Referral Spam

Block Referral Spam in Google Analytics

The referral spam in Google Analytics is a new breed of problem. This page is dedicated to eradicating it from your GA statistics. is what is nowadays most commonly referred to as ghost spam. This is a subtype of referral spam, which directly affects the statistics in your Google Analytics. If you have experience its effects for yourself and that is the reason for your being on this page – you’re in luck. This article is dedicated to explaining what is, how it operates and what you can do to stop it. Beneath this article you will find a guide that will walk you through the necessary steps to blocking this referral spam. We will also share a few tips on what you should do and what’s best to avoiding undertaking in the fights against this and other cases of referral spam.

What is and referral spam in general?

As pointed out, belongs to a subtype of referral spam, known as ghost spam. This is the most common type of referral spam you can come across nowadays, as its predecessor – the classic referral spam – was more or less eliminated by Google, due to the specifics of its functioning. The classic referral spam employed crawlers and bots to visit various websites and prompt the owners of those websites to click back on the visitors. The aim of this was to generate traffic for the spamming website, which would in turn boost its rating and popularity among users. However, because of the bots and crawlers, it was relatively easy to detect this activity and put a stop to it. The more evolved version, ghost spam, to which belongs to, is essentially after the same goals, however it skips the bot tactic altogether. Instead, it creates false data in your Google Analytics stats, misleading you into believing that you have had hits from the spamming website. However, as the bounce rate of that visitor will be very high, the idea is that you will be curious enough to visit that site and see what it’s all about. Thus, you will have generated traffic for the other site and the spammers will have reached their goal. And this is practiced on a pretty massive scale, with the number of targeted websites often reaching well into the hundreds of thousands.

The Referral Exclusion list and why you should stay away from it

If you research this subject long enough, you will start coming across suggestions of using the Referral Exclusion list as a means to counter the referral spam. Do not fall for this: it will be a mistake you will live to regret., when left alone, simply keeps messing with your stats, without affecting your actual traffic count or any other significant data. Of course, having your stats tampered with is also unpleasant and should be stopped as soon as possible, but for the sake of objectivity – nothing else is affected. If you resort to the exclusion list for help against referral spam, you will make GA try and trace back the visits you have reported. And, as already mentioned, there are no actual visits to trace back. They were only entered in your statistics. So, GA unsuccessfully tries to follow up on the spam hits, fails and marks them as traffic. So, as a result you will now have inaccurate, twisted stats AND false traffic count, for which you will most probably also be charged accordingly.

Please abstain from using the Referral Exclusion list. It’s a great tool, but it wasn’t made to serve this purpose. Instead, use the guide we’ve featured below. It is an effective solution to blocking and other such instances of referral spam. As for preventing being targeted in the future by ghost spam, we would recommend that you invest in high-quality hosting. After all, it’s the hosting is supposed to provide adequate protection against spam and other threats. If you have employed decent hosting services, they should usually provide good spam filters and other spam-blocking mechanisms for your website. This should especially concern those who are part of an affiliate marketing network, as it is these networks that spammers often target, due to the fact that they offer an easier possibility to target more websites at a time. It’s enough for them to breach the defense of one member of the network for them to be able to affect the rest.

Block Referral Spam

STEP 1: In your Analytics account go to Admin —> All Filters.

pic 1(1)

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

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

Pic 2(1)

Blocking referrer spam through .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, do the following:

Login to your cPanel account —> File Manager —> click the check-box “Document Root for—> your website. A side note: click on “Show hidden Files” and then Go. Find the .htacess file, right click it and choose Code Edit. Input the code I gave you and Save Changes.

Did we help you? A thank you in the comments goes a long way to warm our hearts!

Leave a Comment