How does Adobe SiteCatalyst track and report Paid & Organic Keywords?

Adobe Sitecatalyst for PPC & SEO

Using SiteCatalyst to Manage Paid & Organic Search

When you pay the search engine to rank your Website after a search query, you can configure Omniture SiteCatalyst to determine whether the search is “paid” or “natural.” A paid search term (often called “pay-per-click” or “PPC”) is defined as a word or phrase that you pay a search engine for placement in the sponsored results. Conversely, a “natural” search occurs when visitors find your website through an Organic search where the search engine ranked your site without you specifically paying for the listing. One powerful aspect of PPC marketing is that you can control the destination URL the search engine uses to link to your website, which allows SiteCatalyst, when configured correctly, to identify whether a keyword search was paid or organic.

For example, if you use Google AdWords to rank your Website on around a search keyword when visitors search for the phrase “emarket education,” you could to specify the destination as;

You could then configure SiteCatalyst to identify paid searches as resulting in URLs on your site where the query string parameter “gclid” exists. In this example, when a natural search occurs, the “gclid” query string parameter would not exist in the query string and SiteCatalyst would count the instance as a organic search. This works because search engines typically will not index the URLs on your pages with the paid search query parameter that you specify, since other websites will not include these parameters as they build links pointing to your site.

There is no “organic search detection” in SiteCatalyst because, once Paid Search Detection has been set up, the system knows by deduction that if a search referrer was not a paid search referrer, it must be a natural search referrer. Thus Paid Search Detection enables both the paid and natural search reports.

NOTE: The “gclid” parameter above is just an example. You can use any alphanumeric value as your parameter. Also note that SiteCatalyst does not use the value of the parameter (in the example above, this is “emarket education“) in Paid Search Detection. As long as the parameter itself exists, SiteCatalyst will count the search as paid.

To enable Paid keyword tracking within SiteCatalyst, or to check the status of your Paid Search Detection setup and/or learn what query parameters have been set aside for this purpose, follow the steps below. You must be an admin-level user in order to set up or checkPaid Search Detection;

  1. Log in to the Omniture Suite.
  2. Click Admin > Report Suites
  3. Select the desired Report Suite.
  4. Click Edit Settings.
  5. Select General.
  6. Click Paid Search Detection.

The following list shows the requirements necessary to meet the paid search criteria in SiteCatalyst;

  • The referring URL’s domain must be considered a search engine in SiteCatalyst.
  • The landing page URL must contain the query string parameter.

NOTE: The query string parameter is case-sensitive. Also, when setting up Paid Search Detection, ensure that you do not enter the value of the parameter (e.g. “emarket education“) along with the name of the parameter (“gclid=”); this will break Paid Search Detection, as SiteCatalyst interprets the entire value entered in the Paid Search Detection setup area as the parameter name. Therefore, it is correct to enter just the name of the parameter, and to omit any values that you may actually be passing in the specified parameter.


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