Google Analytics supplies the most invaluable marketing data unless you have referral spam. This spam gives an inaccurate depiction of site traffic, affecting your bounce rate, sessions, and referrals.

Last year there was an overwhelming surge in ghost traffic or spam crawlers finding their way in Google Analytics data. This is a mostly a way for spam sites to secure attention because once you find them in your Google Analytics your inclination is to click on the site to figure out who it is. And this is exactly what they want! Traffic!

Let the spam sites suffer, and remove these pesky buggers from your data to enhance your marketing strategy and analysis.

Why do you need to block referral spam? Blocking this spam data can clean your Analytics and you can determine if a campaign is truly working or not.

Now, there are two types of pesky buggers: ghosts and spam crawlers.

What’s the difference?

Ghosts: never access your site but input data directly into Google Analytics using Measurement Protocol. They are hoping to get clicks from Google Analytics that lead to their site.

Crawlers: these are bots that access your site leaving a record that looks legitimate.

This should be one of the first steps you take after setting up Google Analytics. But, it requires constant maintenance. Each month you need to filter out new spam that has made its way into your Google Analytics data.

How To Filter Out Referral Spam

1. Go to Acquisition > All Traffic  > Referral

2. The Referral Spam will always have a bounce rate of 100%. That’s how you know what is spam. Another way is to go to Secondary Dimension under the plot graph and insert Hostname. Any traffic that is not leading to your website is referral spam.

3. Go to Admin > Account > Filters.

4. Add Filter > Insert a name like Referral Spam Filter April 2016.

5. Custom > Exclude > Campaign Source

6. Insert the Referral Spam source as it appeared on your Google Analytics Referral feed into the Filter Pattern. For example, For regular expressions, put a in front of all periods.

7. To add more than 1 spam source to the Filter Pattern, insert a | between each spam item ensuring there is no spaces. For example,|

8. Apply to your Master View.

Viola! No more spam.