The number of spammy referrals on the web today continues to peak. Some agencies involved with clients’ websites have reported incidents where several spammy referrals appear on their Google Analytics reports. It is imperative to undertake steps which help to delete referral spam as quickly as possible from analytics reports. They are a source of skewness in the performance statistics, resulting in a misinterpretation of the site’s operations. It also poses a risk to the users that visit the site. The reason is that these users may want to visit the referrer’s site and end up getting their computer systems infected with viruses or trojans.
There are many ways to remove spam links for Google Analytics reports. Each of these techniques has their merits, but the following method, specified by Artem Abgarian, the Senior Customer Success Manager of Semalt, is believed to be the most efficient. It will mitigate most of the risks associated with referral spam.
To begin the process, open your Google Analytics profile, and select the view for which the filter settings are to apply. Always remember to create a new view when implementing the filters and leave an unfiltered one to act as the source of raw data, and backup point if something goes wrong down the line.
It is a new feature in Google Analytics which filters some of the bot viewing on analytics reports. It does not delete referral spam to entirety, but it does serve as a good starting point. Select settings from the view profile that you wish to filter. At the bottom of this page is a checkbox left open, prompting the user to exclude all traffic from known bots and spiders. Check it, and you are now ready to go.
It is quite straightforward but requires a little more effort than bot filtering. In the Admin section in GA, select All Filters, and at the top is an option to create a new filter (the button in red). The account level setup is easier to implement and manage. It is only possible if the current user has permissions to edit from the webmaster.
Name the filter with a descriptive name such as “Remove (Site).” It should be a custom filter in the filter type. Check the Exclude button, and from the drop-down menu in the filter field, select “Referral.” Paste the URL you wish to exclude in the filter pattern. Scroll down to the area where the user chooses which views to apply the settings. Click on one and add it to the list, then click Save.
It is the final step of the process which involves monitoring the Google Analytics reports for the next couple of weeks to see if the filters in place are working. It is important to include a notation at the beginning of this process indicating why there was so much traffic before filtering started. If there are some visible positive changes, then it is now safe to apply the filters to the main view. There exist a long list of spam bots online, and new ones being added every day, to help site owners identify unnatural traffic data and compare it with what is on the list.
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