Tip # 2: Avoid Deceptive Web Stats – Filter Your Web Traffic

Part of our series: Special Web Marketing Tips for Remodeling Contractors

In this series of Special Web Traffic Tips for Remodeling Contractors, we will go over some of these secrets one by one. Pretty soon you will understand your traffic an be able to make better decisions about your marketing.

Filtering your web traffic stats can be very helpful, if not critical, to getting useful and accurate data from your website. What do I mean by “filtering” and what is it you should filter? Good questions.

Filtering, in Google Analytics, has a specific meaning. It means always not counting visits and web traffic from specific places for a given Profile or set of Profiles. It is generally a good idea to filter out from your filtered profiles any visits by people belonging to your company and your staff, your web developers, SEO providers, content editors, etc. Essentially, filter out as much of your own traffic as possible and any traffic that is never going to be a prospect because they are on the website to work on it or use it for business.

By filtering out traffic from people who may, at times, access your site many times for working on your website content or looking at it to update it, for example, you filter out variables and “noise” from the traffic that could represent web visitors who could be prospects. So, if one month you have a lot of work done on your website you won’t mistake that additional web traffic for an increase is interest.

Set Up Two or More Profiles

One of the best ways to do this is to set up a second or several additional profiles in Google Analytics for your website. Keep one profile unfiltered so you can measure all the traffic.   The difference in the traffic and other statistics between the unfiltered and filtered traffic will be the traffic you don’t want to include in your analysis. It impacts not just numbers but percentages and ratios and levels your numbers. Filtering gives you much better data with which to make decisions.

GRAPHIC SCREEN SHOT

Google Analytics account for www.yourdomain.com

Profile 1: www.yourdomain.com unfiltered

Profile 2: www.yourdomain.com filtered

Filter by IP Address

Once you have set up the profile for filtering, you can set up the filter for that profile in Google Analytics by excluding from the counted traffic any visits from the IP address (Internet Protocol address) of anyone you don’t want to count. The IP address is the web address number each connection to the internet has. It typically looks like a series of numbers separated by dots. For example, 77.106.230.101 or 185.203.412.110, etc.

You can get your IP address by going to any one of many websites that will show you your IP address. One is http://www.whatismyip.com/

Static vs Dynamic IP Addresses

One downside of filtering by IP address is that there are IP addresses which are “static” and others that are “dynamic”. Static IP addresses don’t change. If you filter them, your traffic from that IP address will always be filtered. Dynamic IP addresses can change at any time. So even if you get your IP address today and filter it, it may not stay filtered and you may actually end up filtering someone else’s traffic who is later dynamically assigned that address.

You can contact your ISP (Internet Service Provider) about getting a Static IP address if you don’t have one. Generally business internet services will offer static IPs but not all consumer connections offer static IPs. Mobile devices rarely have static IPs and if you access your website from multiple locations you may be able to filter some but not all.

Generally it only pays to filter out Static IP addresses. So you may very well be able to filter out the traffic from your office, your SEO company and your web developer, but not your home, mobile devices, etc. However, this filtering is better than none.

Unlike some things you can do to look at parts of your web traffic history from the past, you can’t retroactively filter or un-filter profiles, so it is good to filter one profile from the start.

Non-IP Address Filtering

Some Content Management Systems (like WordPress) have a feature or plug-in features that will mask the traffic from someone who is signed into your website. This is another way to filter out some of the traffic you may want to exclude from your web stats. It is one way that works with dynamic IPs as well as static IPs. It does require the visitor to sign in and it may record their visit as a bounce since they have to first pull up the site before logging in. You can filter out all traffic to the log-in page if it is a page that no one would use otherwise and if people always log into the site when they want their traffic to be masked.

So here is what your web traffic might look like filtered vs unfiltered.

Traffic in terms of sessions

Unfiltered Profile Filtered Profile What’s Important About the Numbers
680 300  Less than 50% of traffic is possible prospects
462 270  Slightly more than 50% is possible prospects traffic
425 400 Almost all traffic is possible prospects and also highest number of possible prospects
  The RED filtered traffic number is the best for sales as it indicates the highest traffic that is not likely related to your company

Note that the unfiltered profile visit numbers include people who work for you who are not likely prospects.  So the last line, while it has fewer unfiltered profile visits, actually showed the best traffic from a marketing standpoint because it has the most filtered profile traffic. (The next step will be to learn how to drill down on the filtered numbers as well because not all filtered traffic will be likely prospects.)