IIS and Apache - google url capture

I am trying to understand how IIS and Apache will log search terms from Google and other search engines.
Are these URL from Google encoded? If so does the encoding depend upon the web server or on the search engine?
mightyestmeAsked:
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Tony McCreathConnect With a Mentor Technical SEO ConsultantCommented:
The best way is to look at your log files.

I've not gone raw like that in a long time so I can't tell you exactly how Google sets things in Thailand. There may even be variations depending on how someone used Google to find you.

Look for google in the domain name then reverse engineer the parameters. Examine a few as I know google may use different parameters at different times.

Then repeat for every search engine you care about.
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arober11Connect With a Mentor Commented:
The originating / referring page will normally be passed via the users browsers, as a HTTP_referer header in the request, to a site.  

If the refere was a Google search results page then the search term entered will appear in the URL's cgi parameters.

Both Apache and IIS can log the referrer in their Access logs (the lof format is custamizable). If it's just the Google search terms your after you'll be better of signing up for a Google Web master tools and Analytics account, for the domain. Google will happily give you a dashboard with all the analytics your likely to require, along with suggesting a few SEO tweaks.
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Tony McCreathConnect With a Mentor Technical SEO ConsultantCommented:
cgi parameters are also called query string parameters. e.g. a Google http referer may look something like:

http://www.google.com/search?q=search term

Analytics software detected the domain it's from and the value in q.

Google no longer always sends this information . If a Google user is logged in then Google switches to a secure connection and removes query string parameters from the value it sends as a referrer.  So you can't always know :-(
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mightyestmeAuthor Commented:
if the search term is in Thai, how will google prepare the URL?
I am working with an on-premise analytics tool which is unable to extract the search term coming from Google - thats the reason I am trying to understand how Google formulates this string
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mightyestmeAuthor Commented:
@Tiggerito, typically in a log file, how does this cgi parameter appear?
Also, how do we differentiate if this is coming from a PPC result or organic search?
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arober11Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Per my post above, your best bet / easiest option is to sign up for a Google Analytics account, as they'll do the hard work for you.

FYI: http://www.blogstorm.co.uk/google-turns-off-keyword-referrer-information-for-logged-in-users/
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mightyestmeAuthor Commented:
Thanks @arober11. Google Analytics is not an option as we have to use the web analytics tool implemented on site.
I am trying to understand how users not logged into google come into our website using what keywords.
from testing, keywords in english appear ok but its only Thai keywords that are causing issues
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arober11Connect With a Mentor Commented:
The non LATIN characters will probably have been URL / percent encoded, have a play with http://www.url-encode-decode.com/  to see if you can correctly decode the entries from your logs.  If they are URL encoded there are routines available for all the popular scripting languages that will allow you to decode them.

As to Google Analytics, you can manually or use the API to pull the data from Google, which you could then incorporate in your own analytics tool.
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