Blocking Analytics Referrer Spam

11/1/2017- A quick update; the service listed below is no longer in operation. But Google has added the option to block bots, go to Admin->View Settings, and check the box that says "Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders":

google analytics bot filtering checkbox


If you use Google Analytics to track traffic on your website, there is a good chance that the amount of traffic you see is exaggerated. The culprit is called referrer spam.

In Google Analytics reporting, you can see how visitors get to your website by navigating to the Acquisition menu. Expand the All Traffic submenu, and you will see a link to Referrals. This screen will show the source of all traffic to your website.

Unfortunately for many website owners, the numbers here can be skewed by fake entries that are designed to entice the user to visit a URL. Look at URLs listed in the example below:

Referrer Spam In Reporting

The #1 referrer looks pretty threatening! Who wants a copyright claim when running a website? But trust us, there is no need to check the claim by visiting the URL, this was placed in your analytics by a bot visiting your website.

Finding a solution can be a daunting task. When you search for answers you will find many suggestions from people trying to help. The approaches range from blocking the traffic at the server level by editing your .htaccess file, to creating filters in Google Analytics.

Creating filters is the best solution, but it can be a hard task for a novice user. There are several paid solutions, but many webmasters may want to find a free solution to clock referrer spam. After a lot of searching, we found referrerspamblocker-dot-com.

Referrer Spam Blocker is an easy way to install filters in Google Analytics. Simply navigate to the website and click the 'Start Blocking' button.

Referrer Spam Blocker

You'll need to authenticate your request, and then you will be presented with a list of your accounts in Analytics. Select any desired account(s), and click the 'Let's Do This' button.

One downside to the tool is that there are a limited number of API calls available each day, and after those are used the tool will not work until the next day. This allows about 66 sites per day to use the tool. The site has a note that they have applied for more API calls from Google, but as of this writing that has not been granted.

To get around the API call limitation, we suggest visiting the website early in the morning. On most days you will find the tool available for use if you get there early, and you can always return later to run more sites if you manage more than one.

Being able to accurately gauge the amount of traffic to your website is important to running a successful site, and we hope you find this information useful.

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