[SEO] statistics distorted by spam referrers

spam referrerswho has not been surprised to see the number of sessions or visitors explode at one in the statistics of their website on Google analytics ? What a joy. We are delighted to finally see his site visits spray records. One begins to dream.

But looking more closely, we quickly ask questions. Why Russian are interested suddenly at my site ? Plus they all live in Samara ? But what are these referrals : daodar.com, aliexpress.com, semalt.com, social-buttons.com, humanorightswatch.org ?

Welcome to the world of spam referrers.

What is it ? How to get rid of ? How to recover own statistics ?

Spam referrers what is it ?

Spam referrers are from a technical spamdexing (source wikipedia).

It involves sending repeated requests to the home pages of a multitude of sites using a fake URL linking to the site that the spammer wants to promote. These fake links injected in number in our statistics allow search engines to boost their position in referrals.

It is not unlikely that the infected sites are inaccessible due to a simultaneous attack all these spam referrers dropping their server.

How to spot spam referrers ?

2 methods :

  1. you notice in your statistics an unusual rise in visits as bellow :many sessions per day
  2. in your statistics referring sites, you have a lot of visitors to your home page with a bounce rate of 100% and an average session duration 00:00:00referring sites

We can see on the chart above that the google referring site accesses a particular page of our site, bounce rate remains solid (57.43%) and the average session duration is close to the minute.

As against the other three referrals have strange statistics. Yhey all refer to the home page, the percentage of new sessions is either 0% or 100% bounce rate is close to 100% (2 of them), and the average time of the sessions is 0 (2 of them).

So how to be sure whether good referrers spam ?

Try to access this sites and you will be taken to other sites :

  • social-buttons.com refer you to sharebutton.org
  • s.click.aliexpress.com to aliexpress.com an e-commerce site unrelated to your site
  • forum.topic47046600.darodar.com to aliexpress.com also rapidly through shopping.ilovevitaly.com

These hidden sites will therefore improve their ranking through links to your site.

How to remove spam referrers your statistics ?

After several searches, here are the best solutions for Google Analytics users and / or if you have access to the .htaccess file in your site.

Deny access its spam referrers to your site via .htaccess

An example of code to include in the .htaccess file in the root of your site, to block fraudulent sites we saw above :

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} social-buttons\.com [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} s\.click\.aliexpress\.com [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} forum\.topic47046600\.darodar\.com [NC]
RewriteRule .* – [F]

Please note you must adapt the 4th line with your Google analytics ID (8 digits).

You will find a .htaccess with the various spam referrers of time on the site kulturstartup.

Filter spam referrers via Google analytics

If you do not access to the .htaccess file, you can create filters in your Google analytics setup.

Under your account click on « All filters » and then « New filter » :

filter

Then create your filter by selecting « preset », « exclude », « traffic to the hostname » and « containing ». Enter the hostname you want to exclude and do not forget to apply the filter to the views by clicking on « add ».

This filter will exclude from your statistics all referrers spam from the domain « semalt.com ».

filter creation

Despite this two solutions some spam referrers continue to pass through the cracks. You can use another interesting solution still in your Google Analytics setup.

Filter robots in Google Analytics

In the « view » tab of your Google Analytics setup, click « Settings for », select « Exclude all calls from robots known » then « Save ».

exclude robots

That’s it. With all these manipulations you should clean up your statistics major spam referrers.

But be careful, new spam messages arrive regularly. So remember to regularly update your .htaccess file and add it to your Google filters.

Finally, if you like digging through the files of your web project, I urge you to check the access logs to files on your server. You will be surprised.

Monitor access logs in your server

This is what I discovered when I had completed all the configurations described above. Russian sites gain access to the home page of my portfolio in packs of three almost simultaneous connections.

access logs

Observe the IP addresses of those websites. Strange, they all have the same address. After some research I discovered that they come from a mobile operator Ukrainian but nothing to do with the sites.

By cons they do not appear in my Google statistics. So my filters are working properly. Hopefully these multiple connections do not end up planting my server.

This article has helped you. Then spread it, do know and feel free to leave me comments. Thank you 😉

Rémy MANDIT

Conseiller en insertion professionnelle et Concepteur développeur web. Passionné de l'image et du tir sportif.

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