At this point in time, if you’ve been following our blogs, you’re more than aware of how helpful and powerful Google Analytics can be. As a recap, we can say that this free web analytics product powered by Google can provide users with valuable website performance, insights on user behaviors with your website, how long they stay on a page, which pages they visit, and so much more.
However, not all website traffic is genuine. There are various types of fake traffic out there, like bots, that can skew your website data and give you misleading results.
This is why we’ve decided to write a blog about it. So, let’s dive into this topic and discuss bot traffic and IP addresses in Google Analytics and how you can protect yourself from inaccurate website data.
What Is Your IP Address?
First and foremost, how could we define what an IP address is? So, according to Google, an IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique numerical identifier assigned to every device connected to the internet.
An IP address can be used to identify and communicate with devices over the internet. And when you think about it, everyone that has a computer also has an IP address. Here’s an example of what an IP address looks like:
So, your IP address is important because it allows other devices to locate your device on the internet. Think of it like a postal address for your device. Every time you connect to the internet, your device is assigned an IP address. It’s almost like your online personal ID!
Where Can You Find Your IP Address?
Finding your IP address is very simple. If you are using a desktop or laptop computer, all you need to do is open your web browser and type “What’s my IP address?” into the search bar.
Quickly enough, the search engine of your choice will display your IP address right away. And if you are using a mobile device, the process is very similar. In this case, you just have to open your web browser and search for “What’s my IP address?”. Easy-peasy, right?
What Does Google Analytics Do With Your IP Address?
All of this is good. We’re learning about IP addresses. But, how does this relate to Google Analytics?
Google Analytics tracks your IP address to identify unique visitors to your website. It uses this information to provide you with insights into your website traffic, such as the number of visitors, the geographic location of visitors, and the time of day visitors access your website.
Google Analytics also uses your IP address to identify suspicious activity, such as bot traffic. This is where it gets interesting.
How to Exclude Your IP Address From Google Analytics
The best way you can ensure that your website data is accurate is by excluding your IP address from Google Analytics. This is a must! Especially since it’s very likely that you’re your website’s number one fan. In turn, this can provide an inaccurate number and without knowing, you might be tracking your own website visits on your own website.
Doesn’t sound accurate, right? Because with the Google Analytics tracking installed on your website, all of your own personal visits will be recorded and skew your data.
To avoid this, you’ll need to exclude your IP address. Please follow these simple steps to exclude your IP address from your Google Analytics account:
- The first thing you’ll need to do is log in to your Google Analytics account.
- Once inside, you must make your way to the Admin tab.
- Then, select the Account and Property you want to exclude your IP address from.
- Click on the Filters option.
- Then, click on the Add Filter button.
- Enter a Filter Name (e.g., Exclude My IP).
- Select the Predefined filter type.
- Select Exclude traffic from the IP addresses that are equal to.
- Enter your IP address. (We already went over how you can find your IP address earlier in the blog)
- Finally, click on the Save button.
And there you have it! You now should have successfully excluded your IP address from your Google Analytics account.
How to Spot Suspicious Activity in GA
Next up, we think it’s worth mentioning that Google Analytics has several tools to detect suspicious activity on your website, such as spikes in traffic or unusual visitor behavior.
For example, if you notice a sudden increase in traffic from a specific location or a high bounce rate (where users visit only one page and then leave), it could be a sign of bot traffic. I’ve personally seen this myself, and what you want to do in this case is exclude that specific location if you’re seeing it’s bringing you spam traffic to your website.
What is Bot Traffic In Google Analytics?
At this point in time, we’ve talked about bot traffic, but what is it? So, bot traffic refers to visits to your website by automated computer programs or bots rather than humans.
Bots can be used for various purposes, such as search engine crawling or website scraping. However, they can also be used for malicious activities, such as click fraud, where bots generate fake clicks on ads to generate revenue. Really, we should think as bots, in this context, as something bad that it’s only going to do your website performance more harm than good.
Let’s compare the difference between good and bad bots to get a clearer view of what we’re talking about.
How to Identify Bot Traffic in Google Analytics
Luckily, Google Analytics provides us with protection in several ways in which you can easily identify bot traffic on your website, such as:
- High bounce rates: Bots tend to visit only one page and leave, resulting in a high bounce rate.
- Irregular traffic patterns: Bots often follow predictable patterns, such as visiting your website at the same time every day or week.
- Unusual traffic sources: Bots often have unusual traffic sources, such as direct traffic or traffic from a single location.
If you’re having difficulty remembering what bounce rate is, here’s a quick reminder:
And if you’re wondering what the most common traffic sources are, here’s a few:
How to Filter Bot Traffic in Google Analytics
Surprisingly, the process to filter out bot traffic in Google Analytics is very similar to excluding your IP address. To filter bot traffic, you can set up a bot filter.
Here are the steps to set up a bot filter in Google Analytics:
- Once again, you want to make sure you’re logged in to your Google Analytics account.
- Then, make your way to the Admin tab.
- Next, select the Account and Property you want to set up the bot filter for.
- Click on the Filters option and the Add Filter button.
- This time around when you enter a Filter Name you’ll want it to refer to what you’re trying to do, which is to exclude bot traffic.
- Then, select the Custom filter type.
- Select the Exclude filter type.
- In the Filter Field drop-down menu, select “Bot Filtering“.
- In the Filter Pattern field, select “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders“.
- Click on the Save button.
Easy, right? Now you know that by putting in place a bot filter, you can stop bot traffic from distorting your website statistics and get more precise insights into how well your website is performing.
Embrace Google Analytics’s Power to Defend Yourself Against Bot Traffic, Skewed Data and Spam
To wrap up, we can see how Google Analytics continues to prove how strong of a tool it is with all its insightful data and how it still manages to protect GA users from bot traffic. Understanding the function of IP addresses and bot traffic in your website statistics is crucial, since Google Analytics uses your IP address to identify unique users and spot questionable behavior.
In contrast, bot traffic can skew your website data and produce false findings. It’s important for you to take the steps and processes we mentioned in this blog so that you may filter out bot traffic and exclude your IP address from Google Analytics, ensuring that the information collected by your website is reliable and useful.
Want to learn more about the great significance of Google Analytics? We have a few blogs about it. You can start with this one: