How To Block Referrer Spam

How To Block Referrer SpamHow To Block Referrer SpamHow To Block Referrer Spam

During the management of your site’s statistics via Google Analytics you may have noticed a large amount of referrals that trace back to The websites itself “reffers” to another website upon entry:

How To Block Referrer Spam

These referrals have no connection to your site whatsoever and they also feature a very high Bounce Rate (likely 100%), as well as zero seconds session time. Naturally this will leave a big impact on the quality of your statistics and it is the aim of this article to help you remedy the problem.

Banish your first thought of using the Referrals exclusion list!

It simply won’t work. The referrals to will be removed from statistics, but the spam itself will not spam – instead it will now be shown into direct traffic. Needless to say now you’ll have an even bigger problem on how to differentiate between real and spam traffic.

What’s the cause behind these referrals?

If you try to Google you’ll find yourself that it traces back to a software developer company that goes by the name of SEMALT. According to their own description they are a marketing company that help achieve online businesses their full potential by moving them at a higher positions in google searches. Whether their service is good or bad is not relevant to us, it’s the useless stream of data they leave behind which is problematic.

What SEMALT really is doing is that is is redirect traffic to their site in order to promote the sites of their customers. This is done through what we call Web Crawlers – basically small bots that visit your site and leave behind their mark.  Originally these bots were developed by search engines in order to index the sites they visit so they can be shown on the parent search engine – Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Unfortunately this technology is now abused in a practice called Crawler Spam.

Unlike the more aggressive Ghost Spam that has nothing to do with your site and hits your google analytics directly the Crawler Spam is a tad more sophisticated and require more commitment from the originating source. As explained above it is used to create fake traffic for sites in order for those sites to be more favorably ranked by the above mentioned search engines.

How To Block Referral Spam

STEP 1: In your Analytics account go to Admin, then All Filters.

How To Block Referrer Spam

STEP 2: Next, click New Filter and add in the Filter Name value.

STEP 3. Select the Custom Filter Type.  In Filter Field, find and select Campaign Source in the list. In the Filter Pattern text box, add and click the Save button at the bottom of the webpage.

How To Block Referrer Spam

 Blocking through referrer spam .htaccess

If you know how to access your .htaccess file, you just need to input the following code in there:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER}
RewriteRule .* - [F]

If you don’t know how to access it, you need to do the following:

Login to your cPanel account, then click on the File Manager icon, then search around and click the check-box called “Document Root for” and click on your website. A side note: click on “Show hidden Files” and then Go. Then simply find the .htacess file in the list, right click on it and choose Code Edit (and again click edit if you are asked). From then on input the code I already gave you and Save Changes. Check if everything works properly and when you are sure, click close.


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Nathan Bookshire

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