Tweaking Google Analytics To Find Exact Keywords Search

Many businesses use Google Analytics to track their online traffic. But one problem with GA is that it doesn’t show you exactly what people are bidding on (search query). Thanks to Michael Harrison Analytics and Optimization Specialist, and Jim Newsome of Omega. They have provided us webmasters with a great filter and script to see what people are really searching for when they click on the ad or your organic listing.

For example, if a visitor searches for “food seasonings” and you have an ad configured for the keywords “cheap steak seasoning” as a Broad Match in Google AdWords, then this search will show your ad. But in your GA reports, the keywords for this search will be reported as “restaurant consultations“. While this gives you good data on your Bid Term, it doesn’t help you refine your keyword triggers because the reports don’t show the actual Search Term.

There are 2 ways to do this, in this article we will go over filtering discussed by Jim Newsome. Jim’s method takes the existing Google Analytics Campaign Term field, where keyword data is stored, and replaced it with “Bid Term (Search+Term)”.

Getting to the meat of this, If you use this Override Bid Term filter then the same search will show “riedel wine glass, (riedel+wine+glass)” in any Google Analytics report that shows keywords (e.g. Marketing Optimisation -> Search Engine Marketing -> Overall Keyword Conversion) or any time you cross-segment against keywords.

This data now allows you to fine-tune your PPC campaigns by getting greater detail from your GA reports. Another example, if the ‘energy efficient window redding‘ search is a frequent one, you might consider creating an Exact Match advert that takes visitors to a dedicated “energy efficient window redding landing page.

Or replacing the Broad Match ‘restaurant consulting‘ term with a more precise ‘restaurant consultants Chicago‘ Exact Match to increase your clickthrough rate.

1) Create two filters as per the images here:


The Field A regular expression is: (\?|&)(q|p)=([^&]*)

In English, this means:

Look for character immediately following a ? or & (i.e. a URL variable), that is named q or p, and extract the value of this variable.

2) Create a new profile for your existing site. This keeps the detailed keyword data in a separate profile. You can apply this filter to your main profile(s) if you prefer, but a separate profile allows for continuity and top level reporting in your main profile with keyword detail available as required.

3) Apply the two filters to the new profile, in the order Override Bid Term 1 *then* Override Bid Term 2

You can now view detailed Search Term data from any GA report that shows keyword information. Please let us know any feedback via the blog comments. Another thing, in this article we talk about getting the data from your PPC campaign, you can utilize this for organic as well. Thanks to Jim and this fine hack!

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