Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
It’s quite upsetting when you go to Google Analytics and see a spike in traffic from something like Amazon Technologies, Inc. It throws all kinds of data points off and provides false positives about your site. So, let’s remove Amazon from Analytics!
If you’re interested in accurate reporting about how your site is doing, you want to get rid of the bots and false tracking.
While it may look kinda cool to see a spike in traffic, it doesn’t help you.
Analytics is a great tool to see what your audience appreciates most about your site. And having some bot from Boardman, Oregon slam your homepage only disrupts that data.
How Do You Know it’s an Amazon Bot?
OK, so you see a spike in Google Analytics in terms of “Users.” Let’s make sure it’s a bot before we try to remove Amazon from Analytics.
From your site’s reporting screen in Google, click on “Audience.”
Go to “Technology” and click “Network.”
As you can see, there is a spike in traffic coming from two distinct networks: amazon technologies inc. and amazon.com inc. Both often have a 100% bounce rate with an average session time of 0 seconds.
Unfortunately, this activity screws up the data. In this example, I cannot trust the information because of this Amazon bot. And since I like to know what my audience prefers, I need to remove Amazon from Analytics so I can get more accurate results.
So, let’s put an end to recording this pain in the web.
How to Filter Amazon from Google Analytics
You’d think Google would implement an easy way to filter out bad results from Analytics. After all, bots like that of Amazon run rampant on the Internet.
Instead, setting up a permanent filter is a bit of a process. Luckily, there are a couple of ways we can remove Amazon from view.
Method 1: Temporarily Remove Amazon from Analytics
From the Technology > Network screen, click the “Advanced” link on the right.
By default, Analytics should show the “Include” and “Service Provider” and “Containing” filters already available.
Using the dropdown option, change “Include” to “Exclude.”
Input “amazon” into the text field.
Click the “Apply” button on the lower left.
Once Google refreshes the screen, it will remove Amazon from Analytics data.
And as you can see, the Bounce Rate, Average Session Duration, User counts and more are adjusted. So instead of an 89.15% bounce rate, the site is at 78.54%, which is much better.
This advanced filter also works in other areas of Google Analytics.
For instance, you can use it in “Behavior” and “All Pages” under “Site Content.” By setting the Secondary Dimension to Network Domain and adding the same advanced filter I just showed you, it will clean up the information.
The biggest issue here is that this method is temporary. As soon as you leave the screen, Amazon will come back to the report.
Method 2: Setting Up a Permanent Filter to Remove Amazon from Analytics
The temporary method might work if you’re in a hurry and want to grab some information from Analytics. But what about a more permanent solution?
Let’s permanently filter Amazon from Google Analytics.
Click the “Admin” option on the bottom left of Analytics.
You should have three columns in front of you. In the right column, click the “Filters” option. It’ll be under the “View” column for “All Web Site Data.”
Click the “+Add Filter” button.
Give the filter a new name. For this instance, I’m going to use “Amazon Bots.”
This name is just so you can easily identify it later on. That way, you can delete the correct filter if you want to record the data.
Choose the “Custom” filter type. Google will load a new set of options for the filters.
The “Exclude” option should be selected by default. If it’s not, make sure you click the radio button next to “Exclude” before proceeding.
In “Filter Type,” select “ISP Organization.”
You can sift through the available list of field types, but I find it easier to simply start typing ISP in the search bar. Analytics will drill down to ISP Organization for you.
Input the following into the “Filter Pattern:”
This will eliminate the two Amazon entries we saw in the reports.
Click the “Save” button on the bottom.
Once you save, you have an automatic filter that will remove Amazon from Analytics from this moment on.
That’s the downside to the filtering system; It doesn’t retroactively get rid of the data in the reports. However, you can use the temporary filter in Method 1 if you need back-dated data.
Verify Option in the Filter Screen
From the filter screen, you also have the option to “Verify this filter.” If you click the link, Analytics will show you what the data would look like without the filtered entry over the past seven days.
NOTE: The verify will only scan the past seven days and will not permanently remove that old data. It’s just there to show you if the filter is set up correctly. If Amazon hit your site more than seven days ago, you will see nothing in the verify screen.
Why not filter out Boardman, Oregon as well?
I’m not a fan of filtering city locations from Google Analytics. Sure, sometimes you’ll get a spike in traffic from a single source from a specific city. But, removing the city itself also removes any human visitor data.
And I know, Boardman, Oregon isn’t a heavily populated area. But, you never know if someone there is finding the site interesting.
To me, it’s like nuking a house when a single mousetrap would do.
Besides, removing Amazon from Analytics itself prevents the data from showing up even if it originates from other cities. Otherwise, you’d have to keep entering city after city each time the source moved locations.
This tends to happen with Amazon. At first, I was getting visits from Ashburn. Nowadays, it’s Boardman. One filter can rule them all.
Can’t you just block the Amazon bot from the website?
Depending on the system you’re using, you have a couple of options for blocking bots.
For instance, WordPress users can install something like Blackhole for Bad Bots. This plugin gives you the option to customize the list and remove bots that were mistakenly perma-blocked.
You can also edit the .htaccess file to govern bot behavior. However, not every bot will honor the request and hit your site anyway.
Can I do this with other bots that show up in Analytics?
Absolutely. Just dig through your data and find the providers that are sending the bots. Then, you can add another filter to get rid of that one as well. Though, nowadays, Google Analytics comes with a built-in bot filter.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t remove all bots on the Internet. But, it does a pretty good job catching the most common.
The “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders” option is located in “View Settings.”
Base Decisions on Clean Data
In the end, bot visits do nothing for gathering site data. You want to know how people are using your site and what content is the most prevalent. It helps you create future content strategies.
Get rid of the Amazon bot and get a more accurate report. It only takes a few minutes of your time if you permanently do so.
- The End: What I Learned from 90 Posts in 30 Days - September 30, 2021
- What’s Next After the Blogging Experiment is Over? - September 29, 2021
- October is Cybersecurity Month: Is Your Blog Protected? - September 28, 2021