Another of the bene­fits of Google Univer­sal Analyt­ics is that it offers more config­u­ra­tion options than previ­ously avail­able in Stan­dard Google Analyt­ics. Below are four of these new features only avail­able for prop­er­ties using Univer­sal Analy­itcs.

Customize Organic Search Sources

Google Analyt­ics auto­mat­i­cally recog­nizes the most popular search engines, and attrib­utes traffic to these sources. Traffic that finds your site through any of the default search engines appears as organic search traffic in your reports. Traffic that finds your site through any search engine not included in this list is consid­ered refer­ral traffic, (not as organic search traffic), in your reports.

You can add, delete, and reorder the list of recog­nized search engines to modify how organic search traffic is attrib­uted in your account and how the data appears in your reports.

GA attrib­utes incom­ing traffic to one source. Organic search traffic is assigned to the first search engine on your list that matches the domain name and query para­me­ter of the incom­ing visit.

For example, if you list first and second (and both sites use the same query para­me­ter, like q), all searches that happen on are attrib­uted to To change this attri­bu­tion, you can reorder these search engines in the list to prior­i­tize how visits are attrib­uted. In this example, you could list before so searches are prop­erly attrib­uted.

You can also remove search engines from this list. Traffic arriv­ing from any search engine you remove appear as refer­ral traffic instead of as organic search traffic.

If you control a search engine that over­laps with another in this list, and if they use the same query para­me­ter, you could also avoid this situ­a­tion by chang­ing your search para­me­ter to some­thing unique.

Chang­ing your organic search traffic settings:

  1. Navi­gate to a prop­erty. If you’re not in the settings menu, click Admin. Select the account and prop­erty you want to edit.
  2. From the prop­erty column, click Track­ing Info then Organic Search Sources.
  3. Click +Add Search Engine.
  4. In the form, specify what the Domain Name Contains and the Query Para­me­ter. You can also specify a Search Engine Name and what the Path Contains.
  5. Click Create.

Click edit or delete to change or remove a search engine you’ve already added. To reorder the list, drag and drop the order of each row by using the mouse to grab the dots left of the search engine name.

Session and Campaign Timeout Handling

Sessions and campaigns end after a specific amount of time passes. By default, sessions end after 30 minutes and campaigns end after 6 months. You can change the settings so sessions and campaigns end after the spec­i­fied amount of time has passed.

The length of a session and campaign depends on your site and busi­ness. Here are a few ideas to get you started think­ing about session and campaign time­outs:

  • If your site auto­mat­i­cally signs a visitor out after being inac­tive for a certain amount of time, set the session timeout to match that length of time.
  • Lengthen the session time if you have a lot of content and expect visi­tors to take a long time engag­ing with that content. Conversely, shorten the session time if the site has a small amount of content.
  • Set the campaign timeout handling to the same amount of time the campaign is going to run or expected to be rele­vant. Clicks to a social media micro-campaign might not be rele­vant for more than a few days after launch.

Campaign timeout cannot be greater than 2 years. Sessions cannot be less than 1 minute or greater than 4 hours.

Chang­ing session and campaign timeout settings:

  1. Navi­gate to a prop­erty. If you’re not in the settings menu, click Admin. Select the account and prop­erty you want to edit.
  2. From the prop­erty column, click Track­ing Info then Session Settings.
  3. Under Timeout Handling, use the controls to set Session timeout and Campaign timeout.
  4. Click Apply.

Referral Exclusions

You can exclude specific domains from being recog­nized as refer­ral traffic sources in your Analyt­ics reports. A common use for this feature is to exclude traffic from a third-party shop­ping cart to prevent customers from being counted in new session and as a refer­ral when they return to your order confir­ma­tion page after check­ing out on the third-party site.

Google Analyt­ics recog­nizes the URL you use to set up a new prop­erty in your account and auto­mat­i­cally excludes this domain from your refer­ral traffic, so you won’t see self-refer­rals in your Analyt­ics reports.

You must, however, manu­ally add all other domains (includ­ing sites in a cross-domain track­ing or third-party shop­ping cart setup) to exclude traffic from those domains from being recog­nized as refer­ral traffic in your reports.

How exclud­ing refer­ral traffic affects your data:

By default, a refer­ral auto­mat­i­cally trig­gers a new session. When you exclude a refer­ral source, traffic that arrives to your site from the excluded domain doesn’t trigger a new session. If you want traffic arriv­ing from a specific site to trigger a new session, don’t include that domain in this table.

Because each refer­ral trig­gers a new session, exclud­ing refer­rals (or not exclud­ing refer­rals) affects how sessions are calcu­lated in your account. The same inter­ac­tion can be counted as either one or two sessions, based on how you treat refer­rals. For example, a visitor on goes to, and then returns to If you do not exclude as a refer­ring domain, two sessions are counted, one for each arrival at If, however, you exclude refer­rals from, the second arrival to does not trigger a new session, and only one session is counted.

Add or remove refer­ral traffic sources:

Any host­name that contains the string you add will be excluded. For example, if you add to the list of refer­ral exclu­sions, will also be excluded from your refer­ral traffic.

  1. Navi­gate to a prop­erty. If you’re not in the settings screen, click Admin.
  2. Click Track­ing Info then Refer­ral Exclu­sion List.
  3. Enter the Domain.
  4. Click Apply to save.

You can also remove domains from the list of exclu­sions, rein­tro­duc­ing that traffic as a refer­ring source in your reports, by follow­ing these steps.

Search Term Exclusions

Count some search traffic as direct traffic.

This feature is only avail­able for prop­er­ties using Univer­sal Analyt­ics.

Google Analyt­ics iden­ti­fies the terms that visi­tors used to find your site through search engines, and displays these keywords (includ­ing phrases) in your reports. For Google organic searches, Google Analyt­ics will gener­ally show a keyword of (not provided) because all Google searches are secured via SSL, and search queries are not exposed.

You can exclude specific search terms from being iden­ti­fied in your Analyt­ics account. When visi­tors find your site using an excluded term, that traffic isn’t included as search traffic in your reports. Instead, it’s counted as direct traffic. You might, for example, want to exclude your own company name or your domain as search terms. Any traffic that finds your site by search­ing either of these terms then appears as direct traffic in your reports.

When you exclude search traffic that arrives at your site using specific keywords, other activ­i­ties from that traffic, like trig­ger­ing Events or complet­ing Goals, are still recorded in your reports.

For more infor­ma­tion on differ­ent kinds of traffic sources, read about traffic sources.

How to exclude search terms:

  1. Navi­gate to a prop­erty. If you’re not in the settings screen, click Admin.
  2. Click Track­ing Info then Search Term Exclu­sion List tab.
  3. Click +Add Search Term
  4. Enter a word, phrase, or string as a Search Term.
  5. Click Create to save.

You can edit these terms any time by follow­ing the same steps. Note that this only applies to organic and not paid search traffic.