Image from forbes.com

Image from forbes.com

I’d like to preface this article by pointing out that if you’re not using Google Analytics right now to track your website traffic then you need to get on that immediately. Shockingly, nearly 50% of the practices that have partnered with Turbo over the past year did not have any Analytics installed prior to working with us! For some basic to advanced tips for getting started with and using Google Analytics check out this article.

If you do have Analytics installed, you’re over halfway there! The next step is all about how to decipher the information. Most of it is self-explanatory, but some of it may be confusing. Even worse, some of the data can be misleading, such as your bounce rate and conversion sources. You may also have noticed over the past year or so some weird referral sources, such as “social buttons” or references to SEO companies. Check out this article for information on how to remove those sources from your reports.

The Latest Challenge: Self Referral Traffic

So what exactly is “self referral traffic?” It’s website traffic that’s categorized as a “Referral” – under the Source/Medium column- from your own website. You can see an example of this below…

self referral

The reason that you’re seeing this is because there’s an issue with the tracking code. The code is not accurately tracking visitors to the site from start to finish, and therefore Google Analytics, while recognizing the visitor, does not know which Source/Medium to credit as the referrer.

You shouldn’t see any self referral traffic in your reports, but if you’re seeing your own site as the #1 referrer you have a big problem. Why? If you’re investing in any type of digital marketing, such as SEO, advertising, or social media, to name a few, and you see self referral traffic then you know your data is skewed. Bad data means you cannot accurately gauge ROI. Bottom line, you need to be able to accurately see exactly how many patients visited – and converted – from each referral source.

How to Solve the Problem

Example javascript from Google Analytics

Example javascript from Google Analytics

First, check how you’ve installed Google Analytics. Find the exact plugin you’ve used as that is more than likely the issue. I’ve seen issues with plugins where you simply paste in your Analytics UA # vs. pasting in the entire tracking javascript. For every client where we’ve spotted this mistake, we either fixed the issue by replacing the existing plugin with the NK Google Analytics WordPress plugin or by simply pasting the Analytics javascript code directly into the appropriate field for the WordPress theme you’re using. If you’re not using WordPress ,I recommend you check out this detailed article, with step-by-step instructions for fixing your self referral issue.

To learn more about Google Analytics I encourage you to check out all of our articles on this topic. If you need help getting your lead tracking in place, or your practice needs a digital marketing overhaul or review, then shoot Turbo a message here or call us directly at 877-673-7096 x2.