How to block referral spam on Google Analytics?

Issue: I suspect my Google Analytics to be spammed. The traffic to my website these days increased significantly, and the primary source is I appeared on the stats out of nowhere showing almost 100% bounce rate and new visitors. Could you please check if this domain is reliable because I can’t access it. Whenever I try to access this URL, I’m redirected to the totally irrelevant pages…

Solved Answer is classified as a referral spam. In the middle of 2016, spammers of Russia have released this fake URL to generate traffic to affiliate websites. According to the latest research, this referral has been injected into 20,000 of Google Analytics stats and tricked the owners/managers of small websites into visiting doubtful third-party sites.

The purpose of spam is to corrupt Google Analytics data with fake web traffic. Once the spam injects the account, key metrics, including total sessions, bounce rate, conversation rate, new users, etc. are distorted. Therefore, if you see that spam attracts traffic to your website, do not fall for believing that. referral spam creates Ghost traffic, meaning that no real visitors accessed your site via this domain. This URL uses Google Analytics Management Protocol, which creates fake visits to your website and displays them in Google Analytics stats.

Usually, people worry a lot when they find out Google Analytics data to be polluted by spam bot. However, there is not much to worry if you are not relying on Google Analytics stats solely for managing your website. That’s because referral spam, in general, does not interact with the website directly, so it neither steals traffic nor decreases your website’s rank on Google search. Nevertheless, spam distorts the results, which is why you may misinterpret the web traffic to your site, which is why you can make wrong decisions towards its management.

How to block referral spam on Google Analytics?

Step 1. Change Filter Pattern

  1. Go to Admin -> All Filters. Then go to New Filter and type in the Filter Name box.
  2. Select Custom Filter Type, then choose Campaign Source from the drop-down Filter Field menu.
  3. Eventually, in the Filter Pattern field, enter and click Save.

Step 2. Alter HTTP settings

  1. Sign into cPanel account, navigate to File Manager section and click on the checkbox called Document Root for -> your website.
  2. Click on Show Hidden Files and click Go. Once you locate the .htacess file, right-click on it and choose Code Edit. Enter the following text ant click Save Changes.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER}
RewriteRule .* – [F]

Step 3. Modify Language filter

  1. In your Analytics account, go to Admin Tab.
  2. Click VIEW, select Filters and then hit +Add Filter.
  3. In the Filter Name box, type: Language Spam.
  4. In the Filter Pattern box, type in: \s[^\s]*\s|.{15,}|\.|,
  5. Click on Verify this Filter, then Save.

In a nutshell, clear Google Analytics data lets users manage their websites and increase its ranking on Google’s search. Therefore, any suspicious referral domain should be verified and blocked if necessary. Hopefully, you have managed to remove spam successfully. Also, you should consider placing your file logs in an area protected by a password, as well as acquiring a reliable spam filter to ensure the protection of your Google Analytics data in the future.

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About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Security researcher

Lucia Danes is the news editor at UGetFix. She is always on the move because the eager for knowledge makes her travel around the globe and attend InfoSec events and conferences.

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