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5:56 am on Jul 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hi All,

I am trying to track traffic on a website's internal forum. Here is the case:

Site forum location is www.mysite.com/community/

Google analytics code is not present on forum's pages. I know site is getting clicks/visits from various forum's (internal) posts as many users participate in forum regularly and clicks on various links those are pointing towards the various main pages of the website.

So, my question is

1- Are these users' visits from site's internal forum is residing in referral or direct traffic. Referral traffic resource of site's internal forum is not appearing as resource in the Referral traffic sources of Google Analytics.

or

2- Google analytics is not counting/considering these visits in any traffic resource as they are coming from the internal pages (forum pages)of the website.

Forum's pages are indexed in Google and other search engines.

Thanks
4:22 pm on July 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Do you mean this:

Step 1) Visitor enters your site through a forum page (which DOESN'T have google analytics tracking code).

Step 2) Same visitor then goes from a forum page to a non-forum page (that DOES have google analytics tracking code).

If so then I thought they would be considered "direct" traffic. At least that is what I thought.

But really, you should put the google analytics code on your forum pages, too.
8:49 pm on July 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I was thinking along the same lines because that's definitely how piwik works. It means you have to put the tracking code even on pages you're not particularly interested in, so that people moving to or from these pages will stay in your analytics.

Which is why sooner or later everyone caves in and starts using include files ;)
10:39 pm on July 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If so then I thought they would be considered "direct" traffic.

"direct" traffic is an HTTP Request without a Referer: header.
it has nothing to do with the presence or absence of analytics.
it's not something that you can influence as a webmaster.

GA will show traffic sources from many pages that do not have GA code installed.
for example, i doubt bing search pages have GA code installed...
1:24 am on July 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I don't know about the OP, but what I'm describing is what I've directly and personally witnessed. There are areas of the analytics report where they classify referers-- www site, search engine and so on-- but there's also a rough sort by entry page. If you enter the site on a page that doesn't have analytics installed, then the first page that does have analytics will be shown as your entry page, and it will be called a direct entry.
3:20 am on July 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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"direct entry" must be piwik's terminology but that doesn't equate to the accepted meaning of a direct (vs referred) visit.
if your log files have recorded a Referer then your analytics should be able to see that, regardless of the presence of analytics on the referring page.
4:14 pm on July 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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If you enter the site on a page that doesn't have analytics installed, then the first page that does have analytics will be shown as your entry page, and it will be called a direct entry.

I'm with phranque on this. Even if the initial entry page doesn't have analytics installed, the browser would still pass the Referer to the next page, the page with analytics installed.
11:03 pm on July 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hmm...

I did not know that (among other things).

Thanks for the explanation.
1:36 am on July 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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the browser would still pass the Referer to the next page, the page with analytics installed

The referer for page 2 is page 1. The browser doesn't tell page 2 who the referer was for page 1. That's what analytics are for.
5:02 am on July 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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or the server access log...
5:31 am on July 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well, sure, but if you've got a fully developed log-wrangling routine of your own, what do you need analytics for?

Don't know about GA but there's a recently released alternative form of piwik that works from your logs instead. Haven't tried it-- mainly because it would probably duplicate what I'm already getting out of logs. And logs by themselves can't show some of the interesting stuff, like how much of your internal navigation really gets used, or where people go when they leave your site. Sooner or later everyone must leave*-- but when they do, I'd just as soon they go where I send them ;) Besides, it means they don't bounce right back to the SERP, so that's good all around.


* Unless you've got one of those interactive sites that people keep open all the time in one tab, so they never "leave" unless they turn off the computer. That would apply to some forums.
 

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