FAQ: Eliminating Internal Referrers

Most of the referrers listed in the "Top referrers" view are from my own site. Why is that, and how can I eliminate referrers from my own site from the statistics?

Short Answer

These are "internal referrers"; they represent visitors going from one page of your site to another page of your site. You can eliminate them by modifying the default "(internal referrer)" log filter, changing http://www.mydomain.com/ in that filter to your web site URL.

Long Answer

Referrers show which page a hit came from -- i.e. they show what page a visitor was on when they clicked the link that took them to your page. For most web sites, visitors arrive and then click through several pages before leaving, so most web log data has a lot of referrers that are pages on the site being analyzed. For instance, if someone visits http://www.yoursite.com/index.html, and then clicks on a link pointing to http://www.yoursite.com/page2.html, it will show up in the log data (and in the statistics) as a referrer http://www.yoursite.com/index.html. These referrers are called an "internal referrer," and under normal circumstances, you don't really care about them-- what you really want to know is which referrers brought traffic to your site, not what the referrers were once they got there.

Sawmill can't distinguish internal referrers from external referrers because it doesn't know your site's URL. So it doesn't know if a referral from http://www.yoursite.com/index.html is internal (which it is if your site is yoursite.com), or external (which it is if your site is anything else). To help Sawmill identify and hide internal referrers, you need to modify a log filter that Sawmill creates for you. Here's how:

  1. Go to the Config section of your profile.

  2. Click Log Filters.

  3. Edit the log filter which sets referrers from "yoursite.com" to "(internal referrer)"

  4. Replace "yoursite.com" with your actual site name, in that log filter.

  5. Rebuild the database.

Once you've done that, the internal referrers will be suppressed in the "Top referrers" view (or they will appear as "(internal referrer)" if you've turned on parenthesized items).