Are you one of millions who use Google Analytics to learn about your website visitors’ behavior?
Do you realize that by default you are tracking your own visits (and edits), which can lead to inflated traffic numbers?
Don’t let your employees pollute your data and skew your reports. You want to measure what your audience is doing on your site. You don’t want internal testing or “ego” visits to bio pages affect your traffic data. Filter yourself (and your employees’ visits) out of your Google Analytics profiles. You don’t want to make decisions from data skewed by a webmaster who may make hundreds of visits a day.
Keep reading to learn how to setup your Google Analytics profiles to remove your internal traffic from your reports in order to track only external visitors.
The steps below show you how to set up a clean profile for your website.
Setting Up Analytics Profiles
Google Analytics tracks ALL visits, including those by your employees. Exclude your internal traffic from your reports to focus only on the data from your customers and prospects. Setting up profiles will help you weed out internal traffic.
BEWARE: Google Analytics profile filters are permanent.
As soon as you apply profile filters, the filtered out data gets discarded. You will not be able to retrieve it, unless you create several profiles.
SAFE SOLUTION: Set up the raw and filtered profiles in your account. (You must be an admin to view and motify profiles.)
- Raw Profile
This profile has no filters. All the activities get recorded. Your raw profile can be your backup or reference point if something goes wrong with filtered profiles. ALWAYS have a raw profile.
- Master Profile
Use this profile for your reports. Apply it to your production website. Filter out your internal traffic from this profile to focus on your audience.
- Test Profile
You will be making changes to your Google Analytics setup in the process of analyzing your website. Create a test profile where you can test your filters and your goals without permanently damaging your master profile. When testing new settings, apply them to this profile first. Then, let it run for a little while to collect data. If all works as expected, incorporate the changes into your master profile.
- Development Profile
Depending on your website setup, you can use this profile to apply to your staging servers. Apply this profile just to your testing or web development server.
Filter Out Internal Traffic
Filter out your internal traffic as a part of setting up your master profile. There are 3 ways you filter out visits, by:
- IP address
- IP range
Set up filters in your Google Analytics Admin area (shown right).
- Click on the Admin button in upper right.
- Select the Profiles tab.
- Select the Filters tab (shown below).
Exclude Employee Computers
In order to exclude visits from employees’ (and outside contractors’) computers, create a new filter. Give it a name that makes sense.
Exclude Static IPs
Static IP addresses are one of the easiest ways to exclude traffic for a few people working in your office. Simply add each computer’s IP addresses to the filter.
This method is also useful if you have a few remote employees accessing the site. Exclude their IPs as well.
- Create a new filter.
- Name it something like “Mary’s Home IP” or similar.
- Select Predefined filter.
- Exclude traffic from IP addresses and that are equal to IP.
- Enter the IP address of the computer you want to exclude.
- TIP: Use What Is My IP or to find out your IP address is.
Exclude Dynamic IPs
You’ll need to exclude dynamic IP addresses if you have a fair number of people working at the office. It is more efficient to exclude IPs by range than one-by-one-by-one (ad infinitum).
This method is also helpful if you have multiple office locations.
- Create a new filter.
- Give it a name.
- This time, however, select Custom filter.
- Exclude Visitor IP Address and enter your filter pattern.
- TIP: It can be simple like this example with a hyphen indicating the range or include regular expressions.
Exclude by Cookie
It may be impossible to have a static IP address. In that case, set a cookie on your employees’ computers to exclude them based on the cookie. Your employees will need to visit a specific page that will set a cookie on their computer.
This method works for those who travel and/or when you have to set up demos at trade shows, for example.
- Create a new filter.
- Select Custom filter.
- Select User Defined from the Filter Field pull down.
- Enter the word by which you chose to identify your employees.
- KEY: Create a page that sets the tracking cookie.
- Read the detailed description on how to set up tracking by cookie.
The Result? Audience Data
The only way you will be able to make the right decisions about your website is when your data reflects your true website audience and not that of your employees, your marketing team, or your Web developers. When your internal traffic is removed, your data represents the visitors you care about.
- How do I exclude my internal traffic from reports? – from Google
- Google Analytics setup checklist
- Google Analytics Install [video]
- Learn about reports [video]
Have any additional tips to share or your own blog post that shows how to filter IP addresses? Please share below.