- Jul 02, 2015
- by Brad Litwin
Do you ever look at your referral traffic in Analytics and notice sites that aren’t even linking to you sending hundreds and maybe thousands of visits? At first glance you may be tempted to pat yourself on your back because these referrals gives your traffic stats a boost. At second glance however you realize these aren’t real referrals; they’re spam referrals. These so called visitors aren’t actually going to your site. Instead they are sending data to Google Analytics making it look like they’re visiting your site.
An easy way to detect if these referral sites are spam referrals is by paying close attention to the bounce rate and the conversion rate for those sites. If the bounce rates are high and the conversion rates are 0%, this generally signals referral spam.
Referral spam is particularly annoying because it ruins your data’s integrity. It makes it difficult to evaluate your marketing campaigns because it appears you’re getting more traffic than you really are. It also makes you worry about your conversion funnels because referral traffic doesn’t convert, skewing your conversion rate towards the low end.
There is an easy way to block future referral traffic from site’s you designate in Analytics. Unfortunately this isn’t a perfect solution because it won’t remove the traffic from previous dates and you will have to add a new filter each time a site sending junk traffic to you pops up. However many other filtering solutions will designate these sites as Direct traffic instead which creates a whole other set of issues. From my experience, referral spam sites don’t pop up too often so your data moving forward will be much more accurate with the solution outlined below:
1. Click the Admin menu at the top of your Analytics Account
2. Click All Filters
3. Click the red New Filter button
4. On the Filter creation page:
-Name your filter
-Select Referral under Filter Field
-Type the URL of the site you want filtered under Filter Pattern
-Select the domain(s) you want to apply the filter to under Apply Filter to Views