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Google Analytics Now Classifies Bing Organic Traffic As Referral Traffic?

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Following some revealing discussion at webmasterworld.com, corroborating statements by Search Engine Land, and our own small look into the matter, it appears that Google Analytics (“GA”) just started reporting Bing organic search traffic as, well, something other than organic search traffic. According to new reports out of GA, one of the most popular web analytics services in the world, genuine organic traffic originating from queries made on the completing search engine Bing as referral traffic versus search traffic, which is how it categorizes organic traffic from Google queries.

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A bevy of questions immediately come to mind: One, why the switch up in the first place? Is it something that Google did purposefully to GA’s reporting structure, or is there something new and different going on at Bing.com that’s caused the adjustment? What are the upshots of this development, if any? Neither Google nor Bing have released comments yet, so speculation rules the conversation currently. Stay tuned though, we’ll update the story once definitive information is released.

Update:

Looks like someone from Bing came to save the day and explain this traffic conundrum. From searchengineland.com:

Our move to encrypt search by default as reported here combined with how search traffic is being identified [in GA itself] has likely contributed to the issue [of organic Bing traffic registering as referral traffic] becoming more noticeable in recent weeks.


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