Spam Website Traffic

“Spam” has a specific meaning: unsolicited, unwanted email sent in bulk to people who haven’t given permission. But the word has crept, as many words do, into other contexts. One is “spam traffic” or “spam referrals” which means that traffic you see in your Google Analytics from sites like semalt.com. These are visits to your site by robots, not humans, and they are of no value to you. Since they’re unsolicited, unwanted, and sent in bulk to people who haven’t given permission, it makes sense to extend the term “spam” to them.

As far as we can tell, this stuff has no negative effects on your website, but it is irritating because it skews your analytics, showing more traffic than is actually coming to your website. What’s more, since these “visitors” don’t behave like your actual human visitors, their data can make it harder to get a useful picture of how your visitors really use your website. 

We’ve done everything from talking to the companies that do this to filtering each one out individually. However, there’s a handy button in Google Analytics that can speed up the process.

bot-filtering1

This button won’t filter out all the spam traffic, but it will reduce it significantly.

How to use bot filtering

Go to Admin and click “view settings.” From left to right, you’ll see “account,” “property,” and then “view,” and the view settings button is the first one under “view.”

bot-filtering2

Scroll down after clicking and you’ll see the bot filtering option circled on the screenshot above. Check the box. That’s it!

Consequences

The important thing you must know is that your referral traffic might go down. Our lab site was seeing less than 1% traffic from these bots before we checked the button and that was true for our website as well, so we’re not seeing big changes. However, we have worked with sites with enough spam traffic that their referral traffic will take a hit.

However, it’s important to remember that you’re not seeing a real drop in actual traffic from possible customers. Robots aren’t your possible customers.

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