Why can’t I see the Wikipedia referral URL in my Google Analytics data?

February 8, 2017 - SEO

might be looking at your Google Analytics and seeing that Wikipedia is a large chunk of your referral traffic. That’s great news, but you can’t see which specific Wikipedia entry it came from.

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That’s because Wikipedia, like many organizations, moved to a secure website a.k.a HTTPS. When Wikipedia switched to HTTPS:// on June 12, 2015, so all the detailed referral data and referral paths including which specific Wiki entry URL sent traffic to your site was no longer available in Google Analytics.

From Wikipedia:

The Wikimedia Foundation is happy to announce that we are implementing HTTPS to encrypt all traffic on Wikimedia sites. With this change, nearly half a billion monthly visitors on Wikipedia and its sister projects will be able to share in the world’s knowledge more securely.

If you’ve been playing in the search space for sometime, this will sound familiar. When Google started securing their search queries, referral strings from Google searches started up showing up as “no keyword” and “not provided”. With the flip of a switch, SEOs and webmasters worldwide lost out on significant critical search data within Google Analytics, Omniture and other reporting tools.

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How Can You Identify the Specific Wikipedia URL Referrer?

There’s a couple ways that you can find out which Wikipedia entries (or entry) is linking to you. The easiest way is to use the “Site:” operator in Google. Go to Google and type in “Site:Wikipedia.org” then add your website in quotes. For example, here’s a screencap of what I did:

Using the “Site:” operator, I was able to quickly solve which Wikipedia URL was sending me traffic. For my example, there was only one Wikpedia result, so that mystery was quickly demystified.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only Wikpedia page linking to your site. This only works if Wikipedia refers to your site by the actual domain “stuarte.co” so if there’s anchor text hiding your site (usually the title of your post), you won’t be able to locate it using the Site: operator.

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The other quick way is to go into your old referral data before Wikipedia went HTTPS (June 12, 2015) to see which Wiki URL was sending traffic. Obviously if you started getting traffic from Wikipedia after that date, you won’t be able to get it this way.

There’s other ways that I won’t go into because I have other things to do, so I’ll just send you to this super informative post by SEMRUSH instead :) Hope that helped. If not, good luck!

› tags: Google Analytics / HTTPS / no keyword / not provided / Referral path / referral string / seo / wikpedia /

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