Auto-fill: another reason to get keywords into page URLs

Yesterday I talked about trying to identify our traffic sources better in Google Analytics. Visits whose sources are unidentifiable can be so for several reasons, but an increasing reason is “auto-fill”.

Many people refer to auto-fill as the “new bookmarking”. Your browser is now intelligent enough to show you URLs from a page you’ve visited before which contain a term you’re typing into the address bar with the intention of searching for it.

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For example, there’s a page I’ve visited before called “Engineering Notes”. I want to visit this page, but I don’t know the URL (and probably wouldn’t type it in, even if I did). So I go to the browser’s address bar, and start to type “engineering notes”, expecting to hit return and get a Google search result on that term. However, in the autofill suggestions, as I type in the term, I notice that it’s offering a URL with the term “engineering notes” in it, and I can clearly see that this is the one I want. One click and I’m there, but as far as the visitor analytics for the site are concerned, I typed in the URL myself, and the source is dismissed as “(direct)”.

My takeaway from this is that getting key search terms into the URLs on your website is more important than ever. It could be the key to helping prospects find your site in the future.

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