DuckDuckGo has grown search query share ever since it launched in 2008. Within Google Analytics, you will see traffic from this source listed as referral instead of organic. To change this, you will need to update a filter and the natural search sources within Google Analytics. Once this is set up, you will then count these searches as organic moving forward. Let’s begin!
How to Add DuckDuckGo as Organic Visits in Google Analytics
The first thing you should do is split out the view of your website. You should have a raw listing which does not have any filters on your site and then have at least another listing that has filters. Custom filters are a great way to split your traffic correctly, so read up on that link I provided if you are unsure what to do.
Assuming you are good with the step above, you will need to head to the admin–> view–> filter section within GA. From here, we will need to create a new advanced filter. This picture below shows the breakdown of what you need to add. The way to read this is that you have to choose custom under the filter type and click on advanced. From there, you need to specify where the source you want to change is coming from. You then have to label that this medium is the referral and that it should go to organic.
Here is what I typed in Field A if it is easier to read like this. (http:W)?(([^.]+)\.)?duckduckgo\.com
The second thing you need to do is add DuckDuckGo as an organic source in Google Analytics. To do this, you need head to admin –> tracking info –> organic search sources. Once you get there, you can add DuckDuckGo like this.
How to Test This?
Since we are using an advanced filter in GA, we can’t verify this just on the screen. The best way to do this is to go to real-time data within Google Analytics and do a search on DuckDuckGo and go to your site. If you see the visit marked as organic, you are right!
How DuckDuckGo is Different from Google?
There are similarities in both engines. Both are search engines that offer blue links to search results based on the query that you typed in. Sometimes the results are pretty much the same with Google. However, the main difference between DuckDuckGo and Google comes down to user privacy.
This search engine does not track your searches. What I mean by this is that Google and Bing mine your search behavior to serve targeted ads to you. There is nothing wrong about that, but DuckDuckGo was created to give the user privacy on what they search for. You might not notice this, but Google can show personalized searches for you on topics that they feel best to serve your intent. Again, there is nothing wrong with that, but you might have a slightly distorted view of the web if you have a filter that might show you results on topics you only want to see. If you are interested in learning more about this, you can check this out.
Right after Edward Snowden came out about the NSA and tracking users, DuckDuckGo has seen a dramatic rise in the number of searches. This is the reason it is essential to add DuckDuckGo as an organic source in Google Analytics is that it is growing in popularity. Even though it will probably never reach Google’s height, you can expect more queries to increase. Here is a screenshot of the rise of sessions from DuckDuckGo. Since you are getting them from an organic source, you might as well count it.
Why Does Google Analytics List DuckDuckGo as Referral Traffic?
The reason that this is the case is that this search engine is HTTPS encrypted with its URL. That means the keywords that you type in do not pass over to another party. Since that is the case, GA defaults this as a referral visit from the source which is DDG.
The best part of these steps is that you do not need a developer to add them. You do need to have access to Google Analytics and have the ability to make the changes above. This search engine has a lot of great features that will enrich your experience.