My last post, Why Organic Search Numbers Sometimes Mislead, discussed the importance of breaking out branded searches from unbranded ones when reviewing your organic search analytics. It also cautioned that there were a couple tricks to accurately calculating what percentage of your traffic comes from branded search. Here they are:
1. Use the search function within Analytics to identify all the branded search terms. You’d be surprised what people search on. To use our site as an example, in addition to “Evergreen Marketing,” a significant number of people come to our site by searching on these keywords:
Evergreen Shelton CT
If I look in Analytics for search terms that include “Evergreen” and “Gosset” (and the common misspelling “Gossett”), I can uncover most of the branded searches that drove traffic to our site.
Keep in mind that your SEO efforts tend to drive unbranded traffic, while branded searches generally represent people who are already familiar with your company.
2. Google Analytics lists a tremendous percentage of your organic search as “not provided.” 75% to 85% of organic search usually falls in this nebulous category. “Not provided” represents people who were logged into a Google account while they were searching, or who used specific browsers, among other things.
To calculate what percentage of your organic search is branded, subtract the number of “not provided” searches from the total searches, and calculate branded searches as a percentage of the balance (i.e., all searches for which the keyword is known).
You can learn a lot from reviewing your analytics, but it can be easy to jump to the wrong conclusion if you don’t dig deeply enough.