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I have been asked why this site is getting a high self-referral on a site. We are using a custom tracker script that loads GA up and adds events to elements but it doesn't do more then load GA.

The Question is, to be clear: With everything given below, what would/could be done to stop self-referrals? All known and accepted fixes are applied.

The url that has all the self-referral is at http://admission.wsu.edu/applications/index.html

Here is a shot of the stats

enter image description here

What the javascript does is put out basically

var domain = "admission.wsu.edu";
var account_id = "UA-xxx-xxx";

pageTracker = _gat._createTracker(account_id);
pageTracker._initData();

pageTracker._setDomainName(domain);
pageTracker._addIgnoredRef(domain);
//pageTracker._setAllowLinker(settings.allowLinker); // skiped

and is set up so that it fallows most any tips from

https://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=google+analytics+prevent+self+referral&oq=google+a&gs_l=hp.3.1.35i39l2j0l2.2483.9554.0.12135.8.8.0.0.0.0.465.1569.0j6j1j0j1.8.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.vLMd0qUkSIc&pbx=1&fp=1&bpcl=36601534&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&cad=b

Some other notes here is that we have used the Google Debug tools to probe where it's coming from, but here is an example output of the debug tool from onload through one click on the "freshman" box.

Track Pageview ga_debug.js:18
Tracking beacon sent!
utmwv=5.3.8d&utms=3&utmn=855849709&utmhn=admission.wsu.edu&utmcs=UTF-8&utmsr=1680x1050&utmvp=1135x855&utmsc=32-bit&utmul=en-us&utmje=1&utmfl=11.5%20r31&utmdt=Application%20Forms%20-%20Admissions%20-%20Washington%20State%20University&utmhid=432175280&utmr=-&utmp=%2Fapplications%2Findex.html&utmac=UA-XXXXXXXX-1&utmcc=__utma%3D7062370.736664850.1348591296.1350926235.1350998005.4%3B%2B__utmz%3D7062370.1348591296.1.1.utmcsr%3D(direct)%7Cutmccn%3D(direct)%7Cutmcmd%3D(none)%3B&utmu=GJAAACAAAC~ ga_debug.js:18
Account ID               : UA-XXXXXXXX-1
Page Title               : Application Forms - Admissions - Washington State University
Host Name                : admission.wsu.edu
Page                     : /applications/index.html
Referring URL            : -
Hit ID                   : 432175280
Visitor ID               : 736664850
Session Count            : 4
Session Time - First     : Tue Sep 25 2012 09:41:36 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Session Time - Last      : Mon Oct 22 2012 10:17:15 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Session Time - Current   : Tue Oct 23 2012 06:13:25 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Campaign Time            : Tue Sep 25 2012 09:41:36 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Campaign Session         : 1
Campaign Count           : 1
Campaign Source          : (direct)
Campaign Medium          : (none);
Campaign Name            : (direct)
Language                 : en-us
Encoding                 : UTF-8
Flash Version            : 11.5 r31
Java Enabled             : true
Screen Resolution        : 1680x1050
Browser Size             : 1135x855
Color Depth              : 32-bit
Ga.js Version            : 5.3.8d
Cachebuster              : 855849709 ga_debug.js:18
Track Event ga_debug.js:18
Tracking beacon sent!
utmwv=5.3.8d&utms=4&utmn=774673777&utmhn=admission.wsu.edu&utmt=event&utme=5(inpage*jump*Apply%20as%20Freshman%20Section)(1)&utmcs=UTF-8&utmsr=1680x1050&utmvp=1135x855&utmsc=32-bit&utmul=en-us&utmje=1&utmfl=11.5%20r31&utmdt=Application%20Forms%20-%20Admissions%20-%20Washington%20State%20University&utmhid=432175280&utmr=-&utmp=%2Fapplications%2Findex.html&utmac=UA-XXXXXXXX-1&utmcc=__utma%3D7062370.736664850.1348591296.1350926235.1350998005.4%3B%2B__utmz%3D7062370.1348591296.1.1.utmcsr%3D(direct)%7Cutmccn%3D(direct)%7Cutmcmd%3D(none)%3B&utmu=WJAAACAAAC~ ga_debug.js:18
Account ID               : UA-XXXXXXXX-1
Page Title               : Application Forms - Admissions - Washington State University
Host Name                : admission.wsu.edu
Page                     : /applications/index.html
Referring URL            : -
Hit ID                   : 432175280
Hit Type                 : event
Event Name               : inpage
Event Type               : jump
Event Label              : Apply as Freshman Section
Event Value              : 1
Visitor ID               : 736664850
Session Count            : 4
Session Time - First     : Tue Sep 25 2012 09:41:36 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Session Time - Last      : Mon Oct 22 2012 10:17:15 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Session Time - Current   : Tue Oct 23 2012 06:13:25 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Campaign Time            : Tue Sep 25 2012 09:41:36 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Campaign Session         : 1
Campaign Count           : 1
Campaign Source          : (direct)
Campaign Medium          : (none);
Campaign Name            : (direct)
Language                 : en-us
Encoding                 : UTF-8
Flash Version            : 11.5 r31
Java Enabled             : true
Screen Resolution        : 1680x1050
Browser Size             : 1135x855
Color Depth              : 32-bit
Ga.js Version            : 5.3.8d
Cachebuster              : 774673777 

I have inspected like crazy to find where this self-referral is coming from and how to prevent it as it's only coming from this one area. Anyone have any insight on the cause and correct of this issue?

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1 Answer

You should remove the _initData call.

It's deprecated and it can cause self referral issues when used before _setDomainName and _setCookiePath as you are using.

You should really look into upgrading your analytics tracking code to use the async format. That should also improve the self-referral issues because it tends to work faster.

One things that causes self-referrals is when the analytics code doesn;t have enough time to run on the landing page.

eg: The user navigates away from the home page before the analytics had the chance to run.

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super.. I'll try and see if that helps. Thanks I'll get back –  jeremy.bass Jan 22 '13 at 2:29
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