Do SPAM referrers throw out your Google Analytics Reporting?
When was the last time you REALLY took a detailed look at your Google Analytics reports?
I often see bloggers claim to have thousands of page-views every week, however when we take a deeper look into their Google Analytics we discover that over 50% of those views come from SPAM Referrers (so not even real views). Filtering out the SPAM not only gives you a REAL result on where your blog / website currently is but it allows you to measure in real figures and see the real growth of your blog / website.
We all love to see the high numbers when we log into Google Analytics however this will not help us score promotional work if the client looks deeper into our analytics and realise that the figures are mostly spam. To block these SPAM referrers from our reporting we need to add SPAM filters.
This use to be time consuming and take FOREVER especially when they were forever changing the URL’s that they were coming from.
However I have just found a solution that not only adds the filters for you it takes less then 5 minutes to set up and it will help you add segments so you can view your past data with SPAM filters on the results.
How do I know if I have spam referrers in my reports?
When you log into your Google Analytics account your main Dashboard will appear. If you click on ACQUISITION then OVERVIEW it will bring up a couple of graphs and a table that will show where your traffic comes from.
In the table above it shows that for the period of time selected this test website in review received traffic from the following sources:-
Lets start with #1 – Referral’s was the highest referrer for this test website for this period with 668 referrals – straight away you can see there is possibly going to be an issue with such a high bounce rate of 94.76%.
If we click into Referral’s to get more detailed information we will see that the first 10 referrals are ALL SPAM.
This test website has another 19 lines of referrals with only 5 out of the 29 lines real referral websites. That is a lot of SPAM referrers.
Why use Referrer SPAM Blocker
This week I found the website Referrer Spam Blocker and thought I would test it out to see how easy it was vs the old way of manually adding filters, in case you like the manual way check out the blog posts below on how to do it manually:-
- Raventools.com – How to Stop Referrer Spam
- Megalytic – How to Filter Out Fake Referrals and Other Google Analytics Spam
The issue with doing it manually is staying on top of all the spam referrers. With the new Referrer Spam Blocker you will need to run an update when new spam-domains are added to the list to make sure you have a current filter, you can also Tweet or “dob in” any SPAM referrers that you see on your reports that might not be on the filter list.
Currently Referrer SPAM Blocker has 183 ghost referrers on their Blacklist. You can check out their blacklist to see if you recognise any of the referrers.
How to easily set up Referrer SPAM Blocker
Head over to their website – Referrer Spam Blocker.
I recommend being logged into your Google Analytics in a separate tab to make the integration quick and easy.
Click the START NOW button or START BLOCKING button.
Click AUTHENTICATE NOW button.
Once you press – you will then be promoted to select from the list of websites associated with your Google Analytics account. Once you have selected all the websites you would like to add the SPAM Blocker on press LET’S DO THIS button.
Step 3 – Is where the magic happens – wait until the complete bar at the top of the screen has completely filled up and you are right to go!!
While this is happening you have the option to:-
#1 Collaborate – Share any URL’s for ghost referrers that are not currently on the Black list.
#2 Subscribe – to get notified of big updates.
#3 Real-Time Updates – Follow them on Twitter.
#4 Share – Share with other people the program.
#5 Add Segments – This will allow you to view past reporting periods with the filters applied.
To check the filters have been applied
Head over to your Google Analytics account select ADMIN – ALL FILTERS and you should be able to see all the new filters added.
Your Google Analytics report will now be real figures moving forward as long as you keep the SPAM referrers list updated.
You can find out more on the Referrer SPAM Blocker FAQ page.
What about my data already collected?
As a SPAM filter will filter new data you can use Referrer SPAM Blocker to give you a Segment which will allow you to filter past data to remove SPAM referrers.
Follow the prompts on their Segment page.
FYI – Report with SPAM Referral Blocked
Below is the report for the exact same period for the exact same test website after the SPAM Referral Blocker has been ran. There is a huge difference between the initial figures and the figures now after all the SPAM referrers have been removed.
In case you have forgotten the original numbers:-
I would love to hear how you went with using Referrer Spam Blocker and how / if any affect to your numbers in your reporting.