How to Remove Spam Referral Traffic From Google Analytics

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How to Remove Spam Referral Traffic From Google Analytics

Did you notice spam referral traffic in your website analytics and wondering how to remove it to see the genuine data? We have an answer! It all started few months back when we noticed sudden rise in website traffic for our clients. Initially we were very happy to see the upward movement, but soon it turned into worry due to the similar type of growth across various websites. We decided to dig deeper, after analyzing the Google Analytics we found few common referral sources sending traffic to the websites from Russia and other countries.

Who were these Top referral spam domains?

semalt
4webmaster
free-share-buttons
ilovevitaly

There were many more like these. Semalt is a SEO service company and they have a free website analyzing tool. We thought that someone may have submitted the website in their tool for review but originally this was not the case. They have their own crawler that visit the websites. It is very simple to stop their bots to visit your website by simply submitting your website at semalt.net Some of the domains were not active and others were redirecting to aliexpress an ecommerce portal.

Why they are doing this?

Are they just seeking the webmaster’s attention or this is just another way to gain visits? We searched it over the web and surprised to see that almost every webmaster on the internet has encountered the same issue. We were still not sure why this was happening and how these websites were able to send spam traffic when there is no link of ours on them. Answer was a fishy trick used by Hackers. They fetch GA codes of the websites and with their bots they hit the GA code only. By doing this they were able to appear in Google analytics.

How to block spam traffic?

There are few tips and tricks shared by SEO experts like blocking the sources permanently via htaccess files or by creating filters in Google analytics. If you are not an expert don’t touch the htaccess file. Filters did not work well for us as the traffic from such sources was still showing up in reports. You can read more about these 2 tricks at https://moz.com/blog/how-to-stop-spam-bots-from-ruining-your-analytics-referral-data.

What worked for us to remove spam traffic?

After few days of research and internal discussions we found that Segments can do this thing in more efficient manner. We created a new segment and in that we filtered the spam referral sources and keywords by excluding them from that segment. So this segment has the filtered data. Every Time when we see a new source in report we simply put that into the filter. You can also compare the data between the 2 segments to see the difference in real and fake data. For more details we have created a video. Hope you will find this useful. Keep sharing.