How To Find Actual Keywords and Referral URL in GA

Here’s another method of filtering your Google Analytics to show the actual search phrase and referrer domain. (ie. restaurant consultants Chicagohttp://www.xyz.com/comment)This hack is from Search Laboratory, an SEM company.

This post outlines the method used to set up Google analytics so that you can analyze the search phrase and domain that traffic has come through while your account is linked to Google Adwords using auto tagging. Currently using auto-tagging hides the actual search phrase and referrer domain behind the SE keyword and the source ‘Google’.

This involves setting up a separate profile that filters the same data to display it slightly differently. Strongly recommend leaving the main profile untouched as applying filters may permanently adjust the information in the profile and you will not be able to get this back. Its a good idea to have the main profile as an unfiltered ‘control’ profile.

Steps Overview

  1. Set up a profile to track the search phrase in the user defined field
  2. Set up a profile to track the referrer domain in the user defined field and referrer URL in the content field.
  3. Remove all manual tagging from Google campaigns (GKW, utm_xxx)
  4. Ensure analytics and adwords accounts are linked
  5. Ensure analytics imports cost data
  6. Turn on auto tagging
  7. Audit and verify it is working correctly

1. Set up a profile to track the search phrase in the user defined field

Within Google analytics there is a manually set ‘User Defined’ field that you can segment and view sets of traffic on. This allows you to view a parameter that you set in the same manner as you can view the top keyword or campaign reports. To do this in separate profile follows the following steps.
Add a website profile using the same domain.

Add a filter to the new profile as follows from the profile settings page.

Add a filter to the new profile as follows from the profile settings page.

The referral field above holds the value: (\?|&)(q|p|query|kw|searchfor|wd)=([^&]*)

This filter is effectively stripping out the keyword where the referrer URL contains a parameter called ‘q’ or ‘p’ or ‘query’ or ‘kw’ or ‘searchfor’ or ‘wd’. Each search engine has it’s own parameter although ‘q’ is the most popular. If you discover a search partner that uses a different parameter other than those above then you can add it to the settings above.

This profile should now start to collect information but will not have access to old data.

You can view adwords and normal campaign traffic correctly in the regular screens and then drill down into the actual search phrase as follows:

OR view the search phrases directly in the Visitors>User-Defined Menu.

2. Set up a profile to track the referrer domain in the user defined field and referrer URL in the content field

Repeat all the steps above to set up another profile. The only difference is the filters that should be set. Set the following filters:

1. Filter to put the referrer domain in the User-Defined field.

. Filter to put the referrer domain in the User-Defined field.

The referral field above contains the following text (so you can paste in): (//)([^/]*)

2. Filter to put the actual referrer URL in the content field. (this will overwrite the content value that auto tagging puts in to give you access to the actual web page that referred the traffic.

3. Remove all manual tagging from Google campaigns (GKW, utm_xxx)

Important note – when auto tagging is switched on it will cause problems if you also manually tag your URLs. For all adwords traffic only you should therefore remove all of the utm_ and GKW parameters from all of you destination URLs. This will also make setting up campaigns a lot easier.

Hope this information is useful to every marketers.

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