One of the most common web analytics mistakes I see people make is self-counting. This means that their analytics package counts visits and pageviews from their own internal traffic. This oversight can result in serious flaws in your metrics. Luckily for you, it can easily be fixed.
If your business relies on accurate measurement of website traffic and conversion metrics, internal traffic could be muddying the waters and making it harder to determine your site’s true performance. How? Consider the following scenarios. How many of these have you done in the past month?
- Your staff directs customers to your website by visiting the site themselves to copy a page’s URL or piece of content.
- You regularly visit your own website just to make sure it’s still working.
- You load your website while talking to customers on the phone so you can look at the same screen they are.
Excluding Internal Traffic in Google Analytics
If you run Google Analytics on your site, you’ll want to set up a filter to exclude traffic from your company’s IP address (or series of IP addresses, known as an “IP Range”). Follow the steps listed on these pages to create a filter and exclude internal traffic data based on your IP range. There is even a handy regular expression builder if you are among the 99.9% of the population that is intimidated by them (myself included!)
Excluding Internal Traffic in Omniture Site Catalyst
If you use a high-end analytics suite such as Omniture Site Catalyst, you might find this blog entry on building segments useful. You can use this feature to create a custom segment for visitors from your IP range and exclude them from your reports.
Although more complex, in my experience this functionality is similar (but superior to) Google Analytics’ custom segments feature.
The changes are not retroactive. Only traffic from that moment forward will be filtered. If you just set up your analytics filters to block your internal traffic, you can expect to see your overall web traffic decrease slightly. This may concern some people that focus solely on visit and pageview data.
If so, gently remind them that web analytics are most useful when tracking conversion events, whether that’s a sale, download, newsletter signup, lead, or any other trackable event. Because there’s less overall traffic but presumably the same number of conversions, your conversion rates may even go up!