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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Google Analytics Event Tracking, Site Search Reports and More

Google announced that their server traffic tracker Analytics is starting to roll out a couple of new features in the coming weeks. Also – good timing – a new version of the desktop sibling to Analytics, Urchin, will be available.

One of the new Analytics features promised to come soon are Site Search reports. This means you will get additional information in regards to what people search for when on your page (if you offer a site search box), and to which pages they’re being led to. You will also be able to see stats like the percentage of people who refined their initial search query, or the overall number of visits with search. I asked Google for a sample screenshot of this feature – which will be included in the Content -> Site Search menu, if you have it – and they provided the one above. I’m not sure which site search engines are supported, or how you tell Google which one you want them to count – I could imagine that it works together well with Google’s site-search services, such as the Google Custom Search Engine or Google AdSense for Search.

Another Analytics addition being rolled out to us in the near future, Google says, is Event Tracking (pictured above in Google’s sample screenshot). This report is supposed to be tailored to getting numbers and understanding on usage for websites using Ajax, Flash movies, downloads, gadgets and other multimedia elements, like videos. Google says this is a “limited beta test” but that you can replace the part that says “urchin.js” in your tracker snippet with “ga.js”, adding: “Using ga.js on your site instead of urchin.js means you can continue to take advantage of the latest advanced tracking enhancements (such as Event Tracking) as we release them. Although we suggest everyone upgrade to the new JavaScript, if you aren’t interested in Event Tracking and you’re already getting all the information you need from Google Analytics, you don’t need to change your tags.”

Last not least, Google announced Analytics to carry Outbound Link Tracking reports soon, providing you with details on which links leading to external sites are being clicked on from your site.

[Thanks Tamara!]

Update: I sent off a small Q&A that was returned by Brett Crosby, senior manager of Google Analytics:

Q: Should users interested in getting the new features now replace “urchin.js” with “ga.js"?

A: Users only need to upgrade to ga.js if they want tag-less outbound link tracking or Event Tracking. We suggest people wait until we officially role these features out in Google Analytics before making the upgrade.

Q: What kind of site search engines are supported for the new Analytics Site Search feature?

A: The Google Analytics Site Search reports capture the query parameter in the URL, so any product that uses this method should work with the Site Search reports.


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