What Is Referrer Spam Or Ghost Traffic And How To Stop It?

To discuss referrer spam, I need to take you to a couple of years ago. One fine morning, I started checking my analytic account to find out last night’s PPC performance report and ohh my!!!! I was extremely surprised to see that my traffic has been increased a lot overnight. Silly me!

I started exploring my traffic sources and find out that some generous webmasters sent lots of referral traffic from their websites. I thought they must have linked my article. Once again, silly me!

I visited their websites and there was no trace of my website link. Then it struck me, well they may have sent me a whole lot of meaningless automated traffic, but they got authentic traffic by doing so as I visited their websites.

This is a new pain for SEO people nowadays. We call it Ghost Traffic / Phantom Traffic and also it is being referred to as referrer spam. If you’re still unaware of this, then you should check your Analytics account after reading this article.

In this post, I am about to reveal a lot of secrets about Ghost Traffic or referral spam traffic and how to block referrer spam.

What Is Ghost Traffic Or Referrer Spam?

Ghost traffic is the sheer number of fake visits created in your Google Analytics account. There are some websites that generate fake traffic and get registered as visits in Google analytic. The point in fact is that they haven’t ever visited your site as we can see them in the analytics account. However, they do not exist in reality, it’s known as “Ghost Traffic” or “referrer spam”.

How You Can Detect Ghost Or Spam Referral Traffic?

There are some known websites which are sending this kind of referral visitors to your website.

To recognize regardless of whether you are amongst the victims or otherwise not, login to your Google analytics and go to “Acquisition> Campaigns> Organic keywords”.

If you notice any unconventional keywords and phrases in organic search traffic or any abnormal URLs inside your referral tab, you happen to be the target of these ghosts or ”Referral spam bot”.

The most typical keywords and phrases being used are:

resellerclub scam
google officially -recommends ilovevitaly.com search shell

Some of the referral websites that I have noticed till now are –

social-buttons.com
site13.social-buttons.com
make-cash.pl
best-seo-solution.com
buttons-for-website
darodar.com
ilovevitaly.co
blackhatworth.com
econom.co
hulfingtonpost.com
priceg.com

How Ghost Traffic Or “referrer Spam” Actually Performs?

It is occurring since there is a loophole in GA. Here’s the strategy these spammers are utilizing –

  • They run automated set of scripts which has similarities with search engine bots. These automated bots crawls through arbitrary websites as well as its web pages that lead them to other web pages.

  • These crawlers run a JavaScript within the web pages through which they get all dynamic codes of the website. The procedure winds up operating Google Analytic tracking code. The automated crawler then adds tracking code, user ID and the page view details in Google analytic tracking code.

This results in a fake traffic in Google Analytic.

What Is Referrer Spam Or Ghost Traffic And How To Stop It? 1

Why Are They Doing This?

99% of people who are reading this article, must be thinking that why these websites are sending Ghost visitors?

I can think of two reasons –

1. They are actually getting real visitors by doing this. As a website owner, you will try to find the new source of referral traffic. This is obvious. So, you will visit those referral websites and will try to find out how you got all those visitors and where is your link? This will keep you busy in their website and their visitor count will eventually increase.

This is helping them to grow their brand name or simply they are promising their clients a lot of visitors within very short period of time. Basically, you are helping them to make some money.

2. All these referral spam traffics are just for fun and to show how intelligent are they? Whatever!!!

How To Stop Or Block Referrer Spam?

Seriously speaking, it’s quite challenging to block it. Several SEO people has recommended me to disavow these sites, but the truth is disavowing all those sites will not be any big difference since these are not actually backlinks or genuine visit.

The 2 feasible solutions are provided below –

1. Via Htaccess File –

The key to block referrer spam would be to prevent it before it has an opportunity to register in your website as being a referrer. The easiest method to do that should be to insert the following code in your .htaccess file.

## Stop referrer spam
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.* social-buttons\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.* darodar.\.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*econom\.co/ [NC,OR]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ – [F,L]

 2. Create filters

It’s extremely tough and time-consuming procedure as you have to include individual filters for each and every spam site and query which will probably be altered in the future.

Remember, when you filter the data, you won’t ever retrieve it. So be cautious when working with filters, make an effort to generate mirror account and implement filters in that.

Is Referrer Spam Dangerous? Can It Affect Your Seo Efforts?

The most significant concern, correct? The simple fact is “No”.

Google’s webspam crew does not consider information or data from GA. So, these referrer spam traffic are only able to do one thing and that’s misguiding you.

You may get misguided if you see lots of visitors in analytic within short period of time and you can work more on your current SEO strategy which in reality, may not be working for you.

What’s The Long Term Remedy?

That’s not in your hand right now. We have to wait around for Google to take some action against this and offer some the reassurance of GA.

So, I hope that this article will help you to understand better about all those referral spam and ghost traffic in your Google analytics.

Let me know your thoughts and if you need any help mail me or comment below.

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