Semalt Expert: You, Yes, You! Do You Know What A Ghost Referrer Spam Is?

Ghost referral or referrer spam is the fake traffic that shows up in your Google Analytics account. However, when you closely check where do the hits come from, you will see that they are from a referral website and increase your bounce rate to a great extent. Currently, there are two major types of ghost referrals affecting the Google Analytics data. Firstly, there are spam bots and crawlers that index your web pages and ignore the robots.txt files. The second type is Darodar, which can be identified as illegal traffic generating program. Ryan Johnson, the Semalt Customer Success Manager, explains that the main issue is that the ghost referral spam comes from multiple domains, most of which are adult themes and hit out websites round the clock.

The difference between the spam bots and ghost referrals is the quality of traffic. The ghost referrer spam sends traffic from new and unknown domains, but never actually visits your websites. Instead, they leave the digital trails affecting your Google Analytics accounts and increasing your bounce rate. They aim to track your Google Analytics codes, and you can block them by creating filters in your account. This way, you will be able to stop the ghost referral spam from destroying your analytics data.

Does ghost referrer spam affect my SEO or website?

It's safe to mention that the ghost referrer spam does not affect your SEO or website. As we already described that they don't actually visit your website but show up in the top referrers of your Google Analytics data. However, that is what affects your data and analytics reports. The ghost referrer spam hits your site all the day and shows up to one thousand hits in 24 hours.

The ghost referrer spam does the following things to your site:

  • It greatly increases the overall bounce rate of your web pages.
  • It can decrease the number of visitors to your blog or site.
  • It skews the referral data and makes it tough for you to see whether the traffic is quality or not.
  • It hinders the Goal Conversion and the location data, sending you a lot of visits from Russia.

How do the referrer spammers send data to your Google Analytics accounts?

In your Javascript code, a tracking ID tells Google Analytics which referral website sends you traffic. The spammers use the following three methods to send fake visitors and hits to your Google Analytics accounts:

1. They insert the Javascript codes on their own websites and generate hits to their web pages.

2. They set up the automated bots to index your website, faking the referrers and showing lots of visits.

3. They set up specific bots to send data directly to your Google Analytics and don't involve real referral sites.

The best way to prevent ghost referrer spam is by creating the filters or editing your .htaccess file. You can create as many filters as you want to prevent the suspicious hits from ruining your Google Analytics data.