With so much data instantly at your fingertips, it’s easy to forget to configure Google Analytics correctly before diving into the data. This often overlooked yet simple task takes less than a minute to set up, but dramatically improves the quality of your data, allowing you to make better decisions.
One of the biggest mistakes made by Google Analytics users when reporting is to not exclude internal traffic. For instance, if you are using WordPress, you may find the following page on your sites data:
While this may make your figures look impressive, it doesn’t really help. We need the data to be as precise as possible. Precise accurate data = the most informed position = the right decisions being made, excluding internal traffic is the best way to get a true representation of the level of traffic you are receiving.
What constitutes internal traffic?
Internal traffic is basically anyone who uses your website and works for your organisation. This could be anyone from the development team, to accessing a login to an internal intranet.
How do we exclude this traffic?
Here is the good news. Excluding the internal traffic is very straightforward. You have two options:
- Excluding a single IP address or
- excluding a range of IP addresses.
The option you choose will depend on your set up. If you are an individual working at home on a personal blog (like this one), then you will only need to exclude a single IP. However, if you are a large organisation, you may need to look at excluding a range of IPs. If you had to guess already, this method blocks traffic from appearing in Google Analytics if it originates from a set or range of IP addresses.
Make a Backup
Hold on! Before you do anything. If you are making any changes in Google Analytics, I recommend that you create multiple views of the data. It is considered best practice to keep a completely unfiltered, untampered version of your data. To do this:
- Go to ‘Admin’ in the top navigation bar
- On the right-hand side, select the drop-down menu in the ‘View’ section
- Select ‘Create new view’
The new view you are about to create will be where you filter for internal traffic. On the next page:
- Select website or mobile app
- Give the view a name, for example, “External traffic only”
- Select your time zone
- Select ‘Create view’
How To find your IP Address
We have one last piece of preparation to do. As you’re going to be creating a filter on your IP address, you’ll need to know what your IP address is. I use What is my IP and copy and paste the number into notepad, for example: 22.214.171.124
Singe IP Address
If you only have one IP address to worry about, go to the Admin Section of Google Analytics in the top navigation and select the All Filters Tab in the account settings.
You can use either a predefined filter or a custom filter. In this example, I will show you how to use a predefined filter, and, in the next example, show you a customer filter.
- Give the filter a name so you can identify it in future
- Check the ‘Predefined Filter’ radio box
- From the drop-down menus choose ‘Exclude’ ‘traffic from IP addresses’ and ‘that is equal to’ and copy your IP address over from notepad
- Select the new website view that we created earlier.
Range of IP Addresses
- Here we will be creating a custom filter to exclude a range of IP addresses. Go to the Admin Section of Google Analytics, select the Filters Tab, and select New Filter. Now select ‘Create new Filter’ Filter Type: Custom Filter Exclude Filter Field: IP Address Filter Pattern: Input your IP Address Range.
To exclude traffic from a range of IP addresses, use a regular expression. For example, from 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52. Enter 63\.212\.171\.[1-9] into the ‘Filter Pattern’ field.
That’s all there is to it. Very easy, but very beneficial.