I don’t know who invented spam bots, but I’d like to give them a good slap.

As a website owner, you might feel the same way when you get:

bot spam comment in wordpress

In the past year or two, though, spam bots have developed a whole new level of chutzpah. They’ve actually found a way to appear in your Google Analytics, and make you think there are sites sending you referral traffic.

bot spam referrals in Google Analytics

Guess which 4 of these sources didn’t really send this site any traffic.

Why do they want you to think they’re sending traffic to your site? They’re using that age-old power that’s apparently killed a whole lot of cats.

They assume you’ll be curious as to which site this is that’s sending you dozens of visitors, and where exactly you were mentioned on it. You’ll go to free-share-buttons-eee.xyz to find out, and – POW! Just like that you’ll find yourself on a Russian dating site, or fashion site, or something of that ilk. (Why Russian? I don’t know. But the vast majority of these spam-bot sites redirect you to Russian-based sites (and the fake traffic shows up in Analytics as coming from Russia).

Even if you never click on any of these sites, it messes with your analytics.

In the example site above, let’s say the site owners were happy with their 876 sessions that month. Would they be as happy with the real number of sessions they had?

bot spam filtered

From 876 sessions down to 570. There went one-third of your web traffic.

What’s a site to do to not be taken in by the spam bots?

First if all, don’t click on any of those links – ever. Don’t give them that satisfaction – until you really like ogling Russian fashion.

Second, set up an advanced segment in your Google Analytics (like we did above) to filter out these fake visits.

If your eyes started to glaze over when you heard “advanced segment,” then quick! Wake up! I’ll walk you through the setup.

On any page in the Reporting section, the default segment is All Users (i.e. all visits Analytics tracked on my site). Click Add Segment.

bot spam segment 1

The Advanced Segments will take over the top of the page. Click New Segment (the red button on the top left).

bot spam segment 2

 

bot spam segment 3.png

Here are the conditions to choose:

bot spam segment 3

(That font in the image is a little small. Here are the keywords we put in there: buttons, semalt, seo, website, keywords, video, uptime.)

Click Save – and voila! Your very own spam catcher!

When you want to view your site stats with no fake visits, click “Add Segment” at the top of the page.

bot spam segment 1.png

Select your new Eliminate Spam segment. Click Apply.

bat spam segment view

Go try it now… and see how many website visitors you REALLY have.

If you’re utterly appalled, here are two other methods to try if you want to eliminate the spam visits at the root.

1) For WordPress users

Several plugins are available to block spam bots from sending fake visits to your site. These are three we’ve tried with good results, and they’ve been kept relatively up-to-date by their developers.

Bot Block

WP Referrer Spam Blacklist

Custom Referral Spam Blocker

2) For ultra-techies (or for your web developer)

If you modify your htaccess file (a file which sits on your server), you can block some bots from accessing your site. This is relevant for all websites, not just those on WordPress.

The downside? It doesn’t block all bots – there are different methods bots use to convince your site they sent you traffic, and not all of them can be addressed by the htaccess file.

If you do want to try, here’s the code to add:

## SITE REFERRER BANNING

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} semalt.com [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} buttons-for-website.com [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} seoanalyses.com [NC]

RewriteRule .* – [F]

You’ll need to add a condition for every domain you want to block – and keep it updated when you see new domains appear in your Analytics. And there are always new ones. Blech.

Down with spam bots! May you be forever blocked.