Google Analytics Series 3. Is Your Traffic Real or a Spam Referrer?

using google analytics to make sense to the data you have collected. In this series we cover spam referrals

What is a Spam Referrer?

A spam referrer is a fake visit to your website that appears in the referral section of your Google analytics. If you have ever dug into this section before and found strange websites that don’t seem to have any relevance to your site, you have probably found a spam referrer. In this article I am going to focus on spam refferals: What, why and how to get rid of them. 

This is a screenshot taken from a site that isn’t even live anymore: 

Google Analytics serioies continues

Where do they come from?

They are automated software, like Googlebot, that can crawl your site and trigger your analytics code - once they have your site they can activate it whenever they like to put different URL’s into your analytics reports.

Time to extinguish the pests:

So.. how do I get rid of them?

Unfortunately you can’t, it’s possible to block some web domains (e.g. www.fakewebsite.net) from crawling your site but it doesn’t stop new websites from appearing in your analytics. Thankfully, Google has responded to the increased number of spam referrers and lets you block many of the most common ones.

When changing something in analytics I would recommend you do this on a separate view - you can always take more data away but it is very hard to put data back into analytics.

You can turn this on by heading into the admin section of your analytics profile and selecting settings on the view - double check you have the correct view before making any changes: 

removing spam from your anayltics reports

This should open up some view specific settings to adjust. At the bottom you should see a little tick box:

get a clear unique number of visitors

Finally click save and your view is now setup to exclude common bots, scrapers and spam!

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Read: Why you Should Already be using Analytics

Read: Google Analytics Series 2. What do users want? 

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