It’s important to monitor the amount of traffic coming to your website from the search engines, but this data can be misleading. That’s because the bulk of the traffic coming from search engines will be for your company name, or brands, and although that’s important, it’s not the stuff you’re interested in when you ask the question: “are we doing better or worse in the search engines?” What you’ll more likely be talking about is the generic searches such as “blue widgets”.
So everyone should have a report which looks at just this traffic, and discards all the searches with the company name in. Here’s how to do it in Google Analytics.
Firstly, you need to identify the common terms which mark out the branded traffic. To do this, visit Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic. Set the date period to as long as you can, and down the bottom, set “show” to 500 rows. Now “Export” to Excel, or CSV if you use a different spreadsheet. This will show you the 500 search terms which sent the most visitors. From that list, you can select the terms which represent branded traffic; for us it’s just “BMON” and “Business Marketing Online”, but you’ll probably have product brands in there too, and you might have some common misspellings.
Now we’re going to make a “segment” (a filter) of the search engine visits which didn’t have those terms in the search which sent them.
Click “Advanced Segments” and “+ New Custom Segment”. Name the segment something like “Non-Branded Search Traffic”. Now add your search terms, or parts which are common to them, “Excluded”, adding them as “AND” statements, like this:
You may well have more than two. Don’t forget that your entries above can represent more than one search if they’re included in both of them, e.g “business marketing” above will account for “business marketing”, “business marketing online” and “business marketing online ltd”.
“Save Segment” and you’re done. Now you can look at any of your reports and just examine the traffic which did not come from search engines with your branded terms in. Just select “Non-Branded Search Traffic” in the “Advanced Segments” section above any report.
A good report to try might be to tick both “Non-Branded Search Traffic” and “Search Traffic” in the “Advanced Segments” section, then go back to the Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic report above. Now you’ll see a graph of your total search traffic, and below this, the non-branded search traffic. If the latter is very low and not really visible, untick the “Search Traffic”. Using the “Email” button, you can set yourself up with a nice monthly report too, if you wish.