Google Analytics: adding search engines

I’ve been diving a bit in to Google Analytics lately, and one of the things you’ll notice when you run Google Analytics is that it doesn’t recognize every conceivable search engine straight out of the box. For instance, Ilse.nl, still quite popular here in the Netherlands, doesn’t seem to be seen as “organic” in Google Analytics.

Now it is possible, as the help shows quite clearly, to add extra search engines, by adding some lines of code inside the script tag like this:

<script src="http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
_uacct = "UA-xxxx-x";
_uOsr[20]="Google";
_uOkw[20]="q";
urchinTracker();
</script>

The last thing I want to do though is have to do that on each account, and to have to go back when I’ve decided I want to add another search engine…

While Googling around, I found that the guys over at GA Experts had made their own script, which you can embed like this:

<script src="http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="http://www.ga-experts.co.uk/custom_se.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
_uacct = "UA-xxxx-x";
urchinTracker();
</script>

This way, you can just include a file, and it will add all the search engines you’re looking for!

The only thing left for me to do, was to make a version with all the Dutch search engines added into it, I’ve done that, find it here. You can use it exactly the same way as the script above.

The script adds the following searchengines / portals:

  • chello.nl
  • home.nl
  • planet.nl
  • ilse.nl
  • startgoogle.startpagina.nl
  • tiscali.nl
  • track.nl
  • vinden.nl
  • vindex.nl
  • zoeken.nl
  • zoeknu.nl

If you want me to add more, drop a note in the comments!

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26 Responses

  1. SintBy Sint on 16 July, 2007

    I actually e-mailed with someone at Google about this some months ago. Google states that they only support twenty SE’s by default and you could add more if you like yourself.

    Stupid thing is that what they say is not true: there are actually 27 search engines being supported, as you can see here: http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js
    So if you follow the help-section and add for instance Ilse as “_uOsr[20]=”, you are actually deleting another default supported SE in the process.

    Seems like Google added some SE’s in contrary to their own guideline and did not update the help section afterwards.

    Best thing they could do in my opinion is just support EVERY search engine server-side by keeping this all out of the JavaScript and doing it internally when analysing the saved user data.

  2. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 16 July, 2007

    Sint: in this case this scripts is “readding” all defaults, so nothing is lost.

  3. SintBy Sint on 16 July, 2007

    Maybe I can say it in another way to make my point a bit more clear:

    Google states that they are supporting the recognition of 20 search engines and gives an example on how to add custom search engines yourself. They do it here:
    http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=27286

    ‘By default, Google Analytics tracks referrals from 20 search engines as listed in the urchin.js JavaScript file.
    You can also configure Analytics to identify referrals from additional search engines by adding the following line to your tracking code:

    _uOsr[20]=”search_engine_name”;
    _uOkw[20]=”query_variable”;’

    But when we have a look at http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js, we will see that the array keys 20 to 27 are already used to configure other search engines, including AOL.

    The script built by GA Experts (and Joost’s modification) build whole new _uOsr and _uOkw arrays in such a way that any new added search engine will always be at the end of the array (and not replace an already declared search engine).

    I’m not critizing GA-Experts or Joost, nor am I asking Google to change their way of recognizing search engine referers. The thing just is that what their help section is stating does not meet the contents of urchin.js and could cause a lot of confusion.

  4. Heather PaquinasBy Heather Paquinas on 16 July, 2007

    I see searches from isp branded search portal like:

    www.att.net/cgi-bin/websearch?cmd=qry&qry=joostdevalk
    business.verizon.net/Search/web/Default.aspx?channel=smb-top-grey&source=web-business&search=simple&query=joostdevalk
    google/search?hl=en&q=joost
    ie.search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=joost&FORM=QSRE5
    search.comcast.net/?q=joost&cat=Web&con=net
    search.earthlink.net/search?q=joost
    search.netzero.net/search?r=search&query=joost
    search.ninemsn.com.au/results.aspx?q=joost&FORM=QSPW

    , etc….

  5. André ScholtenBy André Scholten on 16 July, 2007

    Okay, very nice this option. Never read a thing about this until now. Now every country has to make a goog list with all search engines. After that Google can implement it ;)

  6. André ScholtenBy André Scholten on 16 July, 2007

    Joost: what about Google Image Search?

  7. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 17 July, 2007

    @Heather: yeah in this script I added some Dutch portals, since they seem to be used a lot, you could make your own for these portals of course!

    @Andre: I think that’s captured by the default “google” search engine…

  8. TinusBy Tinus on 17 July, 2007

    I can use this for images.google.* and blogsearch.google.* if I’m correct?

  9. André ScholtenBy André Scholten on 17 July, 2007

    @Joost: I see the images.google domain as a refferrer, not as organic ;)

  10. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 17 July, 2007

    You do? Ha, now that’s stupid… I’ll add it to my script.

  11. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 17 July, 2007

    If you pick the latest version, it should display as organic…

  12. Heather PaquinasBy Heather Paquinas on 17 July, 2007

    Another painful site that seems impossible to track is google base/google product search (formerly froogle). There’s no way to separate it from regular google traffic since it moved to google.com/products from froogle.google.com.

  13. SintBy Sint on 17 July, 2007

    It looks like the _uOsr-values specify a key string that has to be found within the host name of the referer. In Google’s own list of search engines, they have a string ‘google’ (so not ‘google.com’ or like that). I think that every domain or subdomain that contains this specified string AND has the query variable set is considerred a search engine. This means all the localized google domains are recognized and images.google.* too.

    In the GA Experts script there are no such things anymore as the default search engines that Google already recognizes, because the two arrays within the script that specify them are re-initalized (var _uOsr=new Array();) and afterwards filled again.
    Since Google proves with it’s own configuration that it is able to detect ‘all’ google domains by just specifying the string ‘google’, I think there would be no real need for all the national domain extensions that are being added manually in the GA Experts script (for Google and Yahoo). You only would have to specify the string where you want Google to look at in the domain name just before the domain extension.

  14. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 17 July, 2007

    @Sint: I think they add the european ones to have some more specific measurement…

    @Andre: I’ll have to look into it even more, because I don’t see it showing up in my referrers…

    Next to that, I’ve almost finished a WordPress plugin which add Google Analytics AND this custom script.

  15. MattBeeBy MattBee on 17 July, 2007

    Ah, I like the include, a much nicer solution ;)

    “lycos.nl”; “query”;
    “altavista.nl”; “q”;
    “ixquick.com”; “query”;

  16. André ScholtenBy André Scholten on 17 July, 2007

    Sint, I agree with you that it ‘should’ work, but right now Google Image search is showing as a referrer in stead of organic. Something is going wrong there.

  17. VanaXBy VanaX on 18 July, 2007

    The script is good, getting better information from google analitics as we speak ! :)
    hope that they add more functions later on, so that google analitics stays one of the best for me !

    thx for makin this happen

  18. BlendBy Blend on 20 July, 2007

    Thanks for this. The script is good. I will try.

  19. Vancouver Island DarylBy Vancouver Island Daryl on 21 July, 2007

    I personally stay away from Google Analytics as it can hurt rankings based on bounce times. There was an SEO firm that did some experiments and they were able to impact their SERPs. A cool new topic you might want to blog about is Googles new unavailable_after meta tag. This could be potentially a powerful tool for Webmasters, especially when you get stuck with stuff in the index you no longer want. Cheers.

  20. Richard HearneBy Richard Hearne on 22 July, 2007

    Now what would be really nice would be to pick out things like ‘pages from [country]‘ searches. I think that’s a stat that could be very useful.

  21. SintBy Sint on 23 July, 2007

    @Vancouver Island Daryl: One of the main reasons for using an analytics-tool is to improve funnel conversions and reduce bounce rates, so my opinion is when you know how to use the data GA presents in your advantage, Google using the same data for their rankins doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative side-effect.

    I also look forward to learn about the results of using the new meta-tag.

  22. Marc KleinBy Marc Klein on 27 August, 2007

    Hello,

    I am using Google Analytics for some time now. Does anyone know if the implementation of the Google Analytics script has any influence on the SERPs on Yahoo.com? Any experiences?

    graphically & sincerely,

    Marc Klein
    mediaVinci – The art of invention

  23. André ScholtenBy André Scholten on 27 August, 2007

    Yeah, I know: it doesn’t.

    The Google Analytics tracking script is just an other piece of javascript in the eyes of the Yahoo spider. And as far is I know Yahoo doesn’t have a ‘penalize-sites-with-google-analytics’ algorithm.

  24. Liam DelahuntyBy Liam Delahunty on 22 February, 2008

    Hi Joost, Is there any reason why your custom se.js doesn’t have google.com whereas ga-experts does?

    Kind regards, Liam