What Do People Search For On Your Blog? Find Out With Google Analytics

A few months ago, I went to a friend’s blog to search for a great post he had written and I had previously left a comment on. I wanted to add a link to his article in a new blog post I was working on because I knew that the information in his post would be valuable to my blog readers. It’s also a great idea, in terms of SEO, to link out to high quality content in each one of your blog posts.Google Analytics Site Search

Well, a funny thing happened.

I tried to find the search box on his blog so I could look for the article.

But I didn’t see one.

He removed the search box on his blog.

Can you imagine that?

How Will They Find It?

Personally, I don’t think it’s such a great idea to remove the search box from your blog. I mean after all the time and effort you put in to providing great content and helping people navigate your blog to find answers and solutions for their problems, why in Heaven’s Name would you take down the search box??

It’s vital to the success of  your blog for you to display a search box and it’s also important that you enable Site Search in Google Analytics so that you will learn what people search for on your site.

Recommended Reading: Quick and Dirty Guide to Using a Google Analytics Custom Dashboard

I also recommend that you use a Google Custom Search simply because the default WordPress search is pretty lame.

How To Set Up Site Search in Google Analytics

Got any questions about setting up Google Site Search on your blog? Let me know in the comments and here’s more info and a blow-by-blow transcript of the video tutorial.

Hi, I’m Ileane from Basic Blog Tips
And this video you’ll learn how to set up Site Search in Google Analytics so that you can have insights into what people are searching for on your blog.

Now before we go into our Google Analytics settings the first thing you’re going to need is the search parameter on your blog. So go to the search box type in a query. In this case I typed in Google Analytics and up at the top of your browser in this case we’re on Google Chrome so this is considered the Omni box.

You’re going to look for “q =” and that search term. 

Query Parameter q

Now this might say s= or it could say “search=”

WordPress Search parameter s
but whatever is in front of that equal sign that is your query parameter so write that down in this case it’s “q” I think I can remember that.

Now we’re in the Admin area of Google Analytics and you’re going to go all the way down into the profile area so here’s the Account – here’s the Property but in this case we’re going to change the settings in our Profile.

In your Profile area you’re going to scroll down to the box that says Site Search Settings you’re gonna click on “Do track Site Search” and you’ll put whatever your search query parameter is in that box and then don’t forget to save your settings.

Do Track Site Search

Now this is all going to make some sense because you’re going to come over into the reporting area of Google Analytics. You go to the Content Reports then you’re gonna go into Site Search and reports I think are really important that you’ll find some insightful information are the Search Terms. So here’s a list of the things that people have come to my blog and they search for.

So of course I am totally surprised by this you know my blog focuses on blogging tips, social media and YouTube but people are searching for Android. That could be because I have some popular posts that talk about iPhones and how to blog on your iPhone
so I guess people are saying “well she’s got some iPhone posts maybe she’s got Android information”.

And that’s reinforced because I also see that they’re searching for Android apps. In any event, there’s one more thing that I want you to do so you can get a little bit more insight out of that report. You want to know where this traffic is coming from so you’re gonna turn on a Secondary Dimension > Traffic sources and then > Source.

That’s gonna really tell you something because you’re gonna know if these people were already on your blog, if they came from – in this case someone came from Google they got on my blog and they searched for YouTube or it could have been direct traffic meaning that the person was already on my blog and then they did the search.

Some came from my other blog some came from YouTube, Facebook Google+ – Okay so now you’re starting to get an idea
of what people are searching for. Now how can this help you?

Number one it can help you with content ideas.

Like I said I know I have posts on my blog about iPhone so maybe I should start writing some posts about Android.

As long as it’s related to blogging and social media it’s a perfect fit for my blog the same way with the Digg Digg plugin I already have a post on that topic. So I know that the content that I’m creating these people are coming to the blog they’re finding what they’re looking for and, hence building more targeted traffic on the blog.

So that’s how you set up Site Search in Google Analytics.

And please do me a favor, make sure that you don’t listen to people that say “don’t put a search box on your blog because people will get disappointed when they don’t find what they’re looking for.” Guess what— People are going to be disappointed when you don’t have a search box on your blog! At least if you have a search box you might just have what they’re looking for and then they won’t be disappointed but if you don’t have a search box we’ll never know…

Thanks for joining me today and while you’re on YouTube subscribe to my channel connect with me on my blog which is BasicBlogtips.com and you can also follow my podcast and that’s the Ms. Ileane Speaks Podcast.
I’ll talk to you soon thanks so much for joining me and have a great day. Peace!

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Welcome! I'm Ileane and this blog was created to help you learn about WordPress blogging, Social Media Optimization, YouTube Tutorials and more. Subscribe to my YouTube channel and be the first to know when I upload a new tutorial.
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  1. Hi Ileane,

    You are SO right about some people removing the search box from their blog and it does confuse me too, especially when I visit a blog and want to look up something. It’s then an ordeal to try and hunt the same through tags or archives, and if I don’t find what I’m looking for within a few minutes, I leave the blog! I think there’s nothing one can really do about it.

    I too didn’t know about this type of search box, till I learnt about it from a dear friend’s post and that’s how I added mine, and I think it DOES make sense to have one on your blog to make it possible for people to hunt for what they want.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice week ahead :)

    • Hi Harleena!

      I’m using the Google Custom search and even if no one else ever uses it, I sure do!

      It’s a shame that WordPress doesn’t have a better search function because I don’t think people realize how bad it is. Even when I look for something from the dashboard I can’t find it. Fortunately the Google Search works so well that it has saved me tonnes of valuable time and effort.

      Thanks for stopping by Harleena and you have a wonderful week ahead also.

      • hi Ileane
        nice article when you know that peoples what search on your blog then we get a topic to write article and its very helpful for us. thanks for sharing.

  2. It happened to me actually and one of the searcher emailed me and requested me to reinstall the search box.. what a shame actually. Thanks for reminding us Ileane.


  3. Search button should be one of the most essential attributes of each blog. It’s not only convenient tool for visitors but also gives the blog owner an idea about what people are looking for on their blog. It’s also important to know that blog Search results for a given blog will update with new content much faster than standard web searches. Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is best benefit of Google Analytics tool which will tell you whole things about your site’s stats like on which keyword site is getting more traffic and from which country as well and this is absolutely free tool from Google.

  5. You are SO right about some people removing the search box from their blog and it does confuse me too, especially when I visit a blog and want to look up something. It’s then an ordeal to try and hunt the same through tags or archives, and if I don’t find what I’m looking for within a few minutes, I leave the blog! I think there’s nothing one can really do about it…

  6. The search button is essential for every blog and website I would say also. Also, it gives the image to the visitor that the blog is full of usefull content! Moreover, it does help visitors to find what they are looking for! If your blog/site doesn’t have the search button you should expect much of it. Thank you!

  7. Interesting that you should post this as I was just adding put the search box to my to-do list. I use the google adsense search box and it can be a pain to get just right but it does earn me a few pennies a month whenever someone does a search.

  8. I think it all depends upon the amount of contents; if you have huge number of contents you must put search button; yup if you just started your blog and moving ahead it is better to keep search button hidden unless you put sizeable number of posts on your blog

  9. Ritul gangwar

    Hi Ileane mam,
    Your are absolutely right . Without search box blog seems dead and no one take interest in finding content by clicking here and there. Very nice article, thanks for sharing .

  10. Its a good idea to have the search box on your site. How on earth people going to find your stuff if there is no search box. Custom search box from adsense is a good idea.

    • Hey Shalu,

      That’s right! I was really surprised to see that some bloggers feel that you don’t need a search box if you don’t have a lot of content.

      The way I look at it you need at least 10 posts before you launch your blog anyway so why not just make it easier for everyone, including yourself!

      • hi Ileane
        nice article for my experience google analytics is best tool. its provide many useful information like in which keyword our blog are search which post are most view by rereads and which country are most like our blog. and when we know that in which topics readers are want to read in our bog we can write more article in that point. good information thanks for sharing.

  11. Ron M

    Totally agree, with using it for content ideas. This web tool is really awesome to use when writing articles, because it tells you what would be best to produce your web content on. Great info!

  12. Hi Ileane !
    I didn’t know that search box do play an important role on a website/blog .I didn’t have any search box when i used the blogger platform , and when i moved to WordPress , the theme came loaded with the search box functionality.Thanks for sharing this tutorial ..I would be setting up this functionality in my GA account .


    • Good for your Pramod. The WordPress search isn’t that great though, so be sure to check out the tutorial I did for adding the Google Custom search. Let me know if you have any questions on it.

  13. Search button is must to make your visitors comfortably search their required contents; this is just like you show your guests where is change room and where they can relax awhile just to make them comfortable. So comfort is the main rule for putting search button on your blog and we must not forget comforting our valued visitors if we have to make them our customers eventually

  14. hiii Ileane
    I like your thought of search box and yes I completely agree if a reader finds your article interesting and helpful one , then he/she will surely want to find their other interests too and in that case a search box can make them easy and comfortable to search for their queries and the content they are looking for and one good thing for the blogger will be that their content wont get old ever it will be refreshed again and again as per custom search results and surely that will also increase the user time on your blog and will also let them know about some other valuable contents too….so I would prefer it because by this we are not only making the user comfortable but we are also getting some attention to our older posts too….and the best thing is that it can be easily managed using google tool….so +1 for this…..Thumbs up Ileane….Nice Post


    Thanks For Sharing


  15. I have never paid that much attention to Google Analytics. Infact I always used the Jetpack stats because I found that very hard to leave the blog and then sign in to analytics to see the stats.

    However after reading this post, I analyzed the true potential of Google Analytics… Thumbs Up!

  16. Hi Ileane,

    You have made a brilliant point!. A blog without search box really seems to be dead. When there is lot of posts in the blogs search box becomes a necessity for the user to find out the solution he wants.

    Thank you Ileane for sharing the information

  17. as much navigation option you offer to your visitors your page/visitor increase and eventually your page rank improves; so one never think to skip the search button on his blog unless he has a better option then it

  18. Hello,

    Well to be honest i never cared about Google analytics, i mean it’s been habituated to just check the traffic and quit it. But now i’ve learned something new.

    However i agree that it’s a great product of google and we can do a lot of cool thing by utilizing it.


    • Hi Sohail,

      Once you start to establish real goals for your blog, you’ll find that Google Analytics is one of the easiest more effective tools for tracking your successes and your failures.

  19. I actually made a mistake of removing the search box in my website. It was a mistake I would never ever do again. I don’t know why I removed it anyway.

  20. I think that having a search box on a blog is a must. While it may not be extremely vital if your site is brand new.

    Once the site begins to grow in size…a search box makes it easier to find the content. I totally agree with you that it can make it easier for your readers to find the content they need.

  21. Hello Ileane,
    Thanks for providing me this descriptive guide. i think the search box should be at the top where anyone can see it easily without scrolling. i found some sites where the searchbox is present at the bottom so, i think having a search box in bottom is little bit confusing for audience.

    Nice Share :)

  22. hi
    I had also removed the search box from my blog I thought that it have no importance but after reading this I m stunned that what I have done. so after this comment what I will do is to re-add the search box in my blog . Thanks for such great post

    • Suryabhan, one of the many benefits of a blog search is that it makes it easy for you to do internal linking each time you write a blog post. You can do the same things from inside your WordPress dashboard but with the Google search you’ll get better results.

  23. Hey Ileane,

    I had a search box up for the longest time and I couldn’t even find what I was looking for. What a joke so I took it down.

    I then realized that it would be better to have one even if it wasn’t the greatest so I put it back up. It’s still horrible but I just hate putting one more darn thing from Google on my blog. There’s got to be a better search feature out there so I’m fighting that one.

    Sorry, I know they rule the internet but I think that’s one of the reasons. I know I have to use their services but my blog is mine and I really don’t want to advertise anything of theirs on it. :-(

    Thanks for this though and you never know, I could change my mind if I can never find another alternative. I appreciate this one.


    • Hi Adrienne,

      I understand how you feel.

      That’s why in the video, I showed everyone how to find the Site Search parameter for the WordPress search – which is “s” instead of “q”. Are you using Google Analytics?

      If you’re not using Google Analytics let me know what you are using and I’ll try to find out if they have the Site Search setting too. I’m sure people want to search through your blog because you have so much valuable content over there!

      Thanks for stopping by Adrienne!

  24. I am using Google Analytics Ileane. I guess I didn’t quite understand that part, sorry. Sometimes it goes over my head and my grasping of things isn’t all that great at the moment.

    I’ll give this a go and see if I can’t get this to work. I appreciate your response.


  25. Maria

    To be honest i never use Google analytic in this way. It is very keen source to know that from which content, keyword or post you are getting traffic. When webmaster knows about it definitely he/she will give more concentration on it and that thing will help him/her to get more.

  26. I actually made a mistake of removing the search box a search box makes it easier to find the content. I totally agree with you. The search box is very essential for every blog

  27. Yup, When people finding a main topic in your blog. They are always looking for a search box that easily find the content from your blog what readers need. So search box is one of the most important part of every blogs.

    Thanks for your article about this topic. Appreciate it. :)

  28. Hi Ileane,

    Google Analytics is quite vast and there are so many things you can do with it. I was completely unaware of this capability.

    This will come in handy in the near future.

    Thanks for sharing.

  29. Thanks for this valuable post.

    Google analytics is really amazing tool. User behavior on website provide us valuable information about what they really need and what they are actually looking for at our website.

  30. Charmie

    Importance of search boxes on any sites are not supposed to be taken lightly because that search toolbar empowers your blog with the fact that you are providing an ease to your readers i.e. they will directly jump over what they want.

    Thank you so much ma’am for making me know about this fact of analytics.

  31. This is a really great post, Ileane.

    I was one of the ones that took down my search box because I’d read a post about readers being disappointed if they can’t find what they’re looking for. Heck, they’d be disappointed if they can’t find the search box to even attempt to find what they’re looking for, as you mentioned.

    A while back, I actually almost missed out on a chance at being mentioned in Ana Hoffman’s roundup post because she couldn’t find a search box to find a post she wanted to include. She actually emailed me directly to request the link to the post, which is an extra step she didn’t have to do and I was grateful that she took the time to do so.

    Even after that, I still didn’t put a search box on my site. However, after reading your post, I’ve just gone in and added the search box back to my site. What you demonstrated in this tutorial is a really good reason to do so. The search box has much more traffic and info benefits then disadvantages.

    Thanks for taking the time to create this tutorial for us. I appreciate it! :)


    P.S. I wonder if you could suggest a good transcription service to me. I’ve just recently posted a blog commenting tutorial on my blog and I’d like to get the video transcribed. I was thinking of using Fivver.com. But I know sometimes there’s a wait for a quality provider and I’d like to get it done as soon as possible. Thanks in advance for your suggestions! :)

  32. Nice post. But I have not used this feature of google Analytics and soon will try to use it. I must say Analytics is such a great tool to help bloggers.

  33. Hi Ileane,

    This is really an awesome way to tack search on your blog through Google Custom search, Knowing what your readers are looking for in your blog is a great way to address their needs and keeping them interest in your blog.

  34. If the search box is missing, I won’t visit the blog again. It was about some times back, when I visit the blog for some search query that there is no search option nor page navigation, they redirected ‘older posts’, this waste time by searching it page by page. You’ve shared wonderful information about it. Thanks.

  35. Jeevan Jacob John

    Hey Ileane,

    Awesome tutorial 😀

    I remember trying to setup Site search on my blogger blog. I had no idea how to.

    As for my WP blog, I was guilty. I had a search box, but removed it when I decided to make my blog more minimalistic. I was trying to get rid of things that I don’t really need (I should have thought about that – would my readers need it? But, I never did. I don’t plan to make the same mistake again :D)

    I never thought of tracking searches within my blog. Like you mentioned, it is a great way to find ideas to write about (plus we know that we will make at least some readers happy).

    Bookmarked the post. Thanks for the video, Ileane :)

    By the way, how are you? I haven’t been blogging for a while – about one year now. Just got back to blogging two weeks ago 😀 It is certainly good to see that everyone is still active.

  36. First of all it is necessary to add a search box in your blog in order to allow them to search for what they are actually looking for. Thanks Ileane for revealing the steps for setting up site search in Google Analytics. The video is awesome.