***As of spring 2017, this tool is obsolete, and is no longer effective***
Your Google Analytics are showing a ton of fake traffic from bad domain names, and you have to clean it up. If you already know how to exclude bad referrers, then you know that entering just one domain filter is a time sucker, so this page will save you a LOT of time.
What is the problem?
Spam referrals showing in Google Analytics have made your referral counts irrelevant with hugely inflated numbers. Sites like 4webmasters.org, free-share-buttons.com and over 70 others are badly distorting your stats. In the case of a local business, more than half of their referral traffic can come from these “fake” websites!
What is The Solution?
There are various methods of removing these intrusions that have been written about, including creating Analytics filters, creating Analytics Segments, or even blocking the calls via your .htacess file, which really does nothing for these “ghost” referrers that don’t actually hit your site. I’ll write about two, creating “Filters” and creating a “Segment”.
Adding Filters Does *not* clean historic data-
Note that a filter is a permanent change to your data, and cannot be undone. For that reason, you may prefer option two below.
This video shows you how to manually add domain filters from your in your Google Analytics reports, and then it shows how to save an enormous amount of time using this tool, by importing filters for 70+ and growing known spam domains directly into any linked Google Analytics account.
Using this method will alert the viewer in Google Analytics that the view is being filtered, which I believe is a good thing in some cases. However, it won’t do anything for your historical data prior to the date you added the filter.
Lots of credit to Simo Ahava for the code he originally shared at Github – just press the button to proceed…
As of December 2016, I’ve removed the filter from this page. They did nothing for the new language spam, and this game of Whack-a-mole has gotten old anyway. A new filter is coming…
Add This Segment to Clean Your Historic Reporting
Because Google can’t be bothered to apply your filters to the historic data, there’s another option that will work, and it’s done just a bit differently with a “segment” that you can import directly from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery.
Using this method will simply “clean up” the historical data, and can show you multiple segments at the same time, which you may find preferable in most situations. In the video I show how it’s done, but you can hit the button below to “initialize” and you’ll be taken directly to the latest version of my own “segment” at the Google Gallery…
As I showed in the video, you can go to the Google Solutions gallery for the most current segment, or you can import mine by pressing the button – (last updated in 2017).
Did This Save You Time?
The source of our original Google Analytics referral spam domain list is at Lone Goat, but we have added our own observations, and will continue to update. If either of these two solutions above need more domains added, leave the details in the comments.
Thank you so much for this tool! Such a time saver not having to add every domain manually.
You bet, Joe… glad you like it!
Wonderful tool, thanks a lot commander 🙂
Also thank you soooo much, very good tool!
Awesome tool, saved me so much time! Thanks!
Thanks for saying so, Matt –
I think you’ll find that option #2 is a better fit, and I just updated my own version in the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery –
Any way I could contibute to make this better?? I have a list for about 300 spammy URLs that could be implemented into this list..
Sure, please feel free to just post them here as a comment, or you could email them to me at scott(at)searchcommander.com. I can’t promise we’ll add them all, but i’ll certainly take a look at them and decide from there…
I was a bit skeptical in giving access but I am glad I did. This was a huge time saver.
Glad you like it, James!
That is fantastic, problem solved! You saved me lots of time, I’m really grateful.
Thank you for sharing.
Thanks ! love the tool
u guys great !
Thanks – I started doing this by hand and then found your article. Saved me a lot of time!
What a fab tool, a great time saver, thank so much.
This is the best solution I have found for cleaning up referral spam yet. Thanks so much for sharing. Mind if I share this in a blog post on my site?
Thanks, and nope, no problem – feel free to blog away 😉
Thanks for saying so – The segment has been updated for December 2015
Glad you like it!
After applying your latest segment via Google Gallery, I am left with these “possible” 7 NEW spammers:
Thank you very much for the input, and I’ve included several in my latest version from yesterday ( https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=T4gz2O1YRIOk4RaZrYf6jQ ) – For the record though, duckduckgo is not referral spam – it’s a search engine – and i’m not sure about thegemsstock.com or alert.scansafe.net – This is a good reference list to check… https://referrerspamblocker.com/blacklist
Simo Ahava tool is great, but outdated.
The most up-to-date list I found is at https://github.com/ddofborg/analytics-ghost-spam-list
This tool https://www.adwordsrobot.com/en/tools/ga-referrer-spam-killer uses this list and adds 550+ domains (Jan. 2016).
Great info, thanks Scott!
very helpful post.thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks you for this fix and how to apply it to historic Google Data, it has eliminated 95% of these ghost referrals on my webstats and those of my Clients. I had written a Blogpost (http://evolution-design.co.uk/how-to-stop-spam-bots-attacking-your-google-analytics-webstats/) but your post blew it out of teh water. I’ve added an update and link to this page. I’ll keep watching you guys, thank you!
Thanks for saying so, and thanks for the link 😉 (by the way, my last name is Hendison – not Henderson – sort of unusual)
It is so great! Saved me a lot of time and anger. Thank you 🙂
You’er welcome, Josephine. However, Google has supposedly fixed the problem going forward… Are you still seeing current referral spam?
Thanks for your advice and the conversation on phone.
Hi Nice info here.
Just wanted to ask about spam referrers like traffic2cash.xyz or share-buttons.xyz they dont have a valid url so I cant add them as sources
If you’er using option 2 – a segment – then you can leave off the .com or any TLD entirely, and just use “contains traffic2cash” and you’d be good…
Thanks for this awesome tool.
I wanted to know if this includes more recent spammers such as rank-checker.online?
Yes. So does option two, downloaded from the Google Analytics Solution Gallery