Get Google Suggest suggestion keywords in Google Analytics

Version française / French version

UPDATE: this is impacted by Google Instant and the (not provided) effect

Here is a post that will help you identify traffic generated by Google Suggest in Google Analytics. You will learn how to modify keywords to include both the original keyword and the suggested keyword.

Let’s say you decide to Google yourself. As you start typing your own name, Google will offer a list of suggested entries:

As you click on one of these suggestions, you will end up on a SERP (search engine results page) with a URL to the effect of:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=julien+coquet&meta=&aq=0&oq=julien+coq

As you can see, the URL contains two interesting parameters:

  • q : suggested keyword (e.g. “julien coquet”)
  • oq : original query/keyword as it was being typed (e.g. “julien coq”)

So far, so good.

Great, now how do I capture this information?

Given that Google Analytics truncates referrer URLs right after the  querystring delimiter ‘?’, you’re going to need to use a user-defined value to store the value of the oq variable. Do not forget to create a custom filter to capture the entire referrer string in a user-defined value before trying the instructions below!

You can also decide te rewrite your keywords on the fly, like so:

suggested phrase (typed phrase)

Look at the filter definition below (click to enlarge) :

Google Suggest filter:

  • Type: Custom
  • Field A: User-defined ; google.{2,3}/.*&oq=(\w+)
  • Field B: Campaign Term ; (.*)
  • Output to : Campaign Term ; $B1 ($A1)

In effect, this will append the original search phrase (oq) to the suggested query (q) , so, in the case of my self-Googling:

julien coquet (julien coq)

Below is an example of the type of keyword reports you can expect (pardon my French):

Here is how to get this sort of report:

  • Filter your GA profile by filtering user-defined values containing ‘oq’
  • Browse a search keywords report and include only (/w+)
    you can use additional
    /w (word) blocks in your regular expressions to look for larger phrases
  • Use an advanced segment

Before you start polluting your data, use a separate profile for this trick.

This little workaround should help you see whether your visitors got distracted by suggested phrases.

As always, constructive comments are welcome! ;-)

Happy filtering!