As a business owner, you know that online visibility is important for your success. Google Analytics organic search data can provide valuable insight into how people are finding your site. This data can help you identify opportunities to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and attract more visitors from Google. Google Analytics organic search traffic is traffic that arrives at your site from unpaid search engine results. This article will walk you through how to use Google Analytics to understand your organic search traffic, why it matters, and how to use this information to benefit your business.

Table Of Contents:

Understanding Google Analytics and Organic Search

Google Analytics is a powerful platform that gives you all the data you need to make smarter decisions about your marketing efforts. It lets you track website traffic from several different sources, such as paid ads, social media, and email.

However, we’ll focus specifically on organic search because it’s free traffic that’s crucial to long-term success. When people land on your site from an organic search, it means they actively searched for something related to what you offer. This increases the chance of those visitors becoming leads or even making a purchase.

What Is the Acquisition Report in GA4?

GA4 stands for Google Analytics 4, Google’s latest analytics platform. The acquisition report is essential to GA4. It shows where your site visitors are coming from. If you’ve ever used Google’s previous version, Universal Analytics (UA), the closest comparison is the “All Traffic” report.

But unlike UA’s report, GA4’s report sorts website traffic data into the following three categories by default:

  • User acquisition: The “User acquisition” report shows you how people first found your website, and each row is a “session source.”
  • Traffic acquisition: This report provides the same data but breaks it down by session medium.
  • Session campaign: The “Session campaign” report includes information on marketing campaigns that led visitors to your website.

This session data from organic search can provide important information that helps you attract even more traffic to your website. Let’s explore the value of analyzing Google Analytics organic search traffic next.

Why Google Analytics Organic Search Matters for Businesses

So why is it a big deal to understand your website traffic through Google Analytics? Over 40% of revenue comes from Google Analytics organic traffic. That means it’s not something you want to ignore.

Especially if you’re in the beginning stages of growing a website, you’re going to want as much free traffic as possible. This is a win for your business.

Google Analytics organic search traffic matters because it can help you with a number of different things, such as:

  • Measure SEO Performance: Through tools like Google Analytics you can measure the performance of your SEO campaigns.
  • Understand User Behavior: You can use your GA4 session data to see what organic users are doing on your website.
  • Identify Opportunities for Improvement: Analyzing this data from your analytics account helps identify areas where you can improve your content. When you understand what users are searching for to find your content, it’s much easier to know what they’re looking for, so you can give it to them.
  • Track Progress Over Time: Analyzing the organic search traffic acquisition report helps you monitor your traffic over time, allowing you to adjust your strategy and make changes when you need to. If there is a major change in a new Google Keyword Planner or if Google Search shows fewer sites in its search results, it’s critical that you pay close attention to the traffic sources of your site visitors in GA4. If a paid ad for a keyword is outranking you in the SERPS you will see fewer website visitors from a search result.

Remember, more traffic to your website leads to increased sales opportunities.

Understanding Your Organic Search Data

Knowing how to find Google Analytics organic search reports, especially with all the data collected by the platform, can be tricky. Let’s take a look at where to find this information and what to do with it.

We’ll stick with the Google Analytics 4 interface (GA4) as the last Universal Analytics data report from a July 2023 update was shut down in July 2023, effectively making GA4 the standard tool. GA4 has made finding certain types of reports easier and finding organic traffic isn’t as hidden. It does this through Channel Groupings.

What are Default Channel Groupings?

Google Analytics uses different default channel groupings to segment different categories of site traffic into separate sources, like email marketing or a display ad. The default Channel Group in GA4 groups are made up of various sources including Organic Search. You can find a list of the sources on their website for your specific GA4 needs. Understanding these helps give you a better understanding and clarity over where traffic is coming from in order to get more of it.

How to Analyze Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Organic Search Data

Let’s walk through how to analyze the free SEO traffic in Google Analytics. Once you understand this data it becomes far less intimidating and gives you clarity into making adjustments or creating new content:

  1. Navigate to Your Google Analytics 4 Property: First, log into your GA4 property and select “Reports” on the left-hand side menu.
  2. Select Your Date Range: Next you want to be sure to check the desired timeframe, as these metrics show traffic patterns for a selected date range. You may also be able to compare your GA4 session data for multiple date ranges.
  3. Find Organic Search Traffic: In the reports dashboard, click “Life cycle” and then “Acquisition,” and “Traffic Acquisition.” This report sorts your site traffic data. Look in the “Session medium” column for organic traffic.
  4. Analyze Your Traffic Data: Here you can see information for the specific traffic data. You will see your “Sessions” in this table. A session starts when someone comes to your website and typically ends after 30 minutes of inactivity on your site, but Google defines this specifically for you in their support documentation. For example, if someone came to your site by typing one of the search keywords they found through Google Search into their address bar it will likely be listed as direct traffic because no referral information is passed.
  5. Use Dimensions to Find Out More Information: To uncover further insights into this information click the “+” to the right of “Session default channel group.” For example, you can uncover more about user engagement or your bounce rate. If you wanted to dig deeper you might select “Geography” and then “Country” or “City” to view data for specific geographical locations to view where your organic users are located and see which of those have the lowest or highest bounce rate for deeper insight. Alternatively, you may even choose to examine your social media campaigns that bring visitors to your site organically through Google’s social media platforms. Maybe you’ve created content that uses images, audio, or even video content. Now you can track this data as “events”.
  6. Connect to Google Search Console: GA4 enables you to connect to your search console to dive deeper. Integrating your search console can provide more detailed reports from data in GA4 and vice-versa.

Remember, if you notice a trend, such as certain keywords or landing pages attracting a larger number of sessions compared to other search terms, it might be time to increase organic posts about those keywords or try new landing pages. You could create beginner or advanced guides on the topic based on those popular keywords that drive lots of traffic and improve the quality of content that already works. There are a lot of cool things you can do with Google Analytics, so make sure to get in the habit of taking notes to try to uncover new and even shocking data points.

The reports in Google Analytics are all well and good, but we all know the end goal of website traffic is conversions. And what if those visitors bounce almost as soon as they arrive at your landing page? If this happens maybe it’s time for a change.

Does Google Analytics Track Organic Keywords?

Google Analytics organic search traffic isn’t always as cut and dried as some other traffic acquisition reports are, although it does provide a lot of insight. It no longer tracks organic keywords. Here’s why. For a long time now Google Analytics has protected users’ data by hiding organic search traffic for any search that originates from a secure connection—the most common way search engines send visitors to your website these days. In 2011 about 80% of keyword data was unavailable because secure connections sent almost that much of Google Search traffic to websites. And this makes tracking a specific organic keyword to conversion far more challenging for small- to medium-sized businesses that rely heavily on organic traffic. Luckily though there are alternatives available that can help us to unlock the organic keyword mystery for improved insights and improved conversion optimization tips for better search results. These tips will also let us see a comparison between paid search performance compared to unpaid search from search engines like Google.

Unlocking (Not Provided) Keywords

In the digital world Google analytics organic search has changed. Search engines provide better security and with better security and safety measures come obstacles. There are a variety of ways we can understand the hidden secrets of the “(not provided)” information for better performance and marketing strategy. Because Google Search won’t provide that data it’s up to us to get creative about it. Luckily for you and for me, other experts and specialists are eager to help improve performance by sharing the tools that helped them the most.

Use Third Party SEO Tools

There are many tools that make finding those all important organic search terms much less intimidating, however we need to analyze their success because they rely on their own methods to understand the data Google refuses to reveal. One SEO tool, Keyword Hero, uses clustering and machine learning in a scientific approach to search by analyzing the data they get from other traffic sources including: crawlers, Bing’s search engines, browser extension data, Wikipedia, and other big brands. All of these can be useful for helping us better understand the “(not provided)” keyword data Google keeps private for a web page.

Use Your Analytics Account to Determine Data Through Internal Search

While it might not always work, the information people are searching for in your site search is likely the same keywords data they’re searching for to get there unless it is a specific branded search result. If, through an overview report, your conversion data and revenue are really great for site search you might determine that providing valuable insight through an organic search keyword is going to provide you with the opportunity to see success. Alternatively, maybe visitors use the same search result on a different page or different source—maybe the search term works for paid campaigns? And don’t discount social media as a traffic source. This can provide valuable insights into a keyword data comparison between your traffic sources to help get more website traffic.

Conduct Competitive Research

Another way of finding search data for your traffic source is to spy on your competitors because a chance is if they are converting then the keywords data is something you want. Of course, by this, I mean using your competitive research skills. SEMrush offers lots of opportunities by showing you the keyword referral data your competitors are using in their organic search strategy through keywords mining for website content, by analyzing the top 20 rankings that SEMRush stores. The most important SEO strategies are based on knowing what is going to help your web traffic improve, which is an indicator for success.


You’ll learn all about Google Analytics organic search and why you should never underestimate its importance to a web page. You’ll want to implement a solid marketing strategy that analyzes the organic keywords data Google hides. With some persistence, you’ll uncover a gold mine of insight. Good luck in your search.