There is no better feeling for a small business owner, than signing into your Google Analytics account and finding a spike in traffic. You get excited, and drill down to analyse the source. You see that you have a new referral that has created 32 new sessions in just a few days. Great news! Except, you don’t remember posting anything on best-seo-offer.com and when you visit the site, you can’t find the back link anywhere.
Referrer spam. That annoying website traffic that makes your Analytics look better than they really are. It may take you a little while to even notice it, especially if your site gets a lot of real traffic. And now that you’ve clicked on the site to inspect it, you’ve done exactly what the spammer wanted, directed traffic to their website. And while we’ve wised up to email spam, unfortunately the same cannot be said about Analytics spam, yet. Many website owners and analytics enthusiasts are still unaware of its existence.
Referrer spam (also known as log spam or referrer bombing) is a kind of spamming aimed at search engines. The technique involves making repeated web site requests using a fake referer URL to the site the spammer wishes to advertise, in hopes that you’ll notice it and click on the site. Ghost spam, which looks very similar, uses an algorithm that directly interacts with your Analyics, meaning that it doesn’t even need to visit your site to show up as a referral. Both suck, when you’re trying to analyze your website traffic. And in my opinion, Google Analytics isn’t doing enough yet, to combat it.
Most help sites will tell you that in order to block referrer spam, you need to create filters in Google Analytics. This is extremely tedious, because the referrer spammers are constantly changing their URLs, and because Google Analytics limits the number of characters you can include in each filter, meaning that you constantly need to create new ones. And another thing I find so annoying about Google Analytics, is that you can’t remove existing traffic sources, so my analytics were skewed for good.
I had neared the point of pulling all my hair out, spending time almost every day creating filters and copying and pasting shady URLs into them, just to be hit by more the following days. And all this for skewed analytics. Then I decided to do a little research, and I uncovered this very handy tool, which will create 26 referral spam filters for you, with the click of a button!
This website app is awesome, and it couldn’t be easier to use. So, save yourself the hours of making referral spam filters, and just use this.
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with simoahava.com whatsoever, I just really like their app.