Analytics Expert

UX-SEO Advocate

Follow me on
Category | Google Analytics
Difficulty | / referral to organic traffic Google Analytics is a very unique and not widely known search engine; some people mistake it by referral spam when they see it on Google Analytics due to its uncommon name when in fact it is a good source.

The only problem is that it shows as referral instead of organic traffic. I will show you some of its characteristics and most importantly how to move it from referral to organic in Google Analytics.

What is is a search engine that emphasizes user privacy. The search engine with the curious name has been gaining lots adepts over the last few years driven its first principle "search without tracking". Some people like to go around the Internet without being followed by targeted ads; that's where specializes.

I personally don't mind to have ads personalized to me. What I like duckduckgo instead is the good-looking interface they provide.

On December of 2016, the search engine reached the milestone of 10 billion searches, far away from famous search engines like Google, but still a decent amount, especially considering that those numbers keep growing.

duckduckgo 10 million searches 1 day

How to make find your website?

The best you can do to get indexed in Duckduckgo is to send your sitemap to other search engines like Bing or Yandex.

As for now (January 2017), there is no option to send a sitemap directly to, as explained on their forum:

DuckDuckGo gets its results from over one hundred sources, including DuckDuckBot (our own crawler), crowd-sourced sites (like Wikipedia, which are stored in our own index), Yahoo! (through BOSS), Yandex, Yelp, and Bing. Once your web site has been indexed byour sources it will appear in DuckDuckGo searches. get its results from multiple sources, including DuckDuckBot, and crowdsourcing from Wikipedia, Yandex, Yelp, and Bing. results

Duckduckgo in Google Analytics

Despite being a search engine duckduckgo will show as a referral in Google Analytics, in one of this forms:

  • / referral
  • / referral

What is is an internal redirection to prevent the browser to pass user information, is a measure applied by the search engine to protect the privacy of the user by removing the search term of the query.

When this measure is applied, you will see / referral in your reports. referral


Apart from that is exactly the same as the source without the letter "r". The problem is that both should be listed as organic traffic instead of a referral.

Moving and to Organic Traffic

To put duckduckgo in the right place you will need to create a filter:

  1. Go to your Google Analytics Admin tab and select Filters
  2. Click on +Add Filter and enter an appropriate name for the filter like "Google Android"
  3. Configure the filter:
    • Filter Type: Custom > Advanced
    • Field A > Extract A (copy the expression below)
    • Field B > Extract B: referral
    • Output To > Constructor: organic
  4.  Once everything is set, save your filter

Extra: features

As I mentioned before duckduckgo is an original search engine. These are some of its features:

  • Instant Answers for many things like time and weather. For example, If you type weather in the search bar you will get information about today's weather and the next days of your region without needing to go to another page.

Or one of my favorites, recipes, if you type avocado recipe you'll get a list of recommendations for recipes with avocado as an ingredient. This also works with many other Instant Answers like movies and music.

duckduckgo instant answers
  • !Bangs: if you type !yt movie trailers it will take you to youtube and show you the results for "movie trailers", or if you type !a tv will search for Televisions in Amazon. These shortcuts are called !bangs and there are many, for example:
    • Amazon: !a
    • Google maps: !m
    • Facebook: !fb
duckduckgo !bangs
  • Fully customizable; you can change the theme, search preference you can event turn off the few ads it shows.
duckduckgo search engine customization


  • Google Analytics: Despite its odd name is a valid source and if you use Google Analytics, you only need to do some adjustments to move it to the right place.
  • For users: is an excellent choice for those people that worry about their privacy or simply want a better-looking interface to spend your evening searches.
  • For websites: To get your site indexed in duckduckgo you will need to send your sitemap to other search engines and eventually duckduckgo will crawl your site.
Be the first to comment :)