Tracking search engines country-specific domain (ccTLD) in analytics

Tracking country-specific domain ccTLD's in analytics

Hi, my name is Menachem and I am an organic search specialist here at 3 Door Digital. This is my first post on the blog and I wanted to let you all know English is not my first language, I am far more comfortable in Hebrew! So if you don’t understand anything or have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Recently I have been working on a project which has required me to understand user locations, and the search engines they are using. Standard settings in Analytics were not enough, so I decided to learn how to better set things up and I thought i’d share you in on how I did it.

So, how do you go about tracking where your users are coming from worldwide?

If you analyse data from core log files or use another analytics providers such as Clicky then you won’t have this problem. Of course, there are all the regular ways in Google Analytics, allowing you to see the location of the user and the traffic source – but that’s pretty much it.

This situation can really leave you in the dark about the source of a high percentage of your organic traffic. If a user comes from Google and his location is Canada did they come through, or maybe they came from, after all, there are a lot of French speakers in Canada.

See some examples:

country vs organic source

As marketers we are always looking to know as much about our users and their behaviour as possible, implementing the following can give you further insight into them.

Step by step: How to track the ccLTD of the search engines in Google Analytics

  1. Create a new profile in Google Analytics
  2. Filter 1 – Reduce the noise by filtering out any traffic that is not organic.
    filter only organic traffic
  3. Filter 2 – Copy domain name from the referring url and save to campaign source.
    filter country specific domain

In field “Field A -> Extract A” choose referral and enter the following:
regex ^(http://www.|http://)([^/]*)(.*)

In field “Output To -> Constructor” enter $A2.

Explanation: the regex above is divided in to 3 sections each section is in brackets:

  • section 1 means: I don’t what the part that starts with http://www or http://
  • section 2 means: capture all letters or digits until you reach a slash
  • section 3 means: all the rest

Now I know I only have the domain name with ccTLD or TLD in the second section that gets inserted in to campaign source.

In addition we’ll take a look at what we used to get vs. what we get now.View by going to Traffic Source >> Search >> Organic and in Primary Dimension chose Source:

search engines without our filterAs you can see there are only 9 different sources in the old version of the report.

The report with our new filter looks like
search engines with country specific domains

Notice now how many sources of data we have 61 vs. 9?! The data you are looking at is of the same period of time, but the first visual above is on the regular profile and the second is of the profile we created. Sometimes analytics does not succeed to get the result from the regex so the value stays as the original source Google, Bing exc. (as you can see in row number 1).

The main benefit here is being able to understand you users more and finding new markets potentially worth promoting to.

Note: If you look at the list of referring search engines you will may notice results like ‘avg’ or ‘incredimail’ – these are search powered by Google – think of it as

If you have any more ideas on why knowing the ccTLD is important please make a comment below 🙂


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Gideon Wellins

Gideon Wellins

As the Head of International SEO I manage and oversee the team and campaigns here at Angora Media.

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