visitors are really looking for? Or are you one of those folks who took the search box off of their site?
Let's talk about all that in the comments below. See you there!