How to Keep Your Internal Visits From Messing with Your Google Analytics Data
When you’re first starting out with Google Analytics, every visit to your website seems monumentous. 7 visits on Monday? Rock on! 0 visits on Tuesday? Depression. It’s sometimes hard to understand why your traffic spikes.
I’m going to tell you a secret for business owners just starting out with their websites: YOU are probably causing 90% of your weird traffic patterns and messing up your ability to accurately interpret the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts.
Gasp! No! Not me! Yes, you. But don’t worry – there’s an easy fix. See, when you install Google Analytics to your site (haven’t done that yet? Check out my Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up Google Analytics), it starts tracking ALL the traffic to your site. Including visits from your computer, your assistant’s computer, your website designer’s computer…and on and on.
When you first have a website and are still working on building traffic, these “internal” visits probably make up the most of your data. But since we want to use Google Analytics just to measure the actions and visits from prospective clients and customers, having all this internal data is problematic.
So what about that easy fix?
Yes! Easy fix – you simple have to tell Google Analytics what visitors to block. We do this by adding IP addresses (IP is Internet Protocol – your computer’s address on the web) to a filter in Analytics.
Find your IP address(es)
Take a moment to make a list of every person who works for or on your team (maybe even some of your biggest supporters that aren’t your target (*ahem* sorry, Mom). Include on this list any home or work computers for yourself (do you work at an office or coworking space? include that on the list).
Ask everyone on your list to visit this website to find out their IP address http://www.whatismyip.com/ and email it to you. Remember to do this from both home and work computers. Don’t worry about devices like cell phones where you are connecting on a mobile network – those addresses aren’t consistent enough to track.
Set up a filter in Google Analytics
Once you have your list of addresses, we can tell Google Analytics to ignore them by setting up a filter. Follow these steps for each individual IP address (each needs its own filter)
- Log in to your Google Analytics account
- Click on the Admin button in the upper right
- Under Profiles, click the Filters tab
- Click +New Filter
- Under Filter Information, name the filter. Something like “Liz home IP address” or “Steve (assistant) work IP address” works. I also like to add the date I’m setting this filter up here. “Liz home IP address 12.26.2011”
- Under Predefined Filter, select Exclude and Traffic From the IP Addresses and That Are Equal To
- Enter the IP address for this filter name
- Click Save
and repeat for each IP address! The filter should start working after a day or so. Congratulations on completing some semi-advanced Google Analytics set-up and rejoice in your more accurate data!
Did you find this helpful? Have you done this for your site? Let me know in the comments!