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How to find referring url using Google Analytics?

     
11:23 am on Sep 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi just today for sometime my site got many more visitors than normal.

So in Google analytics I checked referral sites in my app and found for the first time news.google.com was sending me visitors

My question is there any way to find the exact url on news.google.com that sent me traffic?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
1:05 pm on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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You might find it in your server log. If your web host doesn't/can't provide a log, change host.

Referrer details can be masked or spoofed, so what you see in your logs will depend on how Google passes the page request to your server, but there is a chance you will get more than just news.google,com.
1:40 pm on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So no way to find referral url in Google Analytics?
1:55 pm on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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No, Google Analytics does not go in this detail. As Wilburforce said, server logs are your best bet. Open server logs and search for the domain name of the referal site. This is pretty straight forward.
2:24 pm on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Look under your bed. I use PIWIK which may or may not get that data from Gorg.
4:19 pm on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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can't find the country/place from where the traffic is coming and that will be good enough for you to ascertain which set of users that google is sending you...
7:50 pm on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@born2run. You may be able to see the referring page in some cases by using the following method:

Go to Acquisition>All Traffic> Referrals

It should give you a list of the referring domains. Then, click on "Secondary Dimension" above the list of domains and search for and select "referral path." That should give you the referring page, where one is available, next to each domain.

Another way to do it is to just click on the domain in the Referrals report, and it will list all the referring URLs from that domain.
5:10 am on Sept 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks all, I tried the GA method ACfinla suggested but couldn't find the url. I then grepped access-logs to search for news.google.com and that seems to work although it also didn't show referral url for whatever reason..
6:50 am on Sept 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Or for easy life install clicky. It complements Analytics brilliantly by doing all those things that Analytics annoyingly foes not do.
8:52 am on Sept 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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born2run - I know you've been asking questions on the forum over the past two years, but have you been reading anything over that time? I believe this is where it was left....

Not Provided - Looks like organic keyword data is gone
Sept-Oct, 2013
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4612072.htm [webmasterworld.com]

All Google searches, logged in or not, appear to be routed to https today. Clients who previously were running about 40 to 50% not provided are now up above 95%. Looks like organic keyword data is gone.

There's essentially no query info in your logs including query information in the url, which is why you can't find it.

Since the time of the Great Vacuum, SpyFu and SEMrush have been the main tools available for keyword popularity, both PPC and organic, but that's not the same as referral information. I've also been frustrated by lack of information on keyword phrases that aren't the most popular. Both tools have an incredible amount of data, if you can apply it to your situation, but IMO they're not good in long tail.

For matching referrers to landing pages, there have been several suggestions for ways of combining WMT and Google Analytics data... You spot poorly performing urls in Analytics and and match them statistically with likely queries noted in WMT, using Excel and regular expressions, and several other tools.

How To Replace Google’s (Not Provided) Data To Strike SEO Gold
Chris Liversidge on May 5, 2015
[searchengineland.com...]

The key to matching these data sets is a firm statistical bond — our zipper — matching the keyphrase to the landing page.
I haven't heard of third party reports from those that have tried this. Would love more feedback.

Shai, it would be helpful to know more about what clicky does that GA doesn't. Is the free version at all useful? The site seems to want you to sign up before they get down to the nitty gritty of what the software does, and that always bothers me. I'm assuming if you recommend it that it has some good qualities. What specifics might be useful in this situation.

I have my own theories that it's better to target your demographic and various likely uses of your products than it is to chase keywords. I'd particularly avoid chasing subtle long tail variations via multiple pages, which might even be seen as doorway pages.

But it's good to do some basic research for core terms that have proven historically popular. Unfortunately, we've just lost the auto-suggest data that we had in our WebmasterWorld free tools... Google shut down the API to everyone earlier in the month.
1:22 pm on Sept 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Shai, it would be helpful to know more about what clicky does that GA doesn't. Is the free version at all useful? The site seems to want you to sign up before they get down to the nitty gritty of what the software does, and that always bothers me. I'm assuming if you recommend it that it has some good qualities. What specifics might be useful in this situation.


We only use the free version although I have got myself a note to give the paid version a try one day. At the moment, what we use it for, the free version is absolutely fine.

With regards to what it does better, well, for a start, you can easily see data such as referrals (the OP query), IP addresses and traffic locations down to city/town. You can easily sort via this data making it very useful for those times when you want to track down the origins of a negative SEO attack, or in some cases, take pre-emptive actions. For example, quite a while ago, we saw suspicious activity from a repeated visitor with an IP address originating in Russia. Doing a simple search on Google for the IP produced a forum post of someone complaining of a hack from that IP address. Obviously, the IP was some sort of robot trying to find a weakness in our systems. We blocked the ip range and that was that. We also sometimes use it when we have a suspicious query on the phone. Quickly bring up Clicky, and you can easily and very quickly find out what the person calling you has been looking at on the site, how many times over the last few weeks and where they came from. This can help weed out competitors just sniffing around from real potential clients by easily looking at what they looked at, how long they stayed on page and just the whole path of the site.

Yes, most of the above can be done with Analytics but with Clicky it can be done in a fraction of the time. It does have its shortcomings and sometimes, the way it tries to group data it assumes is from the same location can be wrong but as a quick view in some instances, its very useful.

I know it has a heat maps type section which I tried once before but did not find it THAT useful and that would be the only reason that I may one day pay for it to see if that is more helpful now than it was previously.

Hope this helps.
7:48 pm on Sept 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Will clicky work (as in accurately track stuff) if your site uses a CDN?
9:23 pm on Sept 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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With regards to what it does better, well, for a start, you can easily see data such as referrals (the OP query), IP addresses and traffic locations down to city/town.

Ahh, the location of the referrer url, but not the query string. That has been removed by Google, and yes, it is arguably Google's data to remove. I misread the OP's post.

born2run... my apologies, though I hope the off-topic information might be helpful.

Shai... thanks for your thoughtful answer. Following up further on clicky, have you tried it simultaneously with Google Analytics (or have you sworn off GA completely?) I'm wondering about speed issues in particular, and also whether the combination of the two might provide a richer picture.