Google Analytics Update To Organic Reports

As 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 […]

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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:

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

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About the author

Daniel Waisberg
Contributor
Daniel Waisberg has been an advocate at Google since 2013. He worked in the analytics team for six years, focusing on data analysis and visualization best practices; he is now part of the search relations team, where he's focused on Google Search Console. Before joining Google, he worked as an analytics consultant and contributed to Search Engine Land & MarTech.

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