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I am looking at my traffic data for users that have 'not found' in the page title, which is what is title content when the server uses the 404 template. In analytics: behavior > site content > all pages, set page title as primary dimension and add filter to only include the not found page titles.

I'm looking at one row in particular; I have 54 pageviews on this 404 page. Let's say we are looking at www.domain.com/page/path/level. If I add a secondary dimension of source/medium I see that all 54 hits are google/organic. So that brings me to my first question:

Question 1. Does the source/medium value of google/organic mean that this exact page (www.domain.com/page/path/level) was listed in a google SERP and that is how users landed on this page? Or does it just mean that user session started from a google SERP, but then they navigated to a 404?

If I change the secondary dimension to previous page path I see that 38 out of my 54 pageviews have (entrance) as the value. If I change the secondary dimension to landing page, 52 of the pageviews have the same domain (www.domain.com/page/path/level) as the landing page.

Question 2. How does the value in previous page path of (entrance) differ from the landing page of a page being itself (i.e. landing page for www.domain.com/page/path/level is www.domain.com/page/path/level, meaning... it landed on itself(?) )?

In google search console (previously webmaster tools) when I search the analytics of my domain I don't see the path path of the 404 that I see in google analytics. For example, I can filter the pages of my domain to find a similar path like www.domain.com/page/a/somewhat/different/path/level.

Question 3. Why is that? If any traffic is listed as google/organic or as landing on itself from google, shouldn't that mean that there would be data in search console that I can see?

  • Sorry if I can't answer the technicalities for google analytics, but when you get a set of confusing data you're trying to piece together, the most trustworthy source is your server log for your website. It then shows you who and when someone accessed a 404 error page. – Mike Nov 18 '15 at 17:48
  • @Mike Right, I was just hoping to abstract out that work by using a tool I'm already using. – smilebomb Nov 18 '15 at 18:10
  • Can you also list your unique pageviews? – sdhaus Dec 14 '16 at 22:37
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if you're looking at Site content> All pages, then the source medium will be how they got to your site for the visit/session that included a pageview of that page.

The secondary dimension of previous page path that tells you how many times it was entrance, is telling you how many time it was a landing page. (look at unique pageviews for the deduped figure)

I'm not sure what you mean about changing the secondary dimension to landing page - if that was the landing page, then yes, the page reported will be the same.

To find where people came from, use the landing page report, filter to your 404 pages, and add source/medium as a secondary dimension

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