How To Efficiently Filter Referral Spam On Universal Analytics
SEO professionals use Universal Analytics for their SEO analytics reporting, but referral spammers have been making their way into the said tool. As online businesses handle their SEO analytics with this tool, they may encounter referral spam in the form of fake traffic referrals, search terms, or direct visits.
These referral spam bots can hijack referrers that show in the analytics referral traffic. This means the user sees that there is a page visit from their preferred website, even though they had no visitors.
As most SEO experts know, referral spam bots do not harm their website rankings by triggering fake visits provided that they do not click the spam links. The bigger problem is that marketers have a hard time deciphering and filtering this type of traffic out of their data from the tool, making SEO analytics reporting a hassle.
Filtering Referral Spam
Before anything else, SEOs must ensure that they have the necessary permissions and full access to Universal Analytics – at the Admin level – so they can make changes and navigate all data.
The first step is to create a new view by clicking on Create View on the right-hand column. This allows the user to test configurations in a new view instead of in the default raw data view; doing so will prevent them from making permanent mistakes along the way.
From there, they can select the type of view they want to create, whether it’s Website or Mobile app. They can rename it and choose the same time zone and regions, then compare it with other data. Next, SEOs can navigate their test view by clicking View Settings and ticking off “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders”. Google will then automatically filter about 75 to 80 per cent of the referral spams.
Aside from filtering referral spam, the SEO community can also add an annotation to mark the date of their SEO analytics when they filtered their bot traffic. An annotation serves as a reminder for the user to remember and keep record of the significant changes they made in the past.
SEOs can create a new annotation by first clicking on the little arrow under a chart in the tool. Then, they will have to manually exclude the remaining spam that the tool was not able to filter. However, the tricky part is they have to identify the spam referral traffic in Universal Analytics.
SEOs should first check if the links in the referrals report is actually spam by searching for a list of known spam websites online. Another indicator to look out for is their bounce rate, as spam referral traffic usually has a bounce rate of either 0 or 100 per cent.
Spam could also have a hostname referral that is not set or a session time of 0 seconds. These spam referrals should be blocked manually.
To easily determine the outliers through the indicators mentioned above, SEOs can go to their Referrals report and filter by descending bounce rate. They can also use an advanced filter to find out the number of sessions over a certain threshold. By doing so, they can easily verify which ones are spam referrals without clicking the links and visiting each spammy website.
Work With Position1SEO
Despite how experienced you may be in search engine optimisation, it is still crucial that you tread carefully when analysing your website referrals. Once you filter these sites, they are gone for good, so you must ensure that the one you manually filtered is truly spam.
If you are not sure how to deal with analytics reporting, our team at Position1SEO can help! We can double-check if your website contains links from spammy domains and remove them for you. Our professional team understands that analysing your site is not something to be taken lightly, so we consider the tools that match your situation and take the time to conduct a thorough SEO audit of your website.
To know more about our offers, just dial 0141 404 7515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be more than happy to address your needs!