The 12 Days of Data: 2 Profile Settings

December 9, 2013

The 12 Days of Data

Partridges and leaping lords are great, but around here, we prefer data. So welcome to the 12 Days of Data!

On the second day of data my true love sent to me . . . 2 Profile Settings
On the first day of data my true love sent to me . . . an unsampled GA data set

The Second Day of Data: 2 GA Profile Settings

My true love knows that I need to understand what my websites visitors are looking for on my website. My true love also values my time and doesn’t want me to be at work all day being bogged down with repetitive tasks. There are two settings in Google Analytics that have been gifted to us and we just need to know where they are!

Google Analytics Site Search

The first GA profile setting is the site search setting. The majority of websites these days have a search feature integrated on all pages that allow visitors to input what specifically on the site they are looking for. This is one of the very few places in Google Analytics where we can gain insight into the reason people are using our website. If configured properly we can see these in the native ‘Site Search’ reports, which will allow us to understand these reasons. Perhaps, most importantly, we can see what content users are or are not being sent to through search results. This analysis will almost always yield surprising results. We will see areas where our site is missing content and visitors leaving our site or perhaps areas where we do have the content, but it’s not being matched with their searches correctly. This gives us the opportunity to either optimize our search engine to provide better results or to think about new content we need to create to meet our visitor’s needs.

The site search setting is quite easy to setup for most websites. First you need to find out if your search parameter is part of the URL. Perform a search on your website and isolate the query parameter that the keywords are captured in. In the example below using Apple’s website, the query parameter is simply ‘q’.


To configure Google Analytics you would first open up Google Analytics and click the ‘Admin’ button in the top right corner. Next click ‘View Settings’ on the right hand side and enter your query parameter following the image below. If your parameter is different than ‘q’ you would replace it.


Some websites (like Drupal) have the search query shown in the URL as a directory instead of a parameter like: If this is the case you need to add a filter to your view (profile) using the below settings:

* Always apply filters to a test/sandbox view (profile) first to avoid mistakes. *


Copy GA View

The second profile setting my true love gave to me was the ‘Copy View.’ While not really a setting, it is in the settings section and is such an important feature for me. Prior to this setting every time a new view(profile) needed to be created you would have to manually create a new profile, reenter all your profile settings, reapply all your filters, add users again, recreate goals, and waste a lot of time doing so. Many of us have been asking our true love for a long time for a quicker option and our love answered with this feature. It is located at the bottom of ‘View Settings’ next to the ‘Site Search Tracking’ options that we discussed above.


When you click on this a new profile will be created with the exact same configuration as the current profile. No more copy and pasting goals, filters, and settings over and over again! This setting will come in handy as we continue on with the 12 Days of Data!