One of the many great features of Google Analytics is that it can shown the search terms that visitors to your site have used in search engines. This is a great tool for finding out what brings users to your repository.
Seven months ago Google launched a new feature in Google Analytics that also allows you to track the search terms used by visitors within your repository. Its very easy to set up, all you need to do is enable the feature and set the query parameter used by your repository. Follow these rules from the help pages:
- Log in to your Google Analytics account.
- Click ‘Edit’ under Website Profiles for the profile you would like to enable Site Search for.
- Click ‘Edit’ from the ‘Main Website Profile Information’ section of the Profile Settings page.
- Select the ‘Do Track Site Search’ radio button in the Site Search section of the Edit Profile Information page.
- Enter your ‘Query Parameter’ in the field provided. Please enter only the word or words that designate an internal query parameter such as “term,search,query”. Sometimes the word is just a letter, such as “s” or “q”. You may provide up to five parameters, separated by a comma.
- Select whether or not you want Google Analytics to strip out the query parameter from your URL. Please note that this will only strip out the parameters you provided, and not any other parameters in the same URL. This has the same functionality as excluding URL Query Parameters in your Main Profile – if you strip the query parameters from your Site Search Profile, you don’t have to exclude them again from your Main Profile.
To view the results, follow the links shown in the image (Content -> SIte Search) and explore the results.
Here is some interesting statistics from our repository as an example of the extra stats it can provide:
- 89% of visits did not make use of a a site search, whilst the remaining 11% did.
- 39% of search users left the system having performed the search without going any further (e.g. looking at one of the items found by the search)
- 22% of searchers resulted in search refinements being undertaken by the searcher
- 50% of searches were performed from the repository homepage, the remaining from item, collection and community pages.
- Following a search, the average visitor stayed on the site for a further 1 minute and 30 seconds.
- 8% of searches were performed without the visitor having entered a search term.