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Trump in your Data? Removing and Blocking Analytics Referral SPAM

Checking my analytics this morning, I see the following under the “Language” segment …

“Secret.ɢoogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!”

Many times, something like this will come in with a fake “referral” as if a website was sending many visitors to your page, hence the name referral spam. Usually, it will show up under Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals. This appeared in another way though …

“Secret.ɢoogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!”

Basically, what this is a list of what languages my website visitors speak. This “language” came in just after Dutch, and barely beat out Japanese and Russian. I find it odd this message was able to sneak in, in this particular way. I thought Google would have only allowed specific language codes, being that it is a finite list (461 as of July 14, 2016) or just limit the types of characters to letters? Perhaps that will be fixed soon …

Here’s how to get rid of it and some other analytics referral spam that may creep in …

Removing Referral SPAM from your Reports

This is specific to the “language” spam mentioned above.

  1. Go to the “Audience > Overview” report
  2. Click on your Segment name (commonly “All Users” from this view)
  3. Click on the red “+NEW SEGMENT” button
  4. Type in your chosen “Segment Name” (I use “All Users (Filtered)” to remind me there is some filtering of some sort happening)
  5. Click “Advanced > Conditions
  6. Change the “Include” option to “Exclude
  7. Click the “Ad Content” dropdown menu
  8. Scroll down to “Users” and click it to open the submenu
  9. Scroll down to “Language” and select it
  10. In the text box to the right of “contains” type in “trump” (or any part of this particular text. You can type “You are invited!” with the same end result)
  11. Click the blue “Save” button and you are done.

Blocking Referral SPAM of Other Types

Standard referral spam, referrer spam, log spam, or referrer bombing is usually a URL in your “Referrals” list… It shows up as a spammy looking URL like pageonegoogle.com or freeseoreports.com, or a couple years ago the the semalt.com crawler, or something similar.

  1. Under ADMIN, ACCOUNT, click “All Filters
  2. Choose a name and type it into the “Filter Name” box
  3. Filter Type: Select “Custom
  4. Choose the “Exclude” radio button
  5. Under the “Filter Field” dropdown, select “Hostname
  6. Enter the offending hostname into the box, example: pageonegoogle.com
  7. Under “Apply Filter to Views” select which views you wish to filter and click “Add” to move them to the “Selected views” box.
  8. Click the blue “Save” button at the bottom of the page.

I hope this was helpful – feel free to get in touch or if you have questions or comments.

What are some other helpful tips and hints for blocking analytics spam like this? Feel free to share below…

Sources:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc233965.aspx
https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033162?hl=en

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