Updated Tips And Tricks From Semalt On How To Remove Referrer Spam From Your Google Analytics

Referrer spam refers to the fake visits sent to your website by spammers with the aim of improving their search engine optimization. Ivan Konovalov, the Semalt Customer Success Manager, explains that referrer spam skews Google Analytics data and reports, making it difficult for marketers to analyze results and make effective business decisions.

Understanding referrer spam

Some webmasters face the challenge to understand that referrer spam affects statistics and why it is very important to remove referrer spam from Google Analytics. For the past few years, most websites and Google Analytics accounts have been affected by ghost spam. That is why, if you have identified a spike in traffic on your website that originates from other sites, it's the right time to act. In most cases, accounts affected by referrer spam indicate next to zero session duration time and high bounce rate.

Why attackers send referrer spam to your GA account

  • To improve SEO rankings

By publishing your site's referrer statistics, you end up backlinking to the spammers' malicious website. As search engines crawl your website for indexing, they also consider the links on your site as of high value. Link popularity is a key factor considered by search engines. The backlinks work in favor of spammers, where they end up being ranked high in the algorithms.

  • Grab potential visitors' attention

Clicking links sent to you, spammers can quickly ruin your day, as spammy links contain malware and ads. In most cases, spammers redirect visitors to malicious websites with the aim of selling them products and services.

How referrer spam affects your GA account

Fake referrer visits are very annoying and infuriating. The visits interfere with your Google Analytics reports but not with your website. Referrer spam only works for the spammers' benefit. Just like spam emails, log spam consumes more time when working on how to block it permanently.

Referral Spam Removal

1. Using filters to remove referrer spam from your GA account

  • Eliminating referral spam from your Google Analytics account dictates a high level of vigilance and technical know-how;
  • Analyze your account referral report and add available spam sites to your list;
  • Open your Google Analytics account and scroll through the 'Admin Section';
  • Create new filters. In this case, use the predefined type;
  • Create a test filter to avoid losing your credentials when removing the spam from your account;
  • Add new filters regularly to block popping up referrer spam;

2. Using a segment filter

Creating a segment helps you to filter the past spam, as well as face your audience confidently and measure your traffic sources. When creating your segment, don't forget to name it to achieve cool results.

3. Using hostname and .htaccess file

Use hostname filters and .htaccess configuration file to remove referrer spam skewing your data in your GA account. Filters with plugins block log spam from reflecting on your account in future. However, using .htaccess file technique is advocated for marketers with the right technical skills. Executing the process wrongly can end up down falling your site.

Referrer spam works on skewing with your Google Analytics data and driving fake traffic to your site. Hostname filters, segments, and .htaccess file help to achieve an accurate data in your GA account. Use the above-highlighted techniques to obtain reliable statistics on your Google Analytics account.

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