Google Analytics Update To Organic Reports

google analytics iconAs many of you know, organic traffic is auto-populated in Google Analytics reports using a default search engine list curated by Google. It is also possible to add smaller search engines manually into the tracking code snippet, using the _addOrganic method; but it’s nicer when Google does it for us.

Every once in a while, the Google Analytics team updates the list to reflect new or more popular search engines. We have confirmed that, starting from February 1st, a few search engines have been added to the list mentioned above. Below is the list of new search engines that are now part of the default list:

Change In The Way Google Analytics Recognizes Search Engines

In addition to the update above, Google has also fixed a long-running issue with the way search engines are recognized.

Before this change, if a URL contained the word “search” and a query parameter “q”, Google would attribute it to the search engine search.com, which led to inaccurate reports, especially as a consequence of big customized search engines, such as Conduit, Babylon and others.

Below we can see the Google Analytics organic data for a large website, and it is clear that search.com is heavily over counted.

google analytics search engines

As of February 1st, this logic has been changed, in a way that customized search engines (as the ones shown in the list below) will not be shown as search.com.

search organic traffic

The Google Analytics team are also explicitly adding known large customized search engines with “search” in them to their default list of known search engines:

  • http://search.conduit.com
  • http://search.babylon.com
  • http://search-results.com
  • http://isearch.avg.com
  • http://search.comcast.net
  • http://search.incredimail.com

How Does It Affect Your Data?

Basically, if you receive a large amount of organic traffic, you will probably see your search.com organic traffic going down, and other search engines will start to appear as a source (such as the customized search engines shown in the list above). But your Google or Bing organic should not be change.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Google: Analytics | Search & Analytics

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About The Author: is the Founder of Conversion Journey, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. He is also the founder of Online Behavior, a Marketing Measurement & Optimization website. You can follow him on Google+ or Twitter.

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  • http://www.domaintools.com bkrull

    Daniel – Thank you!!!

    I’ve been tearing my hair out for the past week trying to figure out where all our ‘search / organic’ traffic went! It’s really frustrating that Google didn’t mention anything before or after making the switch.

  • http://www.domaintools.com bkrull

    Forgot to ask… are you also seeing traffic drop after the Feb 1 ‘search / organic’ change? Did they also change how they calculate the traffic?

    Thanks again,

    Ben Krull
    DomainTools

  • http://online-behavior.com/author/daniel-waisberg Daniel Waisberg

    Ben, I am almost sure that the change does not affect the calculation of traffic, you should still see the same trend for organic traffic, the only change is in the distribution.

  • Mark Churchill

    Hey – does this mean that internal traffic, i.e. site search queries, will no longer be counted as ‘search’ too?

    Or do sites still need to ‘addIgnoredRef’ for that?

 

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