In 2012, Google stopped including search terms in the
Referer header when people click through a Google search. They only send Google as the referrer source instead. This means that Plausible Analytics cannot automatically access search terms that lead users to your website.
However, you can still access your search terms by setting up your website on Google Search Console. Once you’ve done that, you can enable the Google Search Console integration in Plausible Analytics to get all of your important search results stats under one roof.
Here’s how you can add your site to Google Search Console and then integrate the Search Console data into your Plausible Analytics dashboard:
If your site is already set up on Google Search Console, you can skip to the "Allow Plausible Analytics to access your Search Console" step.
Head over to Google Search Console and click on the "Start now" button. If you don’t have any sites set up on Google Search Console already, you will be taken straight to the form to add a new domain. Otherwise, you can open the drop down on the top left and select "Add property".
You can either create a domain property or a URL prefix property on Google Search Console. Check out their documentation to understand the difference between these options. Plausible Analytics works with both options, so it’s completely up to you.
You should see several options to verify to Google that you do indeed own this website. You’ll either need to be able to add HTML to your site or alternatively, you can add a DNS record to verify your ownership.
Follow the provided instructions depending on which verification method you’ve chosen. Once you’ve successfully verified the site, head back to the Plausible Analytics website.
Open the settings for your website on your Plausible Analytics account and go into the settings section called "Search Console":
Clicking on the "Continue with Google" button will take you through to Google’s authentication flow to get the necessary permissions.
Choose your Google account to continue with the authentication. Google will share your name, email address, language preference and profile picture with Plausible Analytics. We've set it so we get the absolutely minimum amount of information possible that Google allows us.
We really only need and use the email address from this. Email address is useful because some Plausible Analytics users have multiple Google accounts so we can remember which one is integrated with the Plausible Analytics site.
You also need to grant Plausible Analytics a permission to view your Search Console website data.
And you also need to confirm all these choices once again.
Next up, you are back in Plausible Analytics settings where you should see a select box where you can choose which property from Google Search Console to integrate your Plausible Analytics dashboard with. Properties that start with
sc-domain: represent domain properties and others are URL prefix properties in Search Console.
Once you’ve selected your property, click on the "Save" button. At that point, the integration should be fully functional.
Look at your site’s "Top Sources" stats in your Plausible Analytics dashboard, click on "Google" in the referrers list, and you should see the keywords coming through.
Search query data is not live. It is delayed by approximately 24-36 hours even on Google Search Console itself.
So if you go back two days in your Plausible Analytics dashboard and click on Google in the referral sources you should be able to see the search queries for that day. We get the search query data directly from Google Search Console so as soon as they show up there they show up in Plausible Analytics too.
Note that "Top Sources" will only show keywords that have sent visitors to your site. We do not display keywords that have had impressions in Google's search results but no clicks to your site. Search phrases and keywords must have at least one click for them to show up in Plausible.
Google samples its keyword data heavily. The sampling is why your keyword visitor numbers don’t add up to the total number of visitors from Google. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about the quality of the keyword data. We show exactly the same data that you see in your Search Console.
You can always view your Plausible Analytics integration in your Google account within the section "Third-party apps with account access". Here's how it looks like.
If you'd like to remove the Google Search Console integration, click on the "Unlink Google account" button in the "Search Console" section of your website settings.