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I started working on my own piece about this, then Raven tipped me to this article from them on how yes, Virginia, there's still perfectly fine tracking of Google referrers from search despite Google Instant.
Comments5 Comments  


Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2813 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Here's the bottom line from what I also started working on. Do a search on Google, say for cars, using Google Instant. The URL of the search page will be:

You can see the term cars that's in there, from when you select that. If you don't manually select it, you also seem to get a really long URL like this:,25221,25900,26206,26446,26515&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=cars&cp=4&pf=p&sclient=psy&site=&source=hp&aq=f&aqi=g4g-o1&aql=&oq=cars&...

Now you have that &=oq reference as well. I guess the idea is that if you track that part, then you can tell something came from Google Instant search (which itself is becoming less an issue over time as EVERYTHING will be Google Instant search).

Anyway, even that tracking won't really work, because that's not actually the referring URL. The referring URL is going to be the tracking URL that Google uses, embedded in any listing.

For example, in that search, typically comes up top. If you click on that, this is the actual URL you're asking for looks like this:

The term cars is in the string, and that's what Google Analytics should register.

That's when I copy a URL out of Firefox. In Chrome and IE, it looks more like this:

There's no embedded term that I can see. But I'm guessing that JavaScript in those browsers is somehow not grabbing that for some reason, as it does in Firefox -- but that the terms are still passed on if you actually click.

Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2812 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Bump. You need to know this.

Avatar Moderator
from incrediblehelp 2812 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Doesnt Google perfectly state this on there blog.  The fact that incomplete queries will not show up in GA?  You can do some filtering to get that data if you like:

from semetrical 2812 Days ago #
Votes: 0

We've gone through all Google's referring URLs in the last 24 hours and we haven't found any URLs with the original query value included so unfortunately it seem it's not possible to track Google Instant. All the referrals containing the oq= are most likely to be from the old Google suggest function.

We've updated our post.

from MarkBarrera 2812 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@semetrical - What URLs are you seeing as your referrers?  I'm still seeing the oq= in all referring traffic I'm seeing today.

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