How to Remove Referral Spam from Google Analytics Reports?


Issue: How to Remove Referral Spam from Google Analytics Reports?

Could you please tell me if the domain is secure? I‘ve noticed this referrer domain on my Google Analytics statistics with a large bounce rate, so I‘ve decided to check it. However, it seems that such domain does not exist as I was redirected to a completely different source page. How is it possible to check that? Thanks!

Solved Answer is a fake referral domain, which appears on the statistics of Google Analytics. The domain name is secret.ɢ and the title is usually something similar to “Vitaly rules google”. That‘s yet another referral spam example used by Russian spammer Vitaly Popov who seeks to increase the rank of his pages on Google search by creating a Ghost traffic on people‘s Google Analytics data. Referral spam tricks people into thinking that their website has been visited by a considerable number of new visitors via a particular domain, which is why the admins or owners of the website often decide to check them. However, in reality, there are no actual visitors because referral spam relies on bots that send hits to Google Analytics servers directly without having a contact with the website. This way, website‘s bounce rate and sections like Acquisition, Behavior, and others are distorted in a way to attract the attention. While Vitaly Popov calls such activity as „creative marketing“, online security experts refer to it as referral spam and blackhat SEO.

Can referral spam affect the rank of my website on Google?

Those who have noticed an unusual increase of visitors from domains like wonder if such fraudulent activity influences the rank of their website on Google search. Luckily, such behaviour does not have a negative impact on the website directly. However, those who rely on Google Analytics reports for improving the website, the occurrence of referral spam may have negavite consequences because the results are distorted. By the way, fake referral domains might be use for spreading malware.

How to block referral from Google Analytics reports?

Referrals like are used to attract the attention of the owner/admin of a website by indicating a high visitor‘s traffic, which is fictitious. The development of ghost traffic is very useful for those who seek to increase traffic to specific websites (note: not ncessarily safe ones), but not for Google Analytics users whatsoever. Therefore, if you‘ve been suffering from referrer spam, you have to create an exclude filter and block the spam rendering .htaccess file. It means that removing the refferer from the GA statistics is certainly NOT enough. All steps that have to be initiated to terminate refferal spam from Google Analytics reports are listed down below:

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 in to 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.

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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