My previous post describes Google Instant and the new search results user interface. Now that folks have had several hours to play certain realizations begin to set in. What does this mean for Search Engine Optimization? What does this mean for my traffic?
All good questions in this post I will address the first question which came to my mind. What about Analytics? How do I track Google Instant partial queries? Now that Google is presenting real time or instant results, there is a high chance that the query string that gets passed to Google Analytics is incomplete or rather partial because the link was displayed before the user even completed typing the query!
For example an instant query result for “weather” may only be passing along “w” as the query parameter to Analytics since Google displays the link to weather after just typing “w”. To understand what a user needed to type to find the result they were looking for an additional parameter is being used in the result set. The parameter is “oq=” which will give you the information you are looking for.
To track Partial Queries, and their position in Google Instant, you will need to create a new profile along with a new filter in your Google Analytics Report. It is pretty straight forward; below is a sample filter you can use to start tracking.
- Create a new Filter name: “New Instant Ranking Filter”
- Set Filter type: “Custom filter – Advanced”
- Field A -> Extract A: Referral, ^https?://www\.google\.(co.uk|com)/(?!custom|m/).*[?#&]cd=([^&]+).*&q=([^&]+).*&oq=([^&]+)
- Field B -> Extract B: Medium:^organic$
- Output To -> User Defined: $A5 (position: $A3)
You may have to play a little with the filter for you specific requirement but this should give you a good start.
Let me know if you have any other suggestion or comments.