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I am forwarding traffic from one domain to another which is hosting a site with Google Analytics. The forwarding is done via the registrar's URL forwarding tools, which allows us to avoid creating an extra cPanel account just for forwarding.

The issue is that all of this referral traffic is showing up as direct traffic in Google Analytics. How do I change it to be shown as referral with the source URL as the referral source?

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What type of forwarding are you doing (e.g., 301 permanent redirect, URL masking, etc...)? – dan Jan 16 '14 at 4:18
This particular one is a regular redirect without URL masking. See link: – Knocks X Jan 16 '14 at 8:27

2 Answers 2

I changed my domain redirects to add utm parameters to the URLs. This causes Google Analytics to treat the traffic as "campaign" traffic rather than direct traffic.

When somebody types in my site site they now get redirected to:

I built this URL using the Google Analytics URL builder.

Unfortunately, your domain registrar won't support adding these parameters to the URL. I had to point the domains to my own server and do the redirects myself to be able to specify this behavior.

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Even if it's a bit more work up front, take the time to create that extra cPanel account. You'll be able to have a lot more control over where individual URLs redirect (especially if this domain hosted a website previously) and have better tracking on referrals.

If it's causing enough of a skew in your analytics to worry about, then it's likely worth the effort of managing properly.

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