Google Analytics Ghost Spam – How To Remove Fake Referral Websites From Your Reports

Ghost SPAM is a new type of fake Google Analytics spam which people try and use to refer others to their sales page/website via the referral notices on your logs.

 

 

The way the process works is that a fake bot company (could be in Russia) sends out millions of requests to different websites every hour. They then scope these requests around a “referral” (typically a fake website/domain) with the intention of having it appear in your analytics logs.

Types of domains typically used:

getpy-more-free-visitors (.) info
get-more-freeen-visitors (.) info
get-more-freeer-visitors (.) info
get-more-freele-visitors (.) info
get-more-freeish-visitors (.) info
get-morebit-free-visitors (.) info
MANY more (seriously – there are a lot)
If you see any of the above (or similar) domains populating the “referral” portion of your Google Analytics reports for various domains, the simple truth is that the visitors from those sources will likely be 100% fake.
Despite making your site look popular, the traffic is worthless. Whilst this might not be a huge concern to some people, if you’re running a business and need to keep track of your company’s growth through its traffic stats, it’s important to have an accurate representation of the peple visiting your pages. This can only be done by removing the fake traffic.

To do this, there are two pieces of functionality inside Google Analytics which we need to use – Filters and Segments. Combining these will remove all of the fake traffic from your results.

How To Remove Fake Traffic From GA

1. Filters

The first step is to apply filters to any traffic you may have.

These don’t do anything with the current traffic, only future ones. It streamlines the process and ensures the system can run as smoothly as possible.

There are several filters which should be added to the system. These not only get rid of the present spammers, but also ensure any future ones can be dealt with too…

Inside your Analytics account, click on your “Admin” area (bottom left of screen — should be the small “cog” icon)
Select “All Filters” from the column furthest on the left
Now you’re able to create account-wide “filters” which can be used in all the “views” you have for different sites
Because of the way in which these filters work, they are designed to be applied to different views – and are meant to be individual elements in their own right (only one condition per filter).
For this reason, you may have to apply several “filters” to prevent all future spam…

Click “+ New Filter” (big orange button)
For the filter name, call it something like “Spam 1”
From the options below, select “Custom” > “Exclude” > “Campaign Source”
The source will then allow you to input the various sites who’ve been hitting your referrals
This can be done with Regex: site1.com|site2.com|site3.com
Do this for the sites you’ve seen in your reports. You may then wish to add a number of other sites depending on how much you wish to exclude from the reports.
2. Segments

The second step is to set up a new “segment” to remove the traffic presently listed in the system.

Whilst this is an effective way to pacify much of the data in the reports, it’s slightly tricky to set up:

Click onto any of the sites you have
At the top, there is a horizontal bar which allows you to select different “segments” for the data
The default segment is “All Data” – which shows you everything
If you’re seeing “spam” referrals, you will need to replace this segment with another
To do this, you will need to create a new Segment, which can be done using the following steps:
Click on the segments bar
This will load up a “segments” panel – through which you’re able to either select a segment or create a new one
Select “+ New Segment” (bright orange button) and then give it a name like “No SPAM”
From here, scroll to “conditions” on the left toolbar/panel and add the following stipulations:
You need to select “Sessions” + “Exclude” from the drop down boxes at the top of the panel.
These boxes will remove the data from your reports. From here, scroll down to the “conditions” boxes, into which you should select the following:

Source > Matches Regex > [[insert domain]]
The above will basically identify any traffic with the source attributed to the domain in the input. You need to use the domain listed in your “referral” stats (it will be similar to those listed above).
If you wanted to use multiple domains, you could use the “regex” system to handle it – domain.com|domain2.com|domain3.com

Conclusion

Whilst annoying, the simple reality is that if you remove all the junk from your reports, it *should* give you a much richer perspective on what you’re able to achieve online.

The segments will give you the ability to do this properly – whilst the filters will ensure that any future traffic will automatically be curtailed.

 

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