How to Remove Bot Traffic in Google Analytics in Under 2 Minutes!
If you’re actively monitoring your Google Analytics account, there is a good chance you have spotted some unusual, head-scratching activity within your data at some point. In some cases this could be an incredibly high (or low) bounce rate being recorded on a specific day under a specific acquisition channel, in others it could be a single day pulling in a 2000% increase in users.
While it is very easy to get lost and spend countless hours data cleansing, one of the first things you should do (and it is easy to forget!) is block out bot traffic in Google Analytics. This might sound like a complicated task but the setup can be done within 3 minutes!
Some bots are harmless and unintentionally skew your data. Have you ever conducted a full site audit on your website? More often than not, the spiders in the auditing software will crawl your site, sending tracking data over to GA in the process.
Then there are bots that intentionally inflate your traffic numbers. Does your website run CPM (cost per thousand impressions) advertising? You could be spending a large portion of your ad budget on faulty impression data, generated by bots instead of human eyes!
Implementing Bot Filtering in a custom view will allow you to easily assess if your head-scratching website activity is indeed caused by bots or spiders.
The first thing we need to do is create a New View in Google Analytics.
We do not want to impact our All Website Data view with our trial modifications. Plus, we want to have something to compare and contrast with.
Unfortunately, like most filters and data modifications made within GA, our Bot Filter will NOT have a retroactive impact on our data. We therefore need to wait patiently as data is collected in both views, and analyze the differences over time.
Go into the Admin section of your Google Analytics Account. Once you are there, proceed to “View Settings” under the View column.
Click “Copy View” (top right hand side) and name the new view “Website Data (Bot Filtered).
Now enable the Bot Filtering checkbox towards the bottom of the page.
By checking this box, GA will now apply its Bot Filter to your New View! All bots and spiders that can be found in the frequently updated IAB/ABC International Spiders and Bots list will no longer impact your data.
Of course, the world isn’t perfect, and neither is Google Analytics Bot Filtering. Some websites, primarily larger sites generating hundreds of thousands of daily users, will need to take things a little further. There are various custom filters you can build, assigning specific functionalities to weed out bots and spam, such as:
- Traffic from the ISP (Internet Service Provider) Domain
- Traffic from specific IP addresses
- Traffic from subdirectories
- Traffic to the hostname
For most, filtering out Bots and Spiders is as easy as clicking one checkbox within Google Analytics! Remember to create a Copy View to ensure that you do not manipulate your raw data. Then utilize the Copy View and your All Website Data View to analyze and compare results!