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Get incoming Search Keywords to your Website/Blog

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Get incoming Search Keywords to your Website/Blog

Nowadays, with the help of professional tools like Google Analytics, you can easily track all the keywords that bring visitors to your WordPress blog. However, you will need more than that to actually benefit from those keywords.

Using a simple PHP snippet you can easily extract all search terms people use to find your website, and then use those terms to display some fancy stuff to them on their landing pages.

Let’s start by firing up your theme’s functions.php file and put in the snippet below:

  1. function bwp_get_search_keywords($url = '')
  2. {
  3.     // Get the referrer
  4.     $referrer = (!empty($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'])) ? $_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'] : '';
  5.     $referrer = (!empty($url)) ? $url : $referrer;
  6.     if (empty($referrer))
  7.         return false;
  9.     // Parse the referrer URL
  10.     $parsed_url = parse_url($referrer);
  11.     if (empty($parsed_url['host']))
  12.         return false;
  13.     $host = $parsed_url['host'];
  14.     $query_str = (!empty($parsed_url['query'])) ? $parsed_url['query'] : '';
  15.     $query_str = (empty($query_str) && !empty($parsed_url['fragment'])) ? $parsed_url['fragment'] : $query_str;
  16.     if (empty($query_str))
  17.         return false;
  19.     // Parse the query string into a query array
  20.     parse_str($query_str, $query);
  22.     // Check some major search engines to get the correct query var
  23.     $search_engines = array(
  24.         'q' => 'alltheweb|aol|ask|ask|bing|google',
  25.         'p' => 'yahoo',
  26.         'wd' => 'baidu'
  27.     );
  28.     foreach ($search_engines as $query_var => $se)
  29.     {
  30.         $se = trim($se);
  31.         preg_match('/(' . $se . ')\./', $host, $matches);
  32.         if (!empty($matches[1]) && !empty($query[$query_var]))
  33.             return $query[$query_var];
  34.     }
  35.     return false;
  36. }
function bwp_get_search_keywords($url = '')
	// Get the referrer
	$referrer = (!empty($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'])) ? $_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'] : '';
	$referrer = (!empty($url)) ? $url : $referrer;
	if (empty($referrer))
		return false;

	// Parse the referrer URL
	$parsed_url = parse_url($referrer);
	if (empty($parsed_url['host']))
		return false;
	$host = $parsed_url['host'];
	$query_str = (!empty($parsed_url['query'])) ? $parsed_url['query'] : '';
	$query_str = (empty($query_str) && !empty($parsed_url['fragment'])) ? $parsed_url['fragment'] : $query_str;
	if (empty($query_str))
		return false;

	// Parse the query string into a query array
	parse_str($query_str, $query);

	// Check some major search engines to get the correct query var
	$search_engines = array(
		'q' => 'alltheweb|aol|ask|ask|bing|google',
		'p' => 'yahoo',
		'wd' => 'baidu'
	foreach ($search_engines as $query_var => $se)
		$se = trim($se);
		preg_match('/(' . $se . ')\./', $host, $matches);
		if (!empty($matches[1]) && !empty($query[$query_var]))
			return $query[$query_var];
	return false;

Now in a global theme file (i.e. a file that is included on every page), for example header.php, you might have this:

  1. <div id="content">
  2. <?php
  3.     $keywords = bwp_get_search_keywords();
  4.     // do some fancy stuff here, for example:
  5.     if ($keywords)
  6.         echo sprintf(__('You have searched for %s.'), $keywords);
  7. ?>
<div id="content">
	$keywords = bwp_get_search_keywords();
	// do some fancy stuff here, for example:
	if ($keywords)
		echo sprintf(__('You have searched for %s.'), $keywords);

To test a specific referrer URL you can pass a $url variable to bwp_get_search_keywords(), for example this:

  1. echo bwp_get_search_keywords('');
echo bwp_get_search_keywords('');

will give you this:

By default this function supports a few search engines, but you can add more if you want. For example, to add Yandex (a Russian search engine) you must first check the query var that it uses, which is ‘text’, not ‘p’ or ‘q’ (try searching for something like ‘wordpress’ and you will get this URL:

After you have determined the query var, simply append it to the $search_engines array appropriately, like so:

  1. $search_engines = array(
  2.         'q' => 'alltheweb|aol|ask|ask|bing|google',
  3.         'p' => 'yahoo',
  4.         'wd' => 'baidu',
  5.         'text' => 'yandex'
  6. );
$search_engines = array(
		'q' => 'alltheweb|aol|ask|ask|bing|google',
		'p' => 'yahoo',
		'wd' => 'baidu',
		'text' => 'yandex'

If there are more than one search engines that use the same query var, split their domain names using the vertical bar ( | ) characters (just like what I have done with the ‘q’ query var).

Notes: If the fancy stuff you are going to do involve the use of WordPress database (for example you get some related posts based on the search terms your visitors use), please remember to escape all the terms to avoid malicious queries.

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29 Opinions for Get incoming Search Keywords to your Website/Blog

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