I'm new to SEO and website management, but eager to learn. I manage a newly revamped site and I'm tracking it on Google Analytics and in Google Webmaster tools. The Webmaster tools show that I get about 3200 impressions and 180 click through's a week. Google Analytics show that no traffic comes from search engins, all of the traffic is direct. On average, I get about 60-80 visitors a day, shouldn't Google Analytics show at least a few of those visitors as having come from the search engines?.

What does that discrepancy mean? I can't seem to wrap my mind around it...

Thank you in advance, Svetlana

  • It will help if you paste the google analytics code your using on the pages. That might lead to a clue. It's possible to have impressions without traffic from search engines, but I'm not sure the click through's part makes any sense.
    – JMC
    Apr 29 '11 at 2:58
  • I agree the click through part confuses me as well. I'm using the standard code, provided in the Analytics setup. Here it is:<script type="text/javascript"> var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-16852855-4']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })(); </script>
    – Svetlana
    Apr 29 '11 at 21:11
  • Looking in Analytics do you have any data under the key word reports? and if so does Google show up as a source? May 3 '11 at 21:10
  • Hi Matthew, no analytics is not showing anything for keywords at all, but webmasters tool does. What is funny that another site I track on Analytics, has the same code installed but it shows google as the traffic source and also shows the keywords that brought people over.
    – Svetlana
    May 5 '11 at 20:29
  • just out of interest are you using adwords / adsense or something simlar to drive traffic to the site? May 11 '11 at 12:38

Here's one possible scenario.

  • Google Webmaster Tools tracks searches and clicks TO your domain
  • Google Analytics records page views and keywords ON your domain
  • So between leaving Google and reaching your pages with the GA tag, the keywords are getting stripped

Things to check:

  • Analytics is correctly configured on every page - make sure the tracking tag in use on the homepage is that same as the internal pages
  • You might have JavaScript redirects that are stripping out the referrer and keyword information - browse your site with JS disabled and see if everything behaves properly
  • You might have meta-refreshes that are redirecting visitors and losing the referrer info. Disable meta-refreshes and try browsing the site.
  • You might have some server-side redirects that strip the referrer information - use a tool like redbot.org to see what headers are being returned when you request your site

Update: here's my generic simple .htaccess. I've modified it for your case to redirect to Home.html. Let me know if it works.

Update 2: I've added in the redirect to www. based on Paul Irish's HTML5 Boilerplate, which has the most comprehensive .htaccess I know:

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------
# Start rewrite engine
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------

# Turning on the rewrite engine is necessary for the following rules and features.

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
  RewriteEngine On

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------
# Suppress or force the "www." at the beginning of URLs
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------

# The same content should never be available under two different URLs - especially not with and
# without "www." at the beginning, since this can cause SEO problems (duplicate content).
# That's why you should choose one of the alternatives and redirect the other one.

# By default option 1 (no "www.") is activated. Remember: Shorter URLs are sexier.
# no-www.org/faq.php?q=class_b

# If you rather want to use option 2, just comment out all option 1 lines
# and uncomment option 2.

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------

# Option 1:
# Rewrite "www.domain.com -> domain.com" 

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
  RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
  RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.+)$ [NC]
  RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://%1/$1 [R=301,L]

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------

# Option 2:
# To rewrite "domain.com -> www.domain.com" uncomment the following lines.
# Be aware that the following rule might not be a good idea if you
# use "real" subdomains for certain parts of your website.

# <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
#   RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
#   RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\..+$ [NC]
#   RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} (.+)$ [NC]
#   RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%1/$1 [R=301,L]
# </IfModule>

# Installation directory
RewriteBase /

# Protect hidden files from being viewed
<Files .*>
    Order Deny,Allow
    Deny From All

# Allow any files or directories that exist to be displayed directly
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

# Rewrite all other URLs to Home.html
RewriteRule .* Home.html [PT]

Note: you'll have to rename or delete the existing index.html for this to work.

  • thanks for your reply! The scenario you gave makes sense. Now as far as checking things: Analytics cide us the same on every page - it is copy/pasted straight from the settings page in my analytics profile. I do have Java applets running on the site and some features are not functioning with Java blocked (i.e. the blog summary, photo gallery) - would that matter? I used redbot.org and I'm not really sure what I'm looking at... LIke I mentioned, I'm new to this :) But looks like everything came back green.I get a flag "The Content-Length header is correct" is that what I'm looking for?
    – Svetlana
    May 31 '11 at 16:46
  • Does any one have any suggestions? Any comments would be greatly appreciated. I am still at a loss as to why this is happening.
    – Svetlana
    Jul 12 '11 at 23:19
  • Hi @Svetlana, can you post the URL of your site?
    – Ciaran
    Jul 13 '11 at 1:53
  • Hi @ciarian, here is the URL: criscyborg.com
    – Svetlana
    Jul 13 '11 at 23:51
  • Your homepage, criscyborg.com, is doing a meta-refresh, which redirects visitors to criscyborg.com/home.html. This is killing the referrer information. Set up a 301 redirect from the home page to home.html and you will be fine. You can see the problem if you do a view-source on the home page:- in Chrome, view the following URL: view-source:criscyborg.com
    – Ciaran
    Jul 14 '11 at 2:18

Got it! I guess I renamed the file in my published folder and forgot to delete the original file on the server :) Duh!!!

  • I think I've got a problem now, I am getting a 403 forbidden error when I go to www.criscyborg.com. How come? I noticed it after I deleted the index file! I renamed the file back index.html and deleted the .htaccess but I was still not getting the redirect to criscyborg.com/home. I had to revert it back to original configuration and only then it was fixed.... Why does it have to be so difficult?
    – Svetlana
    Aug 14 '11 at 3:40
  • I think you need to do some testing to see if you mod_rewrite is working? Maybe you can ask technical support at your host? workingwith.me.uk/articles/scripting/mod_rewrite
    – Ciaran
    Aug 14 '11 at 16:43
  • Thanks! I'll ask them, but I doubt they'll be able to help. They were the first resource I tried using when I first noticed this issue, all they advised was to set up a 301 redirect. As far as testing goes, is there a way to do it so the site does not become dysfunctional while I'm playing around?
    – Svetlana
    Aug 15 '11 at 7:13

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