How to correctly block internal traffic in Google Analytics

There is a good possibility that you and your staff may be inflating your own website traffic data by visiting your website every day or so.

The traffic generated by you or your employees, suppliers and other service providers to your website is called the ‘Internal Traffic‘.

These people are not your target audience and therefore we don’t need to track them.

Internal traffic can easily skew your website usage metrics (sessions, bounce rate, page views, time on site, ecommerce conversion rate etc) and therefore must be filtered out from your Google Analytics reports.

Google Analytics does not honour the ‘Do not Track’ request

Do not Track is an opt out feature available in all major web browsers.

When your turn this feature ‘On’, it send a ‘Do not track’ request to each website you visit.

It also send ‘Do not track’ request to each third party advertisers whose contents/ads are hosted on the websites you visit.

Depending upon the individual’s privacy policies, websites and third parties may or may not honor the ‘do not track’ request.

The websites which do honour the request, will immediately stop tracking your browsing behavior.

Google Analytics does not honour the ‘Do not track’ request.

So enabling ‘Do no track’ is not going to help you in blocking the internal traffic in GA reports or being tracked by Google Analytics.

Most effective way to block internal traffic in Google Analytics

Majority of optimizers recommend using IP based filters to block internal traffic in Google Analytics or do some ‘JavaScript‘ hack.

I don’t.

The IP based filters applied to a Google Analytics view is not effective, as IP addresses keep changing and majority of people do not use static IPs.

So you may be working under the impression that you are already blocking internal traffic in GA when that is not the case.

Install and enable Google Analytics Opt out Add on

In order to minimize or even completely eliminate the possibility of inflating / skewing the traffic of your own website, I would suggest to install Google Analytics Opt out Add on on all of your desktop/laptop computers and enable it.

I use this extension all of the time.

It is a chrome extension which disable Google Analytics (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js).

So then, no matter how many times you or your staff visit your own website, your visits will not be recorded by Google Analytics.

It is independent of IP addresses.

So change in IP address won’t affect this extension.

This extension is also available for other web browsers: ‘Microsoft Internet Explorer’, ‘Mozilla Firefox’, ‘Apple Safari’ and ‘Opera’.

Use only those browsers/machines to access your website where you have installed this extension.

Avoid visiting the website via tablet or mobile devices wherever possible, as this extension won’t work there. 

Ask all of your employees and suppliers to install this extension on their desktop/laptop computers.

Employees who are most likely to visit your website frequently are your web developers and web designers.

So make sure at least that they use the ‘Google Analytics Opt out Add on’.

Testing your internal traffic block in Google Analytics

‘Google Analytics opt out Add on’ disable the firing of Google Analytics tracking code.

It does not remove the Google Analytics tracking code from web pages.

So if you use a add-on like ‘Ghostery’ (which display the list of all the analytics tag on a web page), it will still show you Google Analytics tag.

But that does not mean that the GA tag has fired.

So add-on like ‘Ghostery’ are not the best tool to test whether GA tag is firing or not.

Use Google Tag Assistant.

Click on the ‘tag assistant icon in your browser and then check the ‘where to optimize‘ section.

You should see the following message:

No Google Analytics HTTP responses because opted out code detected.

This message validate that your Google Analytics tracking code has not fired because of your ‘Google Analytics Opt out Add on’.

If you are brand new to Google Tag Assistant then read this article: Complete Guide to Google Tag Assistant 

Alternatively, disable the GA opt out Add on before you do testing/debugging of your GA tracking and/or installation.

Because as long as this add on is enabled, Google Analytics tag won’t fire.

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Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
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