Add Ignored Chinese Search Engines to Google Analytics

Soso, Sogou, Qihu and Youdao are counted as referral traffic sources in the default settings of Google Analytics

Posted by Ryan on 2013-05-10

By default, Google Analytics recognizes only around 40 search engines, according to the official Default Search Engine List on Google Developers.

But in real world, there should be more than just 40 search engines.

In China alone, besides the dominant player Baidu, there are several other search engines, whose market shares may be low but the real numbers of users are considerable due to the total market size, including Soso, Sogou, Qihu and Youdao, all of which are counted as referral traffic sources in the default settings of Google Analytics.

Recently a client of ours learned the lesson painfully. They are a photo-sharing site where users can create photo albums, and upload and share photos. They used the default Google Analytics settings and they found their organic traffic was not good.

After analyzing their server logs, we found their traffic should be much higher than what they saw in Google Analytics. That led us to figure out what the problem is:

The organic traffic from Baidu Image Search is labeled as referral traffic in their Google Analytics account.

That’s because Baidu Image Search uses a different query parameter than Baidu Web Search. Baidu uses the parameter “wd” for its web search but “word” for its image and video search.

(Please note the moble version of Baidu also uses the query parameter “word” instead of “wd”. Sometimes even Baidu Web Search uses “word”. More information about the URL parameters of Baidu)

How to Add These Ignored Search Engines?

The good news is since the traffic code of Google Analytics is using Javascript, it’s quite easy to customize the tracking code to add addtional search engines. The method to use is _addOrganic().

To add the suggested Chinese engines, you need to edit your Google Anlaytics codes to make it look like this:

Last updated: 2013 May 10
<script type="text/javascript">

var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXXXXX-1']);
_gaq.push(['_addOrganic', 'baidu', 'word']); // track organic traffic from Baidu Image, Baidu Video and Baidu Mobile. And actually sometimes Baidu Web Search itself uses the query paramter "word" too. What a mess
_gaq.push(['_addOrganic', 'soso', 'w']); // track organic traffic from
_gaq.push(['_addOrganic', 'youdao', 'q']); // track organic traffic from
_gaq.push(['_addOrganic', 'so', 'q']); // track organic traffic from
_gaq.push(['_addOrganic', '360', 'q']); // track organic traffic from, which is redirected to now
_gaq.push(['_addOrganic', 'sogou', 'query']); // track organic traffic from

(function() {
var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);


Is there another Chinese search engine you want to add? Leave us the web address of the search engine and we will update the codes.

Related posts:

Stay up to date