Sylvain

Getting rid of referral spam in google analytics

On wikifamo.us I am using google analytics (GA) to get an overview of the usage (like more than 50% of websites, if you want to limit tracking, think about extensions to disallow sending data to GA, like Ghostery available for Chrome or firefox).

Recently I have seen a number of visitors above my expectations and looking deeply at stats, I noticed that lot of them were Referer span that are face requests sent by website willing to advertise their page by appearing in the refering list as shown below as ahre buttons, floating buttons, social and so...:referer spam sample

The first solution I found was to add a filter to exclude some patterns of refering URLs (containing "button", "social"...) but it didn't prove to be efficient as there are more and more sites using this spam technic. But our advantage over them is that they hit google-analytics with randomly generated users accounts (the UA-X code) and don't know to which website they are linked to. And you can confirm it by going to Google Analytics > Audience > Technogloy > Network (outlined in red below), loads of them are either "not set", either set to values that have no link with your website and the only one that really interest me are the one that contain my real domain name wikifamo.us:

So rather than trying to set a filter based on the refer URL we can set it based on the hostname value. To do that, simply go to Admin > All filter > +Add filter and use the parameters defined below (adapted to your domaine name):

I have added this filter last week and since then, I am a bit sad because visits have decreased dramatically, but at least they are now more relevant :)