Referral spam in Google Analytics is really annoying for marketers and very confusing to business owners.
This piece by Neil Patel really covers it all, including why it is, and what your web site manager/Google Analytics person should do to help prevent it.
Referrer spam… makes it look like you have more hits than you do and it can throw off your entire marketing strategy if you’re unaware of it..
If you’ve been seeing some traffic from odd sites that you don’t recognize, it’s most likely spam. Don’t worry. You’re not the victim of some malicious hacker. In fact, it happens to almost every site on the web.
Thankfully, there’s a fix.
Once you take the steps to eliminate the spam infecting your site, your analytics will reflect your actual traffic and you’ll be able to count on the numbers.
Plus, you’ll be better able to make informed marketing decisions.
What Referral Spam in Google Analytics Looks Like
You’ll probably see valid visits, but we want to weed out the spam.
Thankfully, most spam is easy to spot. Several of the ones we noticed above had a 100% bounce rate and a session duration of 0 minutes, 0 seconds.
That basically means that a hit came through to your GA, but no one actually visited your site.
To find these spam hits, click on the Bounce Rate column, so visits with the highest bounce rates are listed first.
How to get Rid of Referral Spam in Google Analytics
Lucky for us, GA has the handy capability to create filters that stop certain traffic sources from coming through.
There are two things I should mention, before we get into this step.In other words, once you add spam sites to your filters, you’ll no longer see fake hits from those sites.
First, you’re going to have to keep these filters updated. New spam sites are always showing up and you want to stay protected from those.
I’d recommend looking for referral spam every month. If you see any new spam referrers, create a new filter to block them out.
Read Neil’s piece here (wish I had time to paraphrase more, but I don’t). Contact the team at Lara Spence web design if you’re concerned if you have referral spam.