Find Out What your Readers are Searching for on your Site

Search Analytics Data

Being able to see what your users are searching for is very useful, because it allows you to identify:

  • Topics your readers are most interested in reading.
  • Better internal linking opportunities between relevant articles.
  • Topics that are partially discussed elsewhere but that readers want more information on.

These allow you to put a finger on the pulse of your readers and see areas where you’re not providing what they want to read.

If you’re using Google Analytics, which you probably are, monitoring these searches is really quite easy.

Configuring Google Analytics

Head over to Google Analytics and select your website’s profile. Now click on the Admin tab in the top right, and then go to Profile Settings.

Profile Settings

If you scroll down to the bottom of that page, you’ll find a section entitled Site Search Settings. Because Google Analytics tracks every page loaded on your site, it can identify which pages are search pages, if you just tell it what query var your site uses to identify search terms. For WordPress, it’s simply “s”. So, you’ll notice that if you search for something on your site, such as multisite, the URL of the results page will look something like

So, in the Google Analytics settings, turn Site Search tracking on and enter s as the query parameter. That’s it.

Site Search settings

Now, after a few days, once Analytics has started recording the data, you can go to Reporting > Content > Site Search > Overview to get a feel for how many people are using search on your site, and what people are searching for, to allow you to better tailor your content to their needs.

Search Analytics Data

4 thoughts on “Find Out What your Readers are Searching for on your Site”

  1. Simone80an says:

    Hello Dave,

    nice article. And if i use Google Custom Search instead of default WordPress search?

    1. It appears that if you’re using Google Custom Search, the parameter is q instead of s. I tested it on your site and confirmed that the query parameter on the search results page for my search term was q, not s. This is consistent the Google’s own search engine, so that makes sense.

      1. Simone80an says:

        Great! ok i will try with q too

  2. Glenn says:

    Just few months back I had discovered this feature of analytics and implemented it on my website and it really gives good insight on whats happening on the site.

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