How to Keep Your Internal Visits From Messing with Your Google Analytics Data

Internal Visits Can Mess Up Your Analytics DataAre You Unknowingly Screwing Up
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.

First Step
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.

Second Step
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)

  1. Log in to your Google Analytics account
  2. Click on the Admin button in the upper right
  3. Under Profiles, click the Filters tab
  4. Click +New Filter
  5. 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”
  6. Under Predefined Filter, select Exclude and Traffic From the IP Addresses and That Are Equal To
  7. Enter the IP address for this filter name
  8. 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!

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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26 Responses so far.

  1. carbon copy of what Sara said…. done! thanks…

  2. This is great, Liz! Thanks so much! Super helpful – easy step-by-step. Love it. (As a quick note, you might want to set your embedded links to “open in a new tab” so we’re not taken away from your awesome content when we click on those links.) Thank you!

  3. Viv Oyolu says:

    Very simple to do and important too! Thanks!

  4. Tiffany Lahn says:

    Great advice! I had been wondering if there was a way to block my own visits. Thank you.

  5. Sanjeet Sam says:

    Thanks for sharing such a useful information…I love it.

    I have another doubt…

    Can we block different IP with the same filter name..please advice

  6. I do not see a gear icon on upper right after logging in…Any ideas?

    • Liz Lockard says:

      Hey Donald! Thanks for your comment. Google has updated their Analytics interface. The former gear icon is now the Admin button. Still in the upper right :) I’ve updated the post. Hope that helps!

  7. Richard says:

    Good advice but what about dynamic addresses. They change every day or so and are not even in the same ip range?

    • Liz Lockard says:

      Hey Richard! Thanks for your question – you’re right that this blog post is for static IP addresses (the usual case). A dynamic IP address that doesn’t keep to the same IP range would need some Custom Variable coding or other advanced configuration. That’s a bit outside the DIY field – you might want to look for someone who’s comfortable with both Javascript & Google Analytics to create this custom filter for you. Good luck!

  8. Sharon says:

    Thanks so much, I was looking for a way to easily browse old posts (other than through the admin panel) without affecting the analytics on a site I’m assuming and this helps tremendously! Thanks again

  9. Melissa says:

    Hi Liz! I tried this, however I am still seeing our ads when I type our keywords into google. I was under the impression that we would no longer be able to see our impressions once we excluded our ip address. Am I incorrect? If I am any other ideas on how to make this work? Thanks!

    • Liz Lockard says:

      Hi Melissa! You’re talking about Google Adwords, not Google Analytics :) You can use preview tools in the Google Adwords interface to check your ads without affecting your impression/click data. Google Analytics is a different animal that is just used for tracking your traffic data – hope that helps! Feel free to email me with any more specific Qs :)

  10. Glenn says:

    Hi Liz,

    I have read the applying this filter means that data from these IP addresses will NOT be saved at all by Google. So filtering means this information simply doesn’t get stored.

    Is this true? If so, isn’t there a better way to separate internal traffic from teams (which could be used for testing purposes) vs. desired traffic (from customers)?

    Thanks,
    Glenn Weidner

  11. Hey Liz, this is really helpful. It helps me a lot. I know that in old analytics interface but didn’t find it in new interface.

    Thanks a lot…

  12. Gal says:

    Hi Liz,
    first of all I would like to thank you for the awesome tutorial.
    Unfortunately it doesn’t work ))=.
    I filtered my personal IP Adresse and… nothing, my computer still sending data to GA.
    Any suggestions…?

    Thanks in advance (=

  13. Michael says:

    Dear Liz,

    Great tip!!! I put it to use straight away and am waiting to see it take effect. Meanwhile, I am using the Yoast Google Analytics plugin. Should I perform the same exercise within it and if so, could you please instruct on how to correctly do it?

    Thanks again!

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