Blocking spam referrers in Google Analytics

If you review the Google Analytics account that we installed for you, you might notice some referral spam creeping into your reports. Some sites have been affected more than others, but we have noticed an alarming increase over recent months.

It may sound relatively harmless, but referral spam is quickly turning into a serious issue and you could ultimately be reviewing completely inaccurate data.

There are two types of referral spam;

Crawler Referrer Spam This spam actually crawls through your site with a fake referrer URL or campaign source. We have now blocked this type of spam from our server directly.

Ghost Referrer Spam This spam bypasses your website completely and sends traffic directly into your Analytics account. The only way to remove this spam is by filtering it from Analytics.

Attack from bad robots

Blocking the bad robots

We have taken the positive step which will benefit all clients and websites we host by implementing a server wide block on the Crawler Referrer Spam. We can help you further by blocking the Ghost Referrer spam, but this must be implemented on a per account basis. Talk to us today if you want to explore options.

Without going into technical details, we don’t allow these robots to access the server. Instead we refer them back to the page that is creating the referer spam, so they never hit your website.

You can view the full spam referrers blacklist that we are blocking.

What is referral spam and what do they gain?

Web crawlers are robots that visit websites. Good robots usual crawl with the intention of indexing content (like Google, Yahoo and Bing Bots etc). Most of these ‘good’ robots identify themselves to web servers and analytical services and as a result they are are then left out of analytics reports. However, some of the ‘naughtier’ bots, like those from Semalt, do not identify themselves and end up showing up in your analytics reports.

These bad bots also affect other aspects within Google Anayltics and you will more than likely notice sessions with a 100% bounce rate and 0 second duration. If lots of these bots are hitting your server then your overall data will be affected and you will cloud the accuracy of the data engagement of your real users.

So how do these referrers benefit? Well…their ultimate aim is to generate traffic to their sites. By injecting themselves into your analytics data they hope that you will then notice them and go off to their website to investigate why they are linking to you, and then convert you to their service, or buy their product.

Not a complete solution, but we can do more…

This isn’t a complete solution to clean your Google Analytics, but it certainly will benefit all clients and websites we host. For a full resolution we need to implement other practices. We would recommend this and so please [contact us] (/contact/) today to discuss your requirements.

We are aiming to release our new Ai Insights package soon which covers a series of best practices and benefits for Google Analytics. If you are interested then please get in touch.

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