As a web developer I’m interested in the visitor statistics for any site that I manage, but with this new blog I find that my own visits are swamping the results. On commercial sites I’ve used IP address filtering to exclude employee visits, since they are usually coming from a limited number of access points related to company offices, but in this case I view my blog from several difference devices with dynamic IP addresses.
Trawling the web I found a solution using
_setVar on googlelytics.net but this approach is now deprecated.
Step 1 – Adding the exclusion to your site
Firstly, I assume you have the standard Google Analytics tracking code somewhere on your pages, like this:
Then create a simple page with the following additional script:
<script> var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar', 1, 'Me', 'yes', 1]); </script>
(It doesn’t matter where the script goes, although I put it just below my tracking script which means I can also remove the
var _gaq = _gaq || ; line).
The page content doesn’t matter (I just show a message saying my own visits are now excluded), but it shouldn’t be linked by other pages in the site or your sitemap, and should have a URL you can remember.
To exclude your own visits you simply access this page from every browser you use, and it sets the custom variable in a cookie that is used in the next step. If you clear your cookies or use a different browser you need to visit the page again before accessing the rest of your site.
Step 2 – Configuring Google Analytics
To use this cookie, we create an “Advanced Segment” that will filter tracking based on it.
- View the Dashboard report for the site you are interested in (the one associated with the UA-????????-? in the tracking code).
- In the top right corner there is a dropdown labeled Advanced Segments:, select this and it gives you the option to manage Advanced Segements.
- Select the Create a new advanced segment link which gives you a report builder interface.
- Expand the Visitors dimension in the green part on the left, and drag the Custom Variable (Key 1) entry onto the report dimension or metric area.
- For the Condition enter “Does not match exactly” and for the Value enter the name from your _setCustomVar call (in this case Me). Note it’s the name that you enter, not the value. It should look like this:
- Save the segment as “Exclude own visits” and you can now apply this to your reports by using the Advanced Segments selection screen as accessed in point 2.
- You can create the opposite filter by using Condition “Matches exactly” instead, and name it “Own visits”.
One thing I haven’t yet discovered is how to set an Advanced Segment to be the default view on the dashboard, comments on how to solve this would be very welcome.