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Jared Hamilton
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JD Rucker

JD Rucker Founder

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The Growing Plague of Google Analytics Spam and How to Filter It

Plague.jpg?width=750

If you're one who checks Google Analytics often to see how your traffic is doing, you've problem seen a lot of sites popping up in analytics over the last year or so that don't make sense. It would seem like these you're getting traffic from strange sites, particularly those selling SEO or other marketing services.

It's spam. That's the bad news. The good news is that it's not really hurting you. The better news is that you can get rid of it. You may have checked out some of these sites to find your link. Wait, where is it? There's no link to your website there. How did... what the... wait a second. You just did what they intended you to do. They got you to their website in hopes that you'll think, "Hey, I need SEO. Let's see what these guys can offer."

Google Analytics Spam

Unfortunately, it works. They spoof traffic through a key sending requests from their website to yours, making it look as if they're visiting your website when they're not. This is how they get business. This is how they market their services. Let's let the annoyance or anger (it infuriates me) die down a bit. Now, let's offer a solution. Filtering. It's the only thing we've found to work. One by one, site by site, you have to plug them into a Google Analytics filter and eliminate them from your numbers. Here's how, courtesy of SomethingIDidNotKnow:

To add a filter:
  1. go to your Administration page (last tab on your home page)
  2. All filters (on the leftmost column)
  3. New filter
  4. Choose Filter type “Custom” > “Exclude”
  5. Choose “Referral” from the Filter Field menu
  6. Set this as Filter pattern:
    semalt\.com|ilovevitaly\.co|priceg\.com|forum\..*darodar\.com|blackhatworth\.com|hulfingtonpost\.com|buttons-for-website\.com
  7. Select the views that you want to be filtered (I chose “All web site data”)
  8. Save
The filter pattern is a regular expression, so every time you find a new source of spam, simply add another “|spammersite\.com” (remember to escape dots with a backslash, as they mean “any character”).

Now you know how to fix it. To stop it from continuing, don't support these companies. If you see them doing it, do not buy from them. In fact, we canceled a service (Semalt) once we started seeing that they were doing this. It's a plague that needs to be eradicated.

Jason Stum
Good stuff here JD, the only other piece of advice I'd offer is to make a separate view of your property in GA to set up your filters in so your not messing with your main view. Oh and don't forget to turn on Google's built in bot-filters, I believe they're turned off by default.
Lauren Moses
JD, Great read and something that I was just looking at a few weeks ago. Though I haven't gotten around to placing filters just yet. The other option that someone suggest was to give the links to the website provider for them to block them. Don't know if that will really work or not, however it seems like the filters are just about the easiest way to get rid of them from your view.
JD Rucker
Absolutely, Jason. Lauren, the "traffic" is a direct ping to Google so the website provider can't block them.
Lauren Moses
Oh well that's good to know. In the group on facebook that I was asking about one person could not comprehend why on earth I would want to filter those out. He didn't comprehend that to car dealers 50 website visits from Russia does us ABSOLUTELY no good. He was dumbfound and swore up and down that I was looking at it the wrong way. That traffic is traffic, not someone from Russia is looking to purchase a new 2015 GMC Sierra from a dealership in Podunk Louisiana.
Robert Niven
JD - Will this filter out past traffic or traffic from the date the filter was implemented?

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