Google Analytics
Referral SPAM

Google Analytics Referral Spam

Are you starting to see spikes in your website traffic? or even a significant increase on your daily traffic, even when you have no advertising campaigns running? Or your reports are looking really good and to be honest your not sure why?

Let me introduce you to “Referral SPAM”. That’s right, the reports that help us measure all our digital activities are now being targeted with SPAM data, making our data skewed and misleading.

How to Identify Referral SPAM

To identify if your website is being targeted with referral SPAM you will need to access your Google Analytics account and head to the [Acquisition -> All Referrals] report. Look through the referrals in your data and see if any of the following appear on your referrals list:

  • Semalt.com
  • Ilovevitaly.co
  • Ilovevitaly.com
  • Sitesboard.com
  • Economy.co
  • Forum.topic55005930.darodar.com
  • Buttons-for-website.com

referralSpam_example

If you ever went to any of these sites you’ll notice that they are not related to your website in anyway and don’t actually display links to your website. These are just a few common domains currently appearing in most reports we come across but as time goes on I’m guessing you’ll begin to see a whole lot more.

How to Remove/Block Referral SPAM

So now we know what we are looking for the next step is to remove it asap. All you need to do is follow the steps below while logged into google analytics. Note: These instructions are based on your website using the latest Universal Analytics script.

 

STEP 1: When viewing your website report in Google Analytics. Click on the “admin” link located in the main menu top left.

google-analytics-admin

 

STEP 2: Under the [Property] column (middle). Select [Tracking Info -> Referral Exclusion List].

referral_spam_002

 

STEP 3: Select [Add Referral Exclusion] button shown above and then enter the domain to exclude. e.g ilovevitaly.co. Then click create. Repeat this step for each spammy domain showing up in your referral traffic.

referral_spam_003

That’s it, your done! But make note!

If you have been hit by referral SPAM in such a way that it caused a peak in your traffic, make sure you add an annotation on your reports so yourself or any future marketing managers, business owners, consultants etc.. know what happen during that period when your website was hit with referral SPAM.

About the Author -

With a successful career in web development and digital marketing under his belt, Chris has been a driving force behind major projects for brands including Telstra, Heart Foundation, Laurastar and Noodle Box, Melbourne Mint and more.