Hiltmon

On walkabout in life and technology

Eliminating Google Analytics Referral Spam

It seems that the Google Analytics use of a public tracking code was a mistake. Anyone can use your tracking code on their site, which adds to your traffic, or they can create ghost visits and spam referrals by hammering Google Analytics with your code while never visiting your site. Oh, and the codes are easy to guess, so they do not even need to know about your site.

In most cases, this is perfectly harmless (IMHO) as only Google Analytics data is affected and your reports look funny. Your ad stats, if not Google, remain the same as they are independent.

The only reason I am talking about this is because I was up early this morning and noticed that a page with the title of “Luck” was trending in my analytics1.

Except for one problem.

There is no post entitled “Luck”.

I never wrote one.

Ever!

Which led me down the rabbit hole.

You can spot these fake referrals pretty easily. Go to Reporting / Acquisition / Referrals on the Google Analytics site. Then, next to Primary Dimension, select Other / Behavior / Hostname:

My site is hiltmon.com, who the blazes is that?

Whatever you do, please do not visit that URL.

Michael Sullivan (@AnalyticsEdge) from Analytics Edge wrote two excellent posts recently on what these are and how to deal with this referral spam:

Go ahead, read them.

I have updated my Google Analytics filters and am waiting to see if the changes work. I have also created the segment as directed and that seems to work great, but only for some reports.

Follow the author as @hiltmon on Twitter.


  1. Still running Status Board by the seriously handsome folks at Panic on the original iPad.

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