Referral spam has become a major problem these days. For a few months, it has attacked a large number of websites and caused problems for various webmasters. Thus, it is important for all of us to avoid and implement methods of handling and identifying referral spam so that Google and other search engines help us improve the rank of our websites.
It may not be easy to get rid of referral spam as a lot of people look for magical solutions. Artem Abgarian, the Senior Customer Success Manager of Semalt, assures here that there is no magic and you would have to remove referral spam from Google Analytics manually and slowly.
Google has acknowledged referral spam as one of the major problems. Unfortunately, no solution has been provided so far, leaving the website owners to go with it all alone.
What’s most frustrating is that almost all sites suffer from referral spam in one way or the other. The Google Analytics offers us a help forum where we can post complaints about the issue, but there are rare chances that we will be provided with some solutions at the spot. Marketers and webmasters are worried because there are no ways to remove referral spam. Luckily, there are some preventive measures which one can opt for to remove, stop and minimize the referral spam in his Google Analytics reports.
Block Known Bots and Spiders
A few years ago, Google announced a new feature to block all known spiders and bots. Excluding them from your Google Analytics reports can improve the quality of traffic. With this option, webmasters can get complete or partial rid of the inorganic traffic sources. To activate this option, you should exclude and block the IP addresses which you might consider fake. One of the major cons of this technique is that you can never get an idea of how many bots and spiders have arrived your website so far.
Block Referral Spam via .htaccess
Blocking referral spam through .htaccess files is possible. If you are running your site on Apache, it will not take a lot of time to prevent the referral spam before it tricks you and your Google Analytics account. You should block the referral spam from this particular file and process it as a normal file to improve your site’s traffic quality.
Restrict Ghost Referrals
You must restrict ghost referrals if you are suffering from a large number of fake hits. Ghost referrals might damage your site’s ranking in the search engine results. They cause problems by tracking their specific codes in the Google Analytics account without your permission.
Block Fake Referrals and Dodgy Crawlers
You can easily block fake referrals and dodgy crawlers in your Google Analytics account. To do so, you have to create filters for the domains or subdomains that have been affected by the referral spam. Unfortunately, there is a limit in Google Analytics about how many filters you can create per domain. A large number of filters can never be created so you will need to create them in multiple accounts. For the established website, it may be an ongoing process, but it is not a permanent process if your site is relatively new.