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Google Analytics: Filtering irrelevant traffic from your web analytic reports.

Posted on 8/13/2015 by in Google ANalytics internet marketing Web Analytics Traffic Filters Blocking Spam from Google Analytics

Having an accurate picture of your web visitors can help you make informed decisions. That starts with filtering out the noise, or any web traffic that can make your web analytics data distorted. In this article we talk about types of web traffic you want to filter out of your reports and why.

If you are looking at unfiltered web analytics data, and just take a high level look at the numbers and stats, you could be drawing wrong conclusions about how your website is performing and this could lead to bad internet marketing decisions. One of the ways you can get a better picture of relevant web traffic is by filtering out the "noise" or any web traffic data that could be skewing your numbers.

If you are using Google Analytics you want to start the filtering process by creating a "New View" in your analytics reports. What this does is it creates a duplicate profile of your web analytics where you will apply blocking filters. It's important to do this because it's always smart to maintain a fully unfiltered profile where all the raw and original web analytics data remains untouched and unfiltered. As humans we are always open to errors, so if you find down the road you want to go back and look at the unfiltered data, having that original analytics profile will safeguard your data.

So in Google Analytics in the Admin Section you will "Create new view" - and can have up to 25 different views.

Creating new profile views in Google Analytics 

So you've created a new view of your analytics profile - now we can talk about the two types of filters to apply to your analytics reports.

1.  Filter out internal (company/employee) web traffic by excluding IP addresses.

It's always a good idea to filter out internal traffic that is being captured by employees using your website. Here are a few scenarios that could greatly affect your web analytics reports and make it seem like you have a lot more web traffic than you actually do.

Customer Call Centers who use the website to assist customers.

If you have service reps or even sales reps who frequently access the company website to assist customers, locate product or service info, take orders or any other task, all of this web traffic could be mistaken as customer traffic. Filtering out your IP address will eliminate any internal traffic from your reports.

Company computers where browser default is set to company website.

I have worked at larger companies where the mandated default page on web browsers was the website home page for the company. If your employees are, by default, loading your company website every day, sometimes multiple times a day because they have to bypass it as their default home page to get on web, this will greatly skew your data. There is nothing wrong with having your company website auto load on employee computers and tablets, but it would be smart to filter out that traffic as well.

So, you can see, filtering out internal traffic by employees is definitely a good idea. If you have employees who telecommute you can also filter out their home IP address as well.

2.  Filter out spam web traffic by excluding URLs from your reports.

Spam is inevitable. We can't deny it, and we can't prevent it. It happens. Spam referral traffic to your website isn't damaging per say, but it can also greatly alter the impression of web traffic making you think your website is far more popular than it actually is!

Look for things like:  "seo success," "Make money online," "buttons for website," and "monetize traffic." You'll see things like this pop up in your analytics reports all the time and it's meaningless traffic. You can exclude this spam traffic by blocking the URLs that are sending false visits to your website.  Chances are they are bots that crawl your website and aren't even a human visitor.

With spam, you'll want to monitor your traffic referrals for new ones popping up, because they will. If you check your referral reports monthly you can spend a few minutes each month blocking out any new spammers, and with little time investment will have a much clearer picture of your relevant web traffic.

So how do we filter out, or exclude web traffic from our reports?

In the Admin area of your Google Analytics account, make sure you select the right profile (or view) of your analytics where you are filtering your traffic.  If you remember in the beginning we talked about creating that second view of your data.  Choose the filtered view.

Filtering unwanted traffic from Google Analytics

Select the + NEW FILTER button and then follow these steps:

1. Create a Filter Name (blocked "x" website, or maybe "company internal 1" - whatever you want to name it.  Each filter needs a unique name.  
2. Your Filter Type "Predefined" (we are not creating a custom filter in this instance).
3. Select your filter type "Exclude" from the drop down menu.
4. Select Source from the drop down menu.  You'll use IP address on internal traffic, and ISP domain on spam traffic.
5. For ISP, the 3rd drop down should be set to "that begin with."
6. For IP addresses, the 3rd drop down should be set to "that are equal to."
7. In the blank text box below, then enter your IP address or domain URL to block.
8. Click the Verify this filter link to ensure it's working properly.
9. Click save!
If you are not sure what your IP address is, you can visit from the computer you want to block and it will tell you the IP address to block!

Hopefully this will help you start to clean out some of the dirty data in your web analytics so you can start making some wise decisions about marketing, content, campaigns and promotions and so on - based on real web traffic, visitors, referrals and so on.



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