You might have noticed that Google Analytics shows visitors through duckduckgo.com (DDG) source to your website as referrals rather than organic search. The reason for duckduckgo.com being shown as the referral as it’s HTTPS encrypted.
But what does that mean? in simple words – when you click on a result shown by this search engine, it will directly use the link to that particular site as if it’s hyperlinked into the DDG website.
Unlike other search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo which redirect them to the particular website after a click action.
This unique redirection thus sends information to Google Analytics as an organic search, which in the case of DDG is not possible. Hence shows the results as a direct referral.
Though the duckduckgo.com search engine has its own private encryption policy. However, if you get a good amount of visitors through this source then you can set DuckDuckGo as an organic search in Google Analytics.
There have been multiple issues and feature requests raised with the Analytics team to list the DDG site as organic. I hope we will soon able to see the traffic listed under Organic without any setup.
Meanwhile, you can do the few settings in the admin tab as mentioned below to make sure that DDG traffic is categorized as Organic.
Set up in Organic search source settings
You can actually set up the traffic coming from a particular website as organic under the Organic Search Source setting as mentioned below.
- Log in to your Google Analytics console
- Navigate to Admin tab
- Select the Property to modify
- Click on Traffic info and
- Navigate into Organic search sources
- Click on Add Search engine and fill the fields
Within the input fields enter the details mentioned below.
- Add Search engine name: DuckDuckGo
- A domain name contains: duckduckgo.com
- Query parameter: uddg
You will be able to see the final version as below, hit on Save command to commit changes.
As DuckDuckGo is very keen on keeping the privacy of users, it’s not possible to get the keyword information in the Google Analytics report. Parameter uddg is only required for GA to differentiate between search VS non-search traffic source.
The keyword data will be still appearing in GA but as ‘not set‘ which could be preferably changed to ‘(not provided)‘ using view filters, if needed.
Setting up an advanced filter for DuckDuckGo
Another way to modify the incoming data for DuckDuckGo traffic is to set up an advanced view filter to extract and replace it with the Organic.
- Login to Google Analytics and visit the Admin tab
- Select the View under the Web Property that you want to modify and use for reporting
- Choose Filters options under and hit New Filter command
- Give the Filter an identifiable name like DuckDuckGo Organic
- Select filter type as Advanced
- Add regex expression to the Campaign Source in Field A: (http:\/\/)?(([^.]+)\.)?duckduckgo.com
- Select the Campaign Medium in Field B set to referral
- And lastly again Campaign Medium in Output to and set it to organic
- Tick the checkboxes as shown in the picture below and you will see correct filter GA reports
- Hit on Save command
Please note that domain name is case-sensitive, make sure to enter duckduckgo.com (all in small letters). And do not forget to enable the “Override Output Field” checkbox.
Once you set up this filter and publish the changes, all the forthcoming traffic from DDG will be tagged under organic source. The historical data available in GA will still appear as the referral as filter changes will be applicable from the date of creation.
What’s your thought?
I prefer personally prefer to tag my DDG traffic as Organic since the user driving from the source is actually searching for the content and landing on my blog. There are a lot of other traffic sources that are actually organic, you can use a similar set up to list referral traffic into organic.
Lastly, I just thought of sharing that I always prefer to use Google Tag Manager which makes a digital analytics guy’s life lot easy and flexible.
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