To keep your Google Analytics data pure you should remove all traffic generated by yourself or others that may not be real visitors. For example, if your company has a large call center you should remove the traffic they generate because it will skew your analytics data.
To remove this data we usually use an exclude filter based on IP address, host name or geographic location. While this is effective the results can be a bit ‘broad’. What I mean is you may not want to remove ALL of the traffic from an IP address, host name or geographic location.
Here’s another example. I have a blog (obviously) that I track with Google Analytics and I want to remove all of the traffic I generate. I don’t want to use an exclude filter based on IP address or geographic location because I want to see traffic generated by others in my company and city/state. I only want to exclude the traffic from the computer I am working on.
This technique can also be used if you have a dynamic IP address.
The solution is to create an exclude filter based on another piece of data, more specifically a custom segment. This method isn’t as broad as an exclude filter based on IP, hostname or geographic location. The filter is based on a cookie, which is specific to a computer. Using this method I can eliminate all of the traffic from an individual computer without affecting data created by others.
How to Set it Up
The first step is to set a cookie on your machine that will identify you to Google Analytics. We’re going to use GA’s custom segmentation functionality to do the.
I created a script that will set the GA custom segment cookie on your computer. You can view the source here.
Copy the source and paste it into your favorite editor. Then save the file. For the page to properly display on your website you will need to save it with the correct extension. You should be able to use a .html or .htm extension. It depends on your web server.
Once the file has been saved, upload it to your web server. You may need to use FTP. If you don’t know how to put the file on your web server consult with your web master. You can place the file anywhere on the site.
Then open a browser and type the location of the file in the browser. The page should display as an HTML form. If it displays as text then you probably need to change the file extension.
Enter some text into the text box and click the ‘Create Cookie’ button. The script will set the GA custom segment cookie on your computer and the cookie will have a value of whatever you entered into the text box. Do not use any white spaces or special characters when entering a value for your custom segment. Keep it simple, something like ‘exclude-me’ will work just fine. You should see a confirmation message that the cookie was set correctly.
The next step is to log into your GA account and create an exclude filter based on the value of the custom segment cookie. If you entered ‘exclude_me’ in the form then use ‘exclude_me’ as the value in the filter pattern field. Here are the settings for the exclude filter:
This script works by taking the value you enter in the form and setting it as a custom segment. The great thing about this script is you can place it on your site and then access it from all the computers you work on. Just point a browser to the script, submit the form and all traffic from that machine will be excluded.
Keep in mind that the GA cookies are specific to a domain. So if you want to use this script for multiple websites you need to follow the above process for each domain.