If you look at your domain referrals in Google Analytics you’ve probably noticed a huge increase in the number of junk referrers over the past year, right?

Starting with SEMalt back last winter, in recent months it’s gotten so bad that in many cases they’ve taken over the entire top 10.

Take a look for example at our site, where nearly a third of the referring traffic is fake…

Referral Spam

 

Why is This Happening?

The reason this is happening is that various websites around the world are scraping your Google Analytics user IDs and then “tricking” Google into reporting that they sent you a referral.

This is not quite the same thing as when Matt Cutts first explained it, but make no mistake – this is a Google Exploit.

As explained at Analytics Edge

The Ghost Referrals don’t actually go to your site at all; they take advantage of a loop hole in how Google Analytics works behind the scenes. When a visitor visits your site, they run the GA Javascript snippet and that sends a ‘ping’ to the Google Analytics servers with information about the website visited (identified by your UA-#######-# tracking ID), a unique user ID (that is supposed to come from a cookie on your computer), the page viewed, the server hostname and the referral source. The spammers send millions of fake ‘ping’s with specially crafted information — and their website information as the referral source.

There are lots of technical explanations and discussions going on all over the web, with various processes explained to block them from reporting.

How Can You Stop It?

this-oneThe general consensus seems to be that until Google actually makes this checkbox work,  (yes it’s really there, under Admin > Right Column View Settings) then the most effective and reliable way is to set up your own filters.

There’s a nice step by step guide to manually blocking spam referrals here but that’s a shton of work, really. Look at how fast this updated list of spam referrers keeps growing!

Agencies or individuals are expected to set up their OWN filters to gat accurate data from Google Analytics? Are you kidding me?

Well until Google gets their act together,  this magic button is here, and should save you a LOT of time. To see how it works, and to give credit where it’s due, here’s a short video…

 

Hit the Button!

Tool Reached the Daily Limit?

If this tool is at it’s daily limit, please try the mirror here or here. Want to run your own mirror? Use this WP plugin where this tool has been added.

Want to Block Spam Referrers Historically?

Google can’t be bothered to apply your filters to your historic data, so here’s a handy option that I came across in the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery. Kudos!

Click here to import the Analytics segment now

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