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Criteria for discerning different types of search traffic

web analytics for SEO / SEM

9:29 pm on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi Everybody,

I am new to this forum I hope you can help. I am working on a web traffic source report. I am trying to parse out the following types of search traffic.

- Organic Search
- Paid search from search engine pages
- Paid search from search partners
- Paid search from the content network

Here are a few questions:

1) How do you (or analytics programs) filter out organic traffic from a search engine like Google vs. traffic from webmail such as GMail (or Yahoo Mail etc.)?

2) How do sites filter out paid search traffic from organic traffic? We put a parameter on all paid links but the numbers aren't matching up so I don't think this method is dependable.

3) Traffic from the content network has no keywords associated with it so how do you tell the difference between that and organic search?

Any methodology or ideas that you can share would be much appreciated.

Thanks. Kathryn
8:26 am on July 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Kathryn, you can use Google Analytics to have the know how of all the traffic you are getting on your website. Basically, in Google Analytics, traffic is divided into three types - direct traffic, search engine traffic and referral traffic. Here are the answers to your questions:

-When you look into organic search engine traffic there it is divided into total traffic, non-paid traffic and paid traffic and you can easily figure out the exact traffic through various sources.
-Organic traffic comes under the search engine traffic where as the traffic through gmail comes under referral traffic and it is shown like “mail.google.com/referral”
-Under the organic traffic you can check out the paid traffic by clicking on paid underneath the number of total visits
-From the content network, I guess you are talking about the website where we submit content and if it is so, then answer would be that this traffic comes under referral traffic and not organic traffic as it refers to the website.

I hope you got the answers to your problem. If you have any further query, please do post that.
9:09 am on July 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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- Paid search from the content network

when using Google analytics, traffic from the content network will be shown as such.
10:58 am on July 23, 2011 (gmt 0)


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welcome to WebmasterWorld, Kathryn!

most of this information is found in the Referer HTTP Request header:

usually your server access log files will include a column containing the referring url for each request.
for a variety of reasons, sometimes the referrer is blank, and it can be spoofed of course.