Traffic source is important information for digital marketers, web analysts, and business owners. Knowing how visitors arrive at your website is critical when making high impact business decisions, like marketing strategy and product development.

Website traffic that appears in a source category it doesn’t belong in, such as organic traffic appearing as referral traffic, can be confusing and misleading. Fortunately, if your analytics’ tool is Google Analytics, this issue can be corrected.

Using some relatively easy footwork in Google Analytics you can create a custom advanced filter that will re-categorize the improperly labeled referral traffic as organic traffic. 

Read our mini-tutorial, below, to learn how to create a custom advanced filter in Google Analytics that will redirect referral traffic into organic traffic.

How to Redirect Referral Traffic That’s Actually Organic Traffic

To create a custom advanced filter in Google Analytics, begin by going to your Google Analytics homepage. From there, click on the “Admin” icon located on the bottom left corner of the homepage.

Under the Account column, click on “All Filters.” A table with a list of filters you have applied to your account will appear on the right. To create your new custom filter, begin by clicking the red “Add Filter” button.

Add filter button in Google Analytics

Give your filter a name, and enter that name in the “Filter Name” text box. After, click on the box labeled “custom.” It is located under the “Filter Type” heading. Next, select the bullet circle next to the word “Advanced.” New fields for entering the customized parameters of your filter will appear. This is where you will tell Google a URL that is currently appearing as referral traffic is actually organic traffic.

Adding a filter

In the “Field A -> Extract A” text box enter the URL you’d like to filter out of referral traffic and into organic traffic. Add the regular expression character ^ in front of the address and a $ at the end of the address.     

For example, if the URL being filtered is:  the text in the Extract A text box should look like this : 


Under the heading, titled “Field B -> Extract B” enter the following word: referral

Then, in the last text box, labeled “Output to -> Constructor”, enter the word: organic

Fields for advanced filters

That’s it! 

Congratulations! You’ve now created an advanced filter that will re-categorize referral traffic as organic traffic. Once the custom advanced filter you’ve created is applied to your chosen view field, you should see all future site traffic from the location indicated in the advanced filter appear as organic traffic. 

Note: This filter will only redirect traffic from the site address you used in the creation of this filter. If you have multiple addresses you wish to redirect you will need to create a filter for each one. 

For more up-to-date helpful tips and tricks, visit our blog! North Studio is a full-service website development agency with over twenty years of experience in the online technology industry. Contact us if we can help you on your next web development project.