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How-to 8 min read November 21, 2019

How to analyze traffic distribution between search engines

To understand whether it's Google, Bing or another search system that brings more traffic to your websites, you need to be able to analyze the distribution of traffic between search engines. Otherwise, you will not be able to determine the financial costs of increasing the ranking, and the conversion calculation will be incorrect.

What is organic traffic?

Organic traffic is visitors who came to your website from organic results, that is, free search results. This indicator differs from the term "search traffic": the latter also includes users who click on ads in contextual advertising in search results.

For the correct analysis of the sources of website traffic, it's important to divide it into several components: depending on the search engines under which the project is promoted. In this article, we'll see how to separate the organic traffic coming from Google and Bing, and correctly track the sources in Google Analytics.

Working with the Google Search Console

To get started, sign up for Search Console. After completing the identification process, select "Add a resource" item located in the upper right corner on the main page of the website. Next, enter the URL of the required domain and click "Add property." If everything goes well, you will see the following:
Google Search Console main page

Certification of rights to the website

In order for the system to determine whether you really own the selected resource, you need to go through the access confirmation procedure. The easiest way to do this is to add the HTML file offered by Search Console to the root folder of your website.

Thus, you can prove that you have administrator rights of the necessary resources. It's important not to change the file name, otherwise, the confirmation procedure will fail.
Verify domain ownership in Search Console
In order to download the confirmation file, click on the blue line "This HTML confirmation file". Next, open the file manager (for example, Total Commander) and connect to the FTP server where the files of your websites are stored.
Connecting to FTP server
After connecting to the server, you will see the following:
Site files on the FTP server
Next, go to "[domains]", select the folder with the website name to which you want to have access to. After that, you will see a list of folders containing resource files:
domains folder in the site root directory
In most cases, the root folder will have the name "[public_html]". Download the previously downloaded HTML document into it. To do this, drag it from the right window of Total Commander, which is responsible for the files of your computer.
Verification file in the site root directory
It should look like this:
Verifying site ownership using verification file
To confirm the successful completion of the download, click on the link provided on the confirmation page.
How to verify file uploading in Google Search Console

Analysis of traffic distribution between Google and Bing

In order to analyze the traffic distribution between the search engines Google and Bing, you need to have administrator rights in Google Analytics (GA). To get them, you need to register in the Google service, and then create an account in Analytics.

Make the name of the account, specify the domain and industry category. After that, you will have administrator rights on the account you created.
How to create a new reporting view in Google Analytics

Adding tracking code

To get full access to statistics, it's not enough just to confirm the rights to the website through the Search Console. You need to embed a code on all pages of the website for detailed tracking of traffic, without any exception.

For this, do the following:
1
Go to the "Admin" section in GA (the gear located in the lower-left corner).
2
Select "Create Property".
Create property in Google Analytics
3
In the window that appears, fill in all the fields (website name, domain, time zone, etc.)
4
Press the Create button.
Property details in Google Analytics
The system will generate a "Global Site Tag (gtag.js)". Implement this piece of code within the <head> block on all pages of the website.
Google Analytics tracking code
Example of code insertion:
Google Analytics Global site tag in the page code

Linking Search Console to Google Analytics

To get additional access to website statistics, you need to link your Search Console account to Google Analytics. To do this, go to the page of your website in the Search Console and click on the gear icon in the upper right corner. In the window that appears, select "Google Analytics Property."
How to link Google Search Console to Google Analytics
Ownership verification using Google Analytics account
After that, you will be redirected to a separate binding page. Follow the instructions given. If the operation is successfully completed, this page will look like this:
Ownership verification via Google Analytics
After about a day, your website will be added to Google Analytics, which will allow you to analyze in detail the traffic passing through it (mobile, organic, search engine traffic, etc.).

Moreover, you can determine the exact conversion value. This is the percentage of visitors who perform targeted actions on your website: purchase of products, clicking on advertising links, etc.

When the system starts collecting data from the website, you will see something like this on your website in the Search Console:
Tracking search traffic using Google Search Console performance

Adding Google to search results sources

To make Google's traffic look different from Bing's traffic when viewing statistics, add Google to the list of sources for common search results. After this, traffic from the Google search engine will be displayed as organic, that is, distinguishable from Bing traffic.


Select the desired online resource in the Analytics service. To do this, go to the "Administrator" tab, and then click on "Account" and "Property".
How to monitor traffic from search engines in Google Analytics
After that:

  • go to the "Tracking Info" sub-item;
  • click on "Organic search sources";
  • in the window that appears, select the option "Add search engine".

Next, you will see two fields: "Domain Name Contains" and "Query Parameter". To connect the Google search engine, enter "www.google.com" in the first field, and enter the parameter "q" in the second. It refers to search engines owned by Google.The "q" parameter is a small piece of code that makes it clear to the monitoring algorithm which traffic Google owns.
Organic search sources at Google Analytics
Click Create. Now traffic from this search network in the general statistics will be displayed as organic.

Comparing traffic between Google and Bing

Click on "Traffic Sources" located on the right side. Next, select the "Overview" sub-item, after which you will go to the "Traffic sources overview" section.
Traffic sources and channels in Google Analytics
Pay attention to two segments. The first is called Organic Traffic. After doing some manipulations, it corresponds to traffic from Google.

As the second segment, select "Table traffic"; it will be responsible for Bing traffic.

It should get something like this:
Traffic channels at Google Analytics

Conclusion

Organic traffic to the website is the transitions made from the results of organic SERP of all search engines. You need to do the following to analyze the distribution of organic traffic to a website between different search services, for example, Google and Bing:
1
Add your website to the Google Search Console. Embed the tracking code on all pages of the website.
2
Link your Search Console account to Google Analytics.
3
Add Google to your organic search results.
4
In the Overview section, review the distribution between organic traffic and tablet traffic.

This article is a part of Serpstat's Checklist tool
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Checklist is a ready-to-do list that helps to keep reporting of the work progress on a specific project. The tool contains templates with an extensive list of project development parameters where you can also add your own items and plans.
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