Google Analytics Language Report Using User Defined Variable

TranslateClient handling is an integral part of daily activities of an SEO analyst and one needs to be completely prepared to answer any queries that will/might be raised by a client.
Now imagine a situation where a client has the following query  -
“I analyzed my Geo data in analytics and  realized that I have been getting overwhelming number of visits from other countries. As a result of which I have decided to launch  international websites for these Geo locations. My query is whether I should go for regional languages or should I host the website in English?”
Anyone who has some basic knowledge of SEO would know that the obvious recommendation here would be to tell the client to host the website in regional language.
But then the client replies -
“I understand and totally agree with you but could you please provide us some evidence using the data in Google Analytics of my current website that translation will actually help me?”
Tricky situation right, well that’s where one of the most underrated features of Google Analytics will come in handy, i.e. a User Defined Variable.

Client handling is an integral part of daily activities of an SEO analyst and one needs to be completely prepared to answer any queries that will/might be raised by a client.

Now imagine a situation where a client has the following query  -

I analyzed my Geo data in analytics and  realized that I have been getting overwhelming number of visits from other countries. As a result of which I have decided to launch  international websites for these Geo locations. My query is whether I should go for regional languages or should I host the website in English?

Anyone who has some basic knowledge of SEO would know that the obvious recommendation here would be to tell the client to host the website in regional language.

But then the client replies –   ”I understand and totally agree with you but could you please provide us some evidence using the data in Google Analytics of my current website that translation will actually help me?

Tricky situation right, well that’s where one of the most underrated features of Google Analytics will come in handy, i.e. a User Defined Variable.

One needs to be well versed with the concept of user defined variables, regular expressions and Advanced filters in Google Analytics in order to completely understand this post.

Here are a few useful links –

http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/07/segment-your-traffic-with-user-defined.html

http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?answer=55461

http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?answer=55582

Users often use Google’s translate services in order to view a particular page in their desired language. For example someone searching for SEO in Google.es will get an option to translate the website to Spanish language.

Translate

Google Analytics by default will not be able to tell you the language to which a particular page was translated and that is why we need to create a variable that will show me this data. If the users are translating the webpages of our website then that data will be stored in the Hostnames section of network properties under translate.googleusercontent.com. We need to create a user defined variable that extracts the language from translate.googleusercontent.com.

Hostname

In order to extract the required data advanced filters need to be set up as shown below -

Advanced Filter

In Field A we are extracting the request URI from the hostname and storing it in our user defined variable. Once the advanced filter is in place we can view the data in the user defined section of Google Analytics.

Data

As seen in the snapshot above we have created a user defined variable that tells us to which particular language the pages were translated. For example translate.google.es means that the webpage was translated to Spanish, translate.google.de means German and so on.

Imagine doing this for an MNC or an e-commerce website, not only will the metrics like visits, revenue, bounce rate etc help us in understanding user behavior across the globe but at the same time will help us in making some very important business decisions as well.

Hope this post was helpful, leave a comment in case you have any doubts and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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