How Android’s Quick Search Box Impacted Google Analytics

by | SEO News

android quick search

In the last 18 months, mobile and tablet traffic has been rising – increasing from half to just over two thirds of overall traffic. With 40 per cent of this mobile traffic coming from Android devices, it’s more important than ever to make sure this traffic is being tracked correctly.

However, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge whether this traffic is even being reported correctly, especially when Google updates create peculiar referrals, which can occasionally misrepresent traffic.

Let’s look at an example …

What is

Between May and June this year, you may have noticed a peculiar referral appear in Google Analytics in the form of Many thought this referral was spam, but it’s actually valid traffic coming from Android users using the Google Search app.

Similar to the graph above, you may have seen a large increase over this particular time period. But the good news? There’s no need to worry. In actuality, the traffic from this referral should have reduced dramatically around the middle of June – but why did this happen in the first place?


Rewind to 28th April 2016 and there was a Google update on the search app and Android system – this is when the referral appeared. As mentioned, the referral comes from Android users using the Google Search app on their mobile or tablet.

Technically, this is organic traffic, but when the referral appeared, direct traffic saw a decrease. This means that some Android organic traffic may not have been recorded as true Google organic in Google Analytics for some time.

However, since 20th June, there was another update to Google Search app and Android systems, resulting in referrals from reducing dramatically. Simultaneously, there was a rise in direct traffic, which indicates things are returning to the way they were.

Back in May/June, this referral could be beneficial, as it could be used to track Android users and those who use Android applications to locate web content. However, we are no longer able to distinguish it from other direct traffic. The positive today, though, is that traffic should be recorded correctly in Analytics as a result of the update.

At Maratopia, we’re naturally inquisitive about these fluctuations and what they mean, understanding that keeping an eye on fluctuations in traffic like this is of prime importance when it comes to business and SEO.

To learn more about the talents of our SEO experts, please contact a member of the team today.

Author: Stephen Harvey-Franklin Steve Harvey-Franklin

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