I mean, how could I possibly optimize a website without keyword data?!?!
It didn't take me long to realize I was overreacting. In fact, I quickly realized how trivial keyword data was.
Search engines are pretty damn good at what they do. If you properly optimize your content, people will find it with the keywords you intended. (You should set up an SEO dashboard in GA to verify your results.)
The truly valuable keywords are the ones visitors use within your site.
When mined correctly, internal terms uncover how and why users engage with content. These insights provide clear direction to improve content, SEO, and the user journey (resulting in increased conversions, leads, and sales).
In this post, I'll cover three things:
- How to set up internal search reporting in GA
- How to access and analyze five internal search reports in GA
- Two client case studies using internal search data
- Exclude internal traffic (filter). You wouldn’t believe how many organizations don’t do this. This simple filter makes all the difference when it comes to data quality. Make sure your website is excluding all internal traffic (step-by-step directions: how to set up internal filters in GA.)
- Goals, events and conversions. In order to discover user intent, we need to be able to segment reports by conversions. Make sure that your website has clearly defined key performance indicators (KPIs) that are represented by goals in GA (step by step directions: how to set up goals in GA.)
Setting up GA site search reporting Standard GA implementation doesn’t have internal search reporting configured. In order to get the data, we need to input some information into GA manually.
Follow these steps to get it up and running:
- Navigate to the “Admin” tab
- Click “View Settings”
- Go to the bottom, where you’ll find “Site Search Settings”
- Click the button so that its setting is “On”
- In a new browser tab, open your website
- In your website's internal search bar, type the word "seo" and click "search"
- You will be redirected to your website's internal search landing page
- Look at the URL on the landing page (see screenshot below)
- You will see your search term, along with these characters: "?", "random letter", and "="
- The letter before the equal sign ("=") is your website’s query parameter
- Enter this value into the appropriate box in GA
- Click save