Every once in awhile you will notice a spike on your google Analytics and with it comes the great satisfaction of a job well done; don’t pop the cork yet! Review where those referrals are coming from. More often than not you will find some names you don’t recognize; some common examples are see-your-website-here.com and Semalt.com.
At first you will be inclined to ignore them. “Who cares about a few unknown visits…”; wrong, these are SPAM referrals, and they do matter. These visits can accumulate to a few hundred a month which could reach a few thousand a year. If your website is receiving half a million visits then stop reading this, but if you are like any of my clients, a few hundred “fake visitors” can steer you in the wrong direction in terms of strategy. If that is not reason enough for you, think of the security issues; yes, some are just fake visits paid for some very ill-informed individuals, but some may be ill-intended as well, leaving phishing code in your website or posting SPAM on your comments section.
So, what should you do?
Elementary my young Watson; block them. How to block them is a whole different lesson to be taught, but here the basics. A simple online search should give you the specifics.
- The best way to block referrers from accessing your site at all is to block them in your .htaccess file in the root directory of your domain. This method prevents spambots from hitting your server altogether. Keep in mind, that the .htaccess file controls how your server behaves, and an error here can escalate very quickly into the rest of your site.
- Another good option, if your site is on WordPress is to install one of the many plugins available for this. It is quite easy to block unwanted sites, even easier to revert it and limits the possibility to brilliantly take your whole site down.
- The Google Analytic Filters won’t really block access to your site but will keep them off your reporting, giving you an accurate count at all times. This could also be done after you block these sites if you want to exclude them from historical data. How to do this is again another whole lesson, but we are here if you need any help.
Some spam domains to keep an eye out for
Hope this gives you some clarity on your Analytics and as usual, we are here to help if you need us.