Here at Nomad, we are very interested in our clients’ data. After all, it’s this data that helps us make informed decisions on how best to apply your marketing dollars to reap the greatest return. When we can better understand the needs of the visitors and recognize what they are looking for, we can tailor content and advertisements towards them directly, making connections and converting them to a defined smart goal. When it comes to identifying the interests of site visitors, there’s one simple way to get a better understanding of the purpose of their stay through Google Analytics: the search bar.
Billions of keyword searches are happening around the globe daily. When it comes to finding the keywords that drove traffic to your site, that’s a bit difficult. Google encrypts all search terms on their engine, which results in the dreaded “(not provided)” value in analytics. In this case, you can use the landing page, or entrance page, that visitors arrive at to extrapolate some idea of what keywords people might be using to find your site. Not exactly precise.
But, if you have a search function on your site (typically through a CSE, or custom search engine) and use Google Analytics, there’s a quick solution you can make to see what’s called internal keywords.
Every time a visitor uses the search function on your site, they are providing insight into their purpose. This is data you should be using. Configuring Analytics to capture, store, and display this information in your monthly or quarterly reports is easy and has immeasurable value.
Let’s run through the process:
The first step is to login to your Google Analytics account and navigate to the Admin section – the link is located at the bottom left of your screen. From there, you’ll want to choose the ‘View’ in the third column that you’d like to collect this information under. For most businesses, there’s probably only one default view.
Once there, you’ll want to select the first option, ‘View Setting’.
Next, scroll down until you see a section called “Site Search Settings.” Below, you’ll see a toggle button to activate your site search function; click it. And lastly, you’ll want to identify the search query value being used. This tends to be a simple character, like ‘s’ or, as in the example below, ‘q’. It could also be a word, like ‘search.’ The query value is what is between the ampersand and the equal symbol. (Here’s a bit more info on finding your query parameter)
That’s it! Your reporting will now start to include internal site searches and you’ll start to get even more insight on what is important to your visitors. If you get stuck and need some help, give us a shout!
Why is this important to you? This data can help you find out what people are interested in the most, what services or products might be hard to find on your site, or search terms that you can then apply to a pay-per-click campaign to generate more traffic or use in SEO efforts.