Semalt Expert: How To Fight Ghost Referrer Spam?
Referrer spam is a relatively new and annoying form of spam. Meaningless referrers call your websites and spam the Google Analytics data. You can check your website for referrer spam if you experience the sudden and unusual rise in your traffic. You should check the Google Analytics report on a regular basis to see if your website is receiving real visitors or fake views. There are two main types of referrer spam: the first one is about crawlers who visit your website and cause unwanted hits and impressions, and the second type is random busting of the Analytics IDs. Your Google Analytics ID is randomly selected, and you started receiving traffic that means nothing to your website.
Artem Abgarian, the Senior Customer Success Manager of Semalt, provides here some practical tips on how to combat referral spam.
Crawler referral spam is one of the most common and traditional types of spam. It is about the spiders and bots that randomly index your website and send it fake traffic. The crawler spam ignores the rules of meta values and e robots.txt, and the ghost spam can be stopped only with the filters inside your Google Analytics account. We recommend you to block the crawler spam with the .htaccess file.
Block malicious crawlers in the .htaccess:
Blocking malicious crawlers in the .htaccess file is possible. You should add a specific code to your .htaccess file, and the spam crawlers will be blocked in no time. You should remember that this technique does not work with ghost referrer spam. Ghost spam is a sophisticated type of referrer spam and causes the referrer servers not to visit your website. The spambots try to trick with your Google Analytics account or steal your analytics ID for sending you malicious traffic.
You might find your website on top in the search engine results, but this won't last for long. The hackers and spammers often use the Google Measurement Protocol, which lets them send data directly to the Google Analytics Servers. It is the primary flaw in your Google Analytics and should be addressed as soon as possible. You can fix the problem by allowing data only from the hostnames where the analytics ID is used. Make sure the settings are not adjusted to default; the only problem with this solution is that you will have to create filters manually, and it can be a significant burden for anyone. You should prevent referrer hostnames from spamming the Google Analytics data and your filters. For this, you should enable the primary anti-spam measures in your Google Analytics account and exclude the spam bots and spiders from your statistics:
1. Go to your Google Analytics account and visit the Settings page.
2. Check the option that states "block known spambots."
If you want to remove the ghost referral spam, you should make a list of all valid hostnames and put them in the REGEX format. You may also create some filters in your Google Analytics and add all websites like semalt.com and darodar.com to the filters to get them blocked. You should not forget that this trick works only when your historical data is clean.