Piwik and Google Instant Referrals

The Setting

Since I had some colleague doing a favor for me, I have discovered a bug in distinction between „normal“ search and instant search (not the preview).

He was searching for a way to reset the password of his media player („dreambox password 800“), using Return to search (kind of „reflex“ I tend to use quite often, too).

Then he searched for „sencha touch“ without hitting Return-Key and clicked my blog (that's why I have his hit with the title of a post about mobile frameworks in my stats).

In fact: The piwik-Entry tells, that he entered the site by searching for „dreambox password 800“, which is in fact wrong.

I file this as major because it means, that we can't trust at least the google keyword stats since Google Instant is getting used by default from Google where applicable.

This has been filed in http://dev.piwik.org/trac/ticket/2634


After being extremely frustrated about the harsh comment, I did a 5-Minute Research on this. (Made some more, option b) and c))

Possible Solutions

a) Referer is being read wrong

These Referers have been read from the target page using „document.referrer“ in a javascript Console


b) Even Google Instant Search genereates URLs

Some time after entering the keywords in Google Instant Search, the URL changes to some Ajax-style linkable Hash-URL


Following URL has been created following the next steps:

  1. Enter „this is just a piwik test“ into the Firefox Google search field and press Return
  2. Enter some keywords that will bring you to the tracked page („sencha touch campino2k“ in my case)
  3. Click the result
  4. enter „document.referrer“ in the JS-Console (e.g. Firebug, e.g.)






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