Why Is My Onsite Search Report Wrong?

onsite search report

Why is my Onsite Search report wrong?

This is a question often asked by our clients approaching us for help with their analytics. The problem is often the same. It simply has not been set up correctly by the person who initiated the analytics account – often the Web-developer. Here’s what you should check and how to fix it.

  • Does your site have a search facility?
    Yes, you’d be amazed! Check the obvious, does your site have a search facility?
  • Has Search Tracking been enabled?

    In (Google Analytics) View Settings, check that the Site Search Tracking has been turned on.


  • Is the Search Query parameter set up correctly?

    This is the most frequent issue with incorrectly configured search tracking settings; the query parameter definition. These parameters are different on most sites and so it requires understanding how to find the parameter. There is no one solution I can give you to this problem. But, hey, here’s how you do it.


  • How to find your Query Parameter

    Go onto your website and type test in your search box and hit return.


Now look at the URL in the top of your web-browser.


It should look something like this. The URL is made up of the site domain we are on elignum.co.uk
then the page search
then the search query parameter zoom_query (this is preceded by a “?”)
finally we have the search term test (this is preceded by an “=”)

The query parameter is the thing we are interested in. This needs to be entered into the correct section of Google Analytics.


Often we find that the query parameter is set as “q”


This is because “q” is the query parameter that Google use (it is also used in their example of how to set up Site Search Tracking). If yours is set as “q”, it is likely to be incorrect. Follow the steps above to determine the correct parameter.

There you go, you have all the info you need to set up a fully functioning Search Tracking report in Google Analytics. See my blog on how to create a report for Search Terms not Found to compliment your new report.

Feel free to Contact us if you require support.

Steven Drummond

Web Analytics & Optimisation
"I love solving the technical & marketing challenges that help our customers win more customers."