A common support issue is about self-referral traffic. This is where the website's domain name appears in referral traffic, this is particularly common when there are subdomains e.g., a separate www. and tickets. website.
There are a few things you can try to reduce and hopefully eliminate self-referral traffic.
- Referral exclusions documentation
- Analytics script version
- Referral Exclusion List
Long-tail of referral traffic from returning users
- To best minimise referral exclusions you will need to be running the newer analytics.js, not the older ga.js
- Both www. and tickets. must be running analytics.js, not the older ga.js
- This will then give you access to the Referral Exclusion List. See: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2795830
Referral Exclusion List
Google has a Referral Exclusion List that can be used to manage self-referrals. If there is nothing in that list you will want to add your domain names to that list. For example if you were running a BlocksOffice website for example.com you would want to add the following domains to that list:
The other thing to note is that there can be a long-tail of referral traffic from returning users. The "Referral Exclusions" support page has some good information about this: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2795830?hl=en
From that link:
Why returning users from excluded domains still appear in your reports
This issue results from the default campaign timeout of 6 months:
User A arrives to your site via a referral from Domain B before you add that domain to the Referral Exclusion List.
That first session is attributed to Domain B.
You add Domain B to the Referral Exclusion List.
User A returns directly to the site (e.g., via a bookmark).
Because of the last-non-direct-click attribution model, this second session is also attributed to Domain B.
The best way to see this is to look at the % New Sessions under Referrals.
Note the drastically lower value for % New Sessions compared to other referrer, if you see this it hints that you are seeing the issue described in the docs.