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How to Filter Out Spam Visits In Google Analytics

Chris | Monday 20th July, 2015

As you may well be aware, Google analytics is a fantastic tool for monitoring and understanding your website visitors.

The information provided within analytics is quite vast so we provide business training seminars to ensure you and / or your team get the most out of the data available. However, there is one common problem that affects all website analytics – SPAM. Spammy visits clog up your analytics reporting and can create misleading statistics regarding your website’s real performance.

Such visits aren’t real human visitors, they’re robots (more commonly referred to in the technical world as ‘bots’) and they can arrive in clusters or in singular visits.

The kind of data these bot visits pollute includes:

  • Increased visitor numbers
  • Infated bounce rate
  • Time on site
  • Number of page visits
  • Geographic Location (many spam visits are from Asia, Russia or Eastern Europe)

So, what can be done about these ‘phantom’ website visits and how can we filter out spam visits in google analytics? That’s a good question to ask and we’ve provided the best current solution below. Keep in mind the date of this post is the 20th July 2015, so if you’re reading it in 6, 12, 18 months time or further in future these details may not be ‘current’ – things move pretty quickly and Google are always tinkering with their control panels. Hopefully they’ll find a way of automatically removing all this misleading traffic. Until then, here’s the best solution we think to eradicate spam traffic from your analytics.

How to Identify Analytics Spam

Ok first and foremost you need to know what spam traffic looks like so here’s an example, if you log into Google Analytics and look in Aquisitions – All Traffic – Referrals, you may see something like this:

Quite common culprits are the likes of:

  • floating-share-buttons.com
  • co
  • Get-Free-Traffic-Now.com
  • seo.com

However they are most notable by the high numbers of visits and the high bounce rate – usually 100% or thereabouts. Take a look at your referrals over the past 6 – 12 months and you should be able to start compiling a list of spammy looking referrals.

Applying Filters To Your Analytics Data

Ok, so you now have a list of spam websites that you want to eradicate from your analytics data. Here’s how to remove them:

  1. In your analytics account click on Admin just above your report data:

    Google analytics
  2. Once in the admin section, click on ‘View Settings’ in the View Column:

    Google Analytics Admin
  3. Within these settings you will see a checkbox for excluding all ‘known bot’ visits, check this box then click save.

That’s it, well the main part anyway. Google should start, almost immediately, to exclude all that spammy traffic from your analytics data. However for additional peace-of-mind, it’s also worth adding filters to exclude those you know have been visiting (and going forward this is worth knowing for any that aren’t ‘known bots’ as far as Google are concerned:

  1. Go back to the main admin screen and select ‘All Filters’ in the account column, then click the red button to add a new filter:

    Google Analytics
  2. Then just populate all the fields seen here to exclude specific domain addresses from referral data. Select ‘All Data’ then save:

Google Analytics Filters

All done – your analytics is now cleansed. If you have any queries at all or need support from a Yorkshire digital agency then contact Wish Digital today, we’d be happy to assist.

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