6 Applying Google Analytics Filters to different Views
Now let’s make sure you are looking at real potential customers by applying Google Analytics filters.
Exclude bots and spiders
First, you want to be sure you are looking at real visitors instead of bots and spiders. For this, you can simply select a checkbox option. This option is labelled “Exclude traffic from known bots and spiders”. It can be found under View Setting on the bottom right of the screenshot displayed on our right. Selecting this option will exclude all hits that come from bots and spiders.
For eCommerce sites that plan to set up Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce, we would recommend not selecting this option. Selecting this option is known to muddle with the eCommerce data in your Google Analytics account.
What is referrer spam?
After that, you want to be applying Google Analytics filters to filter out what is called referrer spam. Referrer spam are fake hits showing up in your Google Analytics account. It is aimed to get you (the Google Analytic using webmaster) to visit the domain of the spammers. The intention is to show you ads or even worse, spread viruses. You should check how many hits are being recorded from these spammers.
So you open your Google Analytics account, you can go to Audiences > Technology > Network and change the “primary dimension” to Hostname, as per the picture below:
From the screenshot above it is obvious that I only need to include “k.com” for this particular view. I would recommend excluding translate.googleusercontent.com as well even if that means losing some stats, as the more savvy spammers will just use this hostname to bypass your filter. The (not set) values seen above is referrer spam as well, adding the secondary dimension “Source Medium” will expose this traffic as fake.
Exclude referrer spam
Next step is to set up a filter for each of your views (except the Raw Data View) where you include only traffic with the Hostname yourwebsite.com. If the big red Add Filter button is not showing up for you, you do not have the right level of user access.
Next, you click on the red button you get the option to design your filter. In the picture below, because k.com is also available with .co.uk and .nl extensions, I have filtered out all traffic that does not contain “k”. In reality “k” is a large unique name. If I would just use the letter k all spammers with a k in their domain name would still show up. Also, if this business would only operate one domain, I might have selected the “that are equal to” option and written down the exact domain “k.com” in the text field.
Keep in mind that applying Google Analytics filters does not work retroactively, so if you want to look at your data without referrer spam you will need to create and apply a Google Analytics Segment to exclude these hits. Google Analytics offers you to test the filter that you have just set up before you apply it. We would recommend testing it. You want to make sure you set up your filters correctly, so you don’t mess up your data. You can see below that the Filter we just implemented filters out one spam hit for the last seven days. So it looks like it is not omitting crucial data.
Exclude internal traffic
Thirdly, you could be applying Google Analytics filters to filter out traffic from specific IP addresses. Think about using your own IP address or that of your main competitor. Or the other way around set up a View that only exclusively includes either of these traffic sources. For most small businesses this is a waste of time, it could be interesting for large businesses.
Assuming you did the first two or three steps, you should now have Google Analytics views where you are looking at your websites interactions with real visitors! Hurray.