How To Get Full Referral & Content URLs From Google Analytics

While cruising through the standard reports in Google Analytics (GA), you may have noticed that you can only get URIs (the part of the URL that follows the domain, AKA hostname). You can’t get the full URLs. That can be pretty unhelpful. So, I’m going to show you some tricks to pull full URLs into your GA reports in an export-friendly format.

Helpful Export Tip

Before you even get started creating these reports, you’ll need to know how to get all of the rows from your report into your export. The GA interface caps you out at 500 rows. However, to get more, just look at the bottom-right corner of your report to see how many rows you have.

row count in Google Analytics

Then, choose 25 from the “Show rows” drop-down. At the very end of the report URL, you’ll see this: table.rowCount%3D25. This tells GA that you want 25 rows. Change 25 to however many rows you need in your export — which would be 6001, in my case.

Get Full Referral URLs

This isn’t immediately apparent, but if you’re in the Referrals report (Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals), the standard report is set up so that if you click on one of the referral sources, you’ll see the URI(s) visitors clicked through from.

referral drill-down in Google Analytics

Click for larger image

However, if you export the report (by clicking Export from the top navigation bar), you’re only going to get the URIs for the referral source you clicked on, not the sources and not the URIs for any of the other referral sources. Not very useful.

If you want the full URLs, you’ll need to create a custom report. If you’re not comfortable with creating a custom report in GA, I created a video walkthrough. You’ll never want to suffer the confines of standard reports again.

Here’s how I set up my custom report:

full referral custom report in Google Analytics

Click for larger image

Or, you can apply it to your own GA account by using this share link. Important: make sure you’re logged in to GA when you open the link — or copy it into a browser where you’re logged in. Otherwise, you’ll get a 404 error.

Pro Tip: If you want to create a pivot table with both the referral source and the full URL, use this custom report. This custom report will give you the ability to create a pivot table that lists the full referral URLs under the source to easily group multiple links from the same site. Your pivot table would look something like this:

source + referrals in Google Analytics custom reports

Click for larger image

You can learn more about how to create pivot table-friendly reports in GA using the flat table option.

Get Full URLs Of Landing Pages

You may be asking yourself, Why would I need to capture the full URLs of my site’s landing pages? By default, unless you have a filter in place to capture the hostname, GA only captures the URI in its content reports.

If your site has multiple subdomains, and you’re not capturing the hostname in your content reports, this can create two issues:

  • There’s no way of knowing which homepage the landing page report (or any other content report) is referring to because the homepage of each subdomain will show up as a “/” in most cases.
  • Visits to your different domains are very difficult to segment for analysis purposes. And, visitors to a store subdomain are going to behave very differently than they will on a blog or forum subdomain. For this reason, analyzing data from all subdomains in aggregate is usually pretty ineffective.

So, to include the hostname in landing page reports, you need to create a flat table custom report that looks like this:

organic landing page flat table in Google Analytics

Click for larger image

 

I threw in a filter that isolated organic traffic, but you could use whatever you need. Or, you could apply this report to your account. Click the Edit button at the top of the report to modify it to meet your needs.

To create a column with full URLs in Excel, using the hostname and landing page outputs, you will need to concatenate the hostname with the URI in Excel using either the ampersand or the CONCATENATE function.

Get Full URLs Of Pages

To get the full URLs of all pages on the site (not just landing pages), you’ll follow the same steps you did with landing pages, except choose the Page dimension instead of Landing Page, as demonstrated below.

hostname + page report in Google Analytics

Click for larger image

 

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

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Search & Analytics

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About The Author: is an SEO and analytics consultant. Her areas of expertise are analytics, technical SEO, and everything to do with data — collection, analysis, and beautification. She’s on a mission to rid the world of ugly data, one spreadsheet at a time. If you just can’t get enough data visualization tips, you can check out her blog, Annielytics.com.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bindashsandeep Sandeep Pattanaik

    Hello Annie, such a clean article, love to read your post & learn a lot from it.

  • Jeff Norris

    One of the most helpful of these types of articles I have ever read.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=526751150 Ilias Manos

    This is probably the most interesting post that i have read the last moths.

    Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/MattWoodwardUK Matthew Woodward

    Hi,

    Great tip!

    Funnily enough I created a video about this but using a custom profile instead!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_iMhbFqwzY

    I guess there is always more than one way to skin a cat =D

  • http://about.me/mohammedalami Meding44

    You save my day in fact a client didn’t create custom tags for every subdomain and I was wondering how to get full landing pages URLs. Thanks for sharing

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Stockton/100001833889793 Gary Stockton

    Really excellent tips on this post. The one about extending the output of the report to all lines will come in really handy, and the pivot table has already highlighted several web sites I should be working more closely with. Much appreciated.

  • http://twitter.com/nmk1234 Natasha Kocharov

    Excellent suggestions and thank you for sharing the reports. Landing page report over multiple sub-domains is so helpful.

  • Guest

    I’ll sheepishly admit that I’m not as proficient with Excel as I should be. I can’t get a pivot table that looks like the example image above. I’ve tried the following process with both CSV and Excel (XLSX) files: 1) Highlight all data 2) Choose “insert pivot table” 3) Select “full referrer” etc.

    The data is listed simply by URL, not grouped by domain. What I am not doing?

  • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

    Thanks! Happy to hear that!

  • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

    Sorry I missed this! You can just pull source into the Row Labels field, above the URLs. If you want to send me your spreadsheet, I can help you! annie@annielytics.com.

  • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

    You’re welcome! :)

  • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

    My pleasure, Gary! I love to hear reports like this!

  • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

    Yeah, I really don’t like separating data into separate profiles. In Avinash Kaushik’s web analytics certification course, he made a compelling case against doing that but using segments instead. I still use them for very large sites though, as long as I have a profile that contains everything (besides the raw data profile).

  • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

    Wow. Thanks, Jeff!

  • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

    Thanks, Sandeep! Appreciate that. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/cvmartin Cortney Martin

    I’m trying to get full referral URLs from YouTube but for some reason all I get is /watch and /user/username. I can’t get to the full YouTube URL that got a user to my site. Any ideas?

  • http://www.mostlymatt.com/ Matt Jacobson

    Love this. Immediate tactics that I can use with very little effort. Thanks!

  • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

    Sorry, Cortney. I missed this! Do you want to email me at annie(at)annielytics.com.

  • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

    Perfect! Glad it helps. :)

  • http://twitter.com/harishvc Harish Chakravarthy

    Informative article! You also get credit for motivating me to create custom reports for filtering search refinements by full referral.

 

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