Getting Rid Of Spam Referrals From Google Analytics
Back in February we posted about “Google Analytics: 5 Metrics To Keep An Eye On” as a guide to looking into what was happening on your website traffic wise.
The metrics we focused on where chosen as a way to help you analyse your website traffic and inform decisions on how to improve it.
What are Spam Referrals?
Now some of you may have noticed within your reporting some reoccuring website referrals contributing a significant amount of traffic to your website. You may think, ‘Great someone has linked to our site’. However many of them are actually spam bots, impersonating referal links to drive traffic to your website. Here are some examples of the sites we have pulled from our Google Analytics.
Why should they be removed?
Removing any fake traffic from your Google Analytics is essential for creating an accurate view of traffic from real visitors. If you are looking at the data to get an idea of what pages are performing well or get an accurate idea of your bounce rate, you want your data to only include real traffic.
How do you remove spam referals from Google Analytics?
There are a couple of ways you can remove these spam sites from your Google Analytics, in this post we will cover the first way, using filters within your GA setup.
Setting Up Filters In Google Analytics:
1. Setup a new Bot-free view
Go to Admin in GA and create a new view in the drop down box under View. Name it something like ‘Spam Filtered View’. By creating a new view you ensure any changes don’t affect the master view that can’t be undone.
2. Add Domain Filters
Click on +New Filter
- Create new filter
- Name Filter
- Select Filter Type ‘Exclude’
- Select Source ‘traffic from ISP Domain’
- Select expression ‘that are equal’
- Enter the URL of spam site
3. Add Country Filters
The source of the majority of the referral bots has been attributed to sites from Russia, Brazil and Indonesia. So filtering out traffic from these locations is a worthwhile additional measure to remove them from your GA reports. If however you believe you have significant legitimate traffic from these countries then this is not an advisable step.
To do this follow the same steps as above for adding a filter except add a 'Custom' filter rather than a 'Predefined' filter. Search 'Country' from the Select Field and enter "Russia' in the Filter Pattern field.
Now that you have created a new filtered view of you Google Analytics there are a few notes to be aware of.
- A filtered view will not apply to past traffic
- Filters can’t block all bots
In upcoming posts we will cover additional measures to counter these annoying spam bots to help deliver more meaningful Google Analytics reports.