How many people visit your website on a daily basis? 50? 500? 5,000? Did you know that a large percentage of your traffic could be spam? In other words, little tiny electronic bots could be crawling your website and posing as website visitors. These pesky critters will increase your bounce rate, lower time on site and register false website traffic numbers. To make things worse, finding and blocking them can be tricky.
1. Identify the Spam
The first step is to identify the spam referral traffic. You’ll need to find a list of referral traffic to your website – basically a list of websites that are sending traffic to your website.
In Google Analytics, you’ll find this list in “Acquisition >> All Traffic >> Referrals”. You can now copy & paste or download a CSV of this list. We recommend downloading a CSV and cleaning the list to only include the spam-related traffic. You can tell if the traffic is spam by looking at the bounce rate (100%) and time on site (00:00:00).
2. Block the Spam
Now that you have a list of spam-related websites sending traffic to your site, it’s time to block them. Depending on where your website is hosted, you’ll need to either edit your .htaccess file (only for advanced users) or submit the list to your hosting support team. Most managed website hosting companies can handle the request for you quickly and without issue.
3. Monitor your Analytics
Now that you’ve blocked the traffic, it’s important to monitor your analytics on an on-going basis. You’ll see more spam referral sites pop up over time and we recommend cleaning the traffic on a monthly basis (unless you have a very small or very large amount of traffic).
Hungry for more?
For more information, check out this comprehensive guide from MOZ to stopping spam bots: http://moz.com/blog/how-to-stop-spam-bots-from-ruining-your-analytics-referral-data.