Analytics for online retailers


google.com organic referrer update

Back in April 2009 Google announced a change to search referrals coming from google.com. The old familiar format when you search on google.com

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=flowers&btnG=Google+Search

would be replaced with:

http://www.google.com/webhp#hl=en&q=flowers

Initially, some people were concerned that the use of the hashtag # in the URL would cause issues with web analytics tracking, but Google found a way to make sure that the referrer data would still be valid (albeit different) when visitors click on a results link. This is what the new referrer string looks like:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&ved=0CBYQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.1800flowers.com%2F&rct=j&<br /> <strong>q=flowers</strong>&ei=9EuxS5XsCI3-tQOJlo2PAQ&usg=AFQjCNHgC4BdrCNZRz6VZnHa2XGbvsBKmA

In December 2009 I estimated the proportion of these new Google organic referrers to be 10%. It looks like that this proportion has now been bumped up to 20% since early February 2010:

newgooglereferrer

exactrankingjan

So, how is this information actionable? I will admit that I primarily just wanted to make this observation about the referrer change rollout, but one thing you can do with the new referrer format is find out the exact search results ranking.


Published: 30 March 2010

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