Customize organic search sources

Modify how organic searches are attributed.

This feature is only available for properties using Universal Analytics. Learn how to set up Universal Analytics or upgrade from Classic Analytics to Universal Analytics.

Google Analytics separates traffic that arrives at your site through a search engine result from traffic that arrives through other referring channels, like paid advertisement or another site that links to yours. In your reports, this traffic segment is called organic search traffic. For information on traffic types, read about traffic sources.

Analytics automatically recognizes the most popular search engines, and attributes traffic to these sources. Traffic that finds your site through any of the default search engines appears as organic search traffic in your reports. Traffic that finds your site through any search engine not included in this list is considered referral traffic, (not as organic search traffic), in your reports.

You can add, delete, and reorder the list of recognized search engines to modify how organic search traffic is attributed in your account and how the data appears in your reports.

How the list of search engines affects your data

Analytics attributes incoming traffic to one source. Organic search traffic is assigned to the first search engine on your list that matches the domain name and query parameter of the incoming user.

For example, if you list google.com first and images.google.com second (and both sites use the same query parameter, like q), all searches that happen on images.google.com are attributed to google.com. To change this attribution, you can reorder these search engines in the list to prioritize how sessions are attributed. In this example, you could list images.google.com before google.com so searches are properly attributed.

You can also remove search engines from this list. Traffic arriving from any search engine you remove appear as referral traffic instead of as organic search traffic.

If you control a search engine that overlaps with another in this list, and if they use the same query parameter, you could also avoid this situation by changing your search parameter to something unique.

Change your organic search traffic settings

This setting is controlled applied in the admin settings of each property in your account. To add, edit, reorder, or remove search engines:

  1. Navigate to a property. If you're not in the settings menu, click Admin. Select the account and property you want to edit.
  2. From the property column, click Tracking Info then Organic Search Sources.
  3. Click +Add Search Engine.
  4. In the form, specify what the Domain Name Contains and the Query Parameter. You can also specify a Search Engine Name and what the Path Contains.
  5. Click Create.

Click edit or delete to change or remove a search engine you’ve already added. To reorder the list, drag and drop the order of each row by using the mouse to grab the dots left of the search engine name.

Visit our developer guide for more ways to add and remove search engines from this list and for a complete reference on managing search engines and referrers. You can also see the list of default search engines recognized in Google Analytics.