What is Referral Spam and Why is it Bad?
Referral spam is a spam bot with a fake referrer header such as
These bots are not real visitors to your site creating the hit and leaving with a 100% bounce rate and zero session duration. They therefore increase overall count of sessions and bounce rate, and decrease overall session duration.
Is Your Site Affected?
Go to the Reporting View in your Google Analytics. Then click on Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Referrals and then click on Bounce Rate to sort in in descending order. Skim the sources that have a bounce rate of 100% to find any sources that may be spam bots. This report might look like:
- In Admin -> View Settings create a copy of your current view with a descriptor of bot filtering.
- In View Settings of your new view, check the box under Bot Filtering to exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.
- Implement a custom filter.
- Switch from View Settings to Filters.
- Click the red “+Add Filter” button.
- Choose “Create new Filter”
- Name your filter
- Choose Custom filter, Campaign Source for Filter Field and a regular expression for the Filter Pattern including the bots that are spamming your site. Periods will need to be escaped with a “\” character. Here’s an example that contains several common bots: floating-share-buttons\.com|site.\.free-floating-buttons\.com|get-free-social-traffic\.com|justprofit\.xyz|video–production\.com|rankings-analytics\.com
- If your view is new, filter verification will not work because no data has been collected for that view.
- Back in the reporting view, add an annotation below the graph as documentation of changes made.