Applying filters to Google Analytics to block Spam Referral Traffic
There’s nothing worse than going to check your website's performance for the week or month, seeing that your traffic has grown and then finding out it’s from spam referral sites.
Yes your traffic has gone up and sometimes the numbers look incredibly impressive but it’s important to remember that despite the promising numbers, this is a redundant result.
As a spam referral site, the number of visits you are seeing is a false impression as they are not individuals and probably not even human. Similarly, all of these numbers will undoubtedly have a 100% bounce rate which will then distort your total, making it appear higher than what it actually is (hopefully).
It’s important to check back regularly so you can catch any new spam referral sites and filter them out before any large distortions of data can be achieved.
Here are some of the biggest perpetrators:
Applying filters in Google analytics is simple enough, especially if you manage your own account, but as an agency it can be a long task applying multiple filters to multiple accounts.
Assuming you already have Google Analytics set up all you’ll have to do is head to your admin section and you’ll find something like this.
Select filters and you’ll see a page which displays all your current filters which if this is your first time; you won’t have any that appear there. Next click on ‘Add New Filter’, which then brings you to here...
You can write any name for the filter, it’s only so it can be easily identified. I prefer to choose custom over predefined, as selecting the latter requires you to know the IP address of the website you want to block.
Then choose to exclude it and in filter field select Referral, then in the filter pattern field you can choose to write the URL or IP address. Don’t forget to then save the filter at the bottom of the page.
You will then return to the previous page which shows your active filters and the newest one will be at the bottom.
It’s important to know that once the filter as been applied it will begin to work immediately from that point forward. It WILL NOT filter retrospectively this is why it is important to set up filters as soon as you notice them.
It is also worth filtering out visits from your own IP address and other people who may work on your website such as an SEO company or web development team as these too may distort your traffic results.