Filtering Out Spam Referrals On Google Analytics

Since November it appears that a couple of domains have been sending a lot of traffic in to this website. In most cases one would argue that the more traffic, the merrier! However, in this case they were not from quality websites and directories, such as CIM, but from so-called Spambots. I'm not going in to the ins and outs of Spambots but thought I'd share a definition with you:

A spambot is a program designed to collect, or harvest, e-mail addresses from the Internet in order to build mailing lists for sending unsolicited e-mail, also known as spam. A spambot can gather e-mail addresses from Web sites, newsgroups, special-interest group (SIG) postings, and chat-room conversations. (Tech Target)

There are quite a few issues with irrelevant referrals but the one I want to look at is how it skews your Analytics results. As an organisation you want to see relevant traffic coming in to your website to help you justify the time, money and effort you have spent on digital marketing. Within your Google Analytics reporting you will quite likely be measuring how your channels work and whether goals are being achieved. Spambots can give you a distorted picture as they display traffic from irrelevant sources. There are ways to block these Spambots from your site. However, I'd like to look at how you can block them from skewing your Analytics results.

I want to firstly look at filtering out bots that you suspect are up to no good.

  • In your Admin section, select the profile you would like to filterScreen Shot 2015-02-05 at 16.45.40
  • Select Filter
  • Choose a suitable Filter Name and select Custom
  • Add Referral as the Filter Field of the site you wish to exclude
  • Type in the name of the site you wish to exclude in Filter PatternScreen Shot 2015-02-05 at 16.46.13
  • Save
  • Your excluded-domain filters will be displayed on the filter pageScreen Shot 2015-02-05 at 16.45.58
  • Any other profile can apply your filters
  • In no time you will see the filters starting to workScreen Shot 2015-02-05 at 16.45.17
  • You can now now enjoy seeing much more relevant traffic in your Analytics reports.

One other way you can try to create a clearer picture is to "exclude all hits from known bots and spiders". It was introduced by Google last summer with this thought:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 17.15.34

What you might want to consider is creating a view as a control account so that you can monitor the difference between the bot filtered and unfiltered data.

More Information
Google Analytics Workshop: Cardiff  (March and April) And London (February, March and April).

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