Tag Archives: spam referral traffic

How To Protect Website Analytics From Spam

26 Oct


Collecting and analyzing website data is invaluable to meet the business goals of a website. Google Analytics is a great tool to view website traffic data and gives you many insights to improving user experience. This is why having true data is critical, but data can potentially become useless if your website is hit with spam traffic.

What is Spam Traffic?

There are different types of spam traffic, but the most common is spam referral traffic. This type of traffic comes from bots that impersonate a referral link and the objective is to influence you to visit their website. Referral links represent the sources linking back to your website. Usually, referral links are great for SEO, but referrer spam can negatively impact your data. For example, semalt.com is a common spam referral source. It’s a legitimate website, but useless for your data because it can degrade important website metrics like bounce rate, pages per visit and average visit duration. Consequently, you may have an unclear picture of your website traffic and performance.

Analytics snapshot of data from January 2016 to September 2016

Analytics snapshot of data from January 2016 to September 2016

Filters & Segments Decrease Spam Traffic

In order to diminish spam referral traffic, there are a couple strategies we put in place in Google Analytics. We can block referrer spam altogether by setting up filters in your account. This is a good strategy for well-known referrer spam like semalt.com, plus you won’t ever see it in your analytics because filters prevent spam traffic from ever hitting your website. Another great strategy is to set up segments. Segments work by grouping data under conditions you set. For example, we can group all referrer spam in one segment and select segment when looking at analytics. This is a good solution if you would rather not delete data, plus it’s flexible to implement.

Clean Data is Real Data

It’s possible to use both solutions together as well, but here’s a few things to keep in mind. Setting up filters in your account is permanent, so you can never recover data if necessary. We can circumvent this by setting up different views in Google Analytics. When using segments, you will need to remember to select it every time you’re viewing data, plus we may need to frequently update it. No solution is perfect, but the goal is to get the best possible website traffic data. By using filters or segments in Google Analytics, you will get a clearer picture of your website performance and will be able to make better business decisions.

Your website traffic data is important and your business deserves real data. If you’re concerned about spam traffic in your website analytics, please contact our digital specialist for support with filters, segments and Google Analytics.