How to remove Ranking2017.ga referral spam from Google Analytics reports?

by Ugnius Kiguolis - -

Question

Issue: How to remove Ranking2017.ga referral spam from Google Analytics reports?

I have a suspect that my GA reports have been polluted by spam because ranking2017.ga referrer keeps showing on the list. I’ve tried to access the website to check what it’s about, but web browser was redirected to another domain. After that, I’ve performed a small research on this URL and found clues that it’s a newly released referral spam, so I decided to ask your help to block it. Would highly appreciate your help, guys!

Solved Answer

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Nowadays the reliability of Google Analytics reports is a heated question ‘thanks’ to the Vitaly Popov and its invention of Ghost Traffic. A couple of years ago, security specialists and Google Analytics experts noticed strange referral domains showing up in the list of referrers, for example, boltalko.xyz, Arendovalka.xyz, Bukleteg.xyz, sharebutton.to, and many others. These sources attract the attention of a GA user as they usually feature a high visitor’s rate even though the website is non-affiliated with a Google Analytics user’s site, which is the reason why GA user may decide to check the URL. That’s the trick that spammers have invented to increase traffic to doubtful domains and, therefore, earn an easy profit. Ranking2017.ga referral spam and its predecessors are those domains in question and are sometimes considered to be malicious as they may even be exploited for malware distribution. However, the main goal of  Ranking2017.ga is to generate traffic and increase the rank in Google search results using unfair techniques.

Ranking2017.ga referral spam may also be referred to as Ghost traffic. It means that all indicators shown on its behalf are fictitious. The referrer gets injected into the GA reports with the help of fake hits, which are generated by a program or a bot. It means that no human beings were accessing your website via Ranking2017.ga URL because the hits have been channeled directly to Google Analytics. To make this trick, spammers or hackers, it’s up to you how to call, just need to know your Google Analytics property ID to inject fake referrals into the reports. Ranking2017.ga fake referral distorts actual GA statistics, which is a minor harm if compared to the fact that referral spam may be linked to infected websites. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure Google Analytics by NOT disclosing property ID publicly. If, however, you are receiving reports about Ranking2017.ga spam, take needed actions and block it right away.

How to block Ranking2017.ga referral spam in Google Analytics reports?

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Step 1. Change Filter Pattern

  1. Select Admin -> All Filters. Later on, enter New Filter and type Ranking2017.ga in the Filter Name box.
  2. Choose Custom Filter Type, then choose Campaign Source from the drop-down Filter Field menu.
  3. Lastly, in the Filter Pattern field, type Ranking2017.ga and click Save.

Step 2. Change 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 then Go. Once you locate the .htacess file, right-click on it and select Code Edit. Enter the following text ant click Save Changes.

## SITE REFERRER BANNING
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} Ranking2017.ga
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} Ranking2017.ga
RewriteRule .* – [F]

Step 3. Modify Language filter

  1. In your Analytics account, navigate to Admin Tab.
  2. Click VIEW, select Filters and then click +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 and save the changes.

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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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