How To Set Up A Non-brand Filter In Google Analytics

Analytics Homepage
If you’re not already familiar with advanced segments, get familiar. It’s a simple tool but an invaluable addition to your SEO toolbox. With the right advanced segment, you can view anything from blog traffic to frequently asked questions. Anyway, I digress, first, select an individual profile on your Analytics homepage. Next, click the ‘traffic sources’ tab in the left hand sidebar and then ‘search’ followed by ‘organic’ (you can access the advanced segments other ways but for the purposes of this exercise, this will do just fine).
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Next, click the downward pointing arrow in the top left hand corner, beneath ‘organic search traffic’ and ‘customize’.
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Select the option ‘+create new segment’ and you’re away!
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First, give it a name. Anything that helps you to remember what the advanced segment does, it’s up to you really.
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Top tip;

One thing to bear in mind is that if you have more than one profile in your Google Analytics account, you’ll need an individual ‘non-brand’ advanced segment for each profile, so ensure you select ‘options’ and then click the radio button next to the profile you want your non-brand segment to filter.
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Next, if you only want to know about your organic traffic (visits from search engines), you need to select ‘traffic sources’ in the list on the left hand. In the box marked ‘medium’ type-in ‘organic’ and select ‘matches regex’ from the dropdown menu directly adjacent. This tells Google that you want to exclude all but organic traffic to your site. Next up; in the box marked ‘keyword’, type-in your brand name and this time choose the ‘does not match regex’ option from the dropdown.
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Top tip;

you will be amazed at the variety of mis-spellings people will try. Even if you can barely recognise your brand name, these are still technically ‘branded visits’ so take a moment to think of a few common spelling errors people might make when searching for your business. Separate each new variant with a ‘pipe’ (shift and backslash). This tells Google Analytics that you are referring to x OR y. Congratulations, you have just written your first regular expression!
All that’s left now is simply to select ‘save’ and there you have it. You may find at first that a few mis-spelled variants of your brand name have slipped the net, no matter, simply go back to advanced segments (the downward pointing arrow in the top lefthand, remember?). Hit the little cog icon to the right of your chosen segment and select ‘edit’ from the list. Then simply add in as many mis-spellings as you missed out first time around (remembering to separate each new variant with a bar).
There are a million and one other things you can do with an advanced segment, but this is a great start. With this ‘non brand’ filter, you can really see how your site is performing; how many different keywords are being used to access your site, how your main keywords are performing, bounce rates and conversion rates. The great thing about an advanced segment (I know I’m gushing but do bear with) is that once selected, you can look at landing pages, conversions or any other information that would otherwise leave your traffic unfiltered, all with any pesky, unwanted data completely removed.
To see how you could take advantage our Analytics expertise, contact us for a chat, we’re always happy to show off our knowledge!
NB: since this post was published, there have been some very strong signs that Google Analytics keyword data will very soon be going the way of the Dodo, with this in mind, we’ll be showing you how to use Analytics to mine some of the incredibly useful data that is still available, so stay tuned…

Written by Alex Wright

Head of Search