How to Remove Fake Referral Traffic in Google Analytics

Getting traffic to your website for free is tempting. Isn’t it? But, sometimes it might become a headache for you, especially when it is trying to ruin your Analytics data. At first, when I discovered a traffic spike on one of my blogs a few months back, I was excited. I thought people are linking back to my articles. But, when I dug deeper to the matter and checked Google Analytics report, I was shocked that these are nothing but fake referral traffic with 100% bounce rate and 0.00 seconds average session duration. This traffic already started to ruin my Analytics data. My average session duration was drowning and there was a significant increase in Bounce Rate.

 

What are these Fake Referral Traffic?

Who are they? Why are they providing you free referral traffic? I searched on Google about the matter and it was confirmed that I am not the only victim of this. Each of these referral traffic providers has a different motive. Some of them are using referrer spam as a form of lead generation. Some of them use their bots to crawl your site to give on and off page analysis such as keyword usage and link metrics. Some sites use it for directing affiliate traffic to shopping sites such as AliExpress.com. These referral spammers are mostly harmless, and generally, don’t pose a threat to your web security or private information. They also don’t affect your SEO directly or penalize your site’s rankings. But, these could definitely corrupt your Analytics data.

Top Fake Referral Traffic Spammers

Some of the top and common referral traffic spammers are as follows,

semalt.com
buttons-for-website.com
darodar.com
econom.co
ilovevitaly.co
see-your-website-here.com
simple-share-buttons.com

How to Get Rid of Fake Referral Traffic Spammers

There are two ways to get rid of this crazy referral traffic and save your Analytics referral data from ruining,

Edit your .htaccess file to Stop Fake Referral Traffic

The best way to stop these fake referral traffic is to edit your .htaccess file. This idea is more effective because it will prevent those bots from hitting your server. If you are on Apache server, you can directly add the below provide code into your .htaccess file.

Before editing .htaccess file it is recommended to take a backup of your original .htaccess file.

# Block Referral Spammers
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*ilovevitaly\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*ilovevitaly.\.ru/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*ilovevitaly\.org/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*ilovevitaly\.info/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*iloveitaly\.ru/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*simple\-share\-buttons\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*hulfingtonpost\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*bestwebsitesawards\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*econom\.co/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*priceg\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*kambasoft\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*buttons\-for\-website\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*semalt\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*darodar\.com/ [NC] RewriteRule ^(.*)$ – [F,L]

If you are using WordPress blogging platform, you will be pleased to know that there is an awesome plugin named WP-Ban for this purpose. Wp-Ban gives you the ability to ban users by IP, IP range, host name, user agent and referrer URL from visiting your WordPress blog all from within the WordPress admin panel.

Use Analytics Filter for Fake Referral Traffic

Another way to prevent your Analytics data from getting corrupt is to use Analytics filter. This method can only prevent those spammers from appearing in your Analytics report. However, it will not prevent them from hitting your server’s algorithm. Follow the steps provided below to create a filter,

  1. Login to your site’s Analytics Dashboard.
  2. Click on the Admin tab at the top of the page.
  3. On the ‘View’ column create a new view and give a name to it such as ‘Filter Spam Bots’Google Analytics New View
  4. Click into the ‘Filters’ section then select the ‘+New Filter’ button
  5. Provide a name such as ‘Spam Filter’
  6. Select filter type as ‘Custom’
  7. In the ‘Exclude’ portion select ‘Filter Type’ as ‘Referral’
  8. Enter the code provided below into ‘Filter Pattern’ to exclude most common spammy referrals,
.*((darodar|priceg|semalt|buttons\-for\-website|makemoneyonline|blackhatworth|hulfingtonpost|bestwebsitesawards|o\-o\-6\-o\-o|(social|simple\-share)\-buttons)\.com)|((ilovevitaly|econom)(\.co(m)?|\.ru))|((humanorightswatch|4webmasters)\.org).*

You May Like to Read: WordPress Security Tips to Keep Your Site Secure from Hackers

Bottom Line

These are the ways which I have personally implemented to get rid of fake referral traffic. There must be some other ways too. I would love to hear about your experiences and how you have dealt against those spammy referrals.

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