Protect your site, analytics from spam bots
Notice a spike in your website traffic lately? Watch out! It could be the latest spam tactic.
Notice a spike in your website traffic lately? Watch out! It could be the latest tactic spammers are using to lure you into their evil underworld and skew your referral analytics. It’s called referral spamming, and it’s an increasingly common scourge among unsuspecting website owners.
Here’s how it happens: while reviewing your website analytics, you notice a jump in visitors and you’re curious about where all the new traffic is coming from. You click on the source and wham! You’re hit with unwanted advertising, baffling redirects or possibly even malicious, virus-injecting code.
This fake traffic is caused by spammers and their bot army: they crawl your website and create links from their websites to yours. Normally, links from another website are hugely valuable. Linking helps search engines determine the quality (and thus the ranking) of your site. But these links (“referrals”) by spammers are bogus. And unfortunately, Google Analytics logs spam bot activity as legitimate site traffic, even though it most definitely is not.
What can you do to address the issue of referral spamming?
First, create a new filter in Google Analytics to avoid viewing those bad referrals in your own reports. Then, talk to your web developers and IT staff about using a blacklist on your server.
These steps will keep most spammers off your site—and out of your hair.