If, in your Analytics, under source/medium and referral you are seeing your own website then it means you have a self-referral problem. Can it ever happen that visitor to your website came to your website through your website? Of course, not. It means Google Analytics is attributing the source/medium or referral to a wrong website. If you are spending money on ads or doing SEO, the increase in traffic will not be attributed to the correct source so you won’t be able to figure out which is the best source to spend money at because Google Analytics is providing the wrong information.
Self-referral means information is incorrectly reported in your Google Analytics and your session count is also inaccurate.
In this article we will figure out what causes self-referral issues and how you can fix them.
These are the common causes of self-referral issues
Untagged landing pages:
If any of your page have the tracking code missing then Analytics will assume that it is the page that generated the traffic and it will show it as a referral inside statistics.
When a user visits your website whether through Google Search, Coming directly by putting URL in the address bar on the browser, or any other website the Analytics tracking code at the referring page to understand how to attribute the traffic source of that user.
Let’s assume your home page is not tagged with the Analytics code, user starts journey on your website through a Google search. To Analytics, it appears the first hit in the session is coming through your page instead of Google search thus you get self-referral.
Improper Cookie domain configuration
By default the cookie domain configuration is set to Auto if you change the settings you need to understand what you are doing otherwise this can cause self-referral issue.
Improper Cross-domain tracking
If you setup cross-domain tracking wrongly then you can also get self-referral issues.
How to fix self-referral issue
Step 1 – To fix this issue is simple, make sure all of your pages have the Google Analytics code inserted; if any of the page have the code missing, you will get the self-referral.
Step 2 – Add your website to referral exclusion list. You can find it in Admin > Property > Tracking Info > Referral Exclusion List. Enter your domain name to the list and this should do it to stop getting self referrals.