Removing spam referral traffic from Google Analytics data

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 14.13.14Fake referral traffic from sites such as semalt.com has been increasing lately, which causes serious and growing data quality problems with Google Analytics. One way to combat the issue is using view filters in Google Analytics (see instructions of applying those manually or automatically via the API). While it’s recommended to do this, there are two downsides to this method:

  • It doesn’t work retroactively, so the data already in GA will continue to include the spam.
  • Every time new spam sites appear, you need to update all filters

To address these issues, we’ve just updated all our reporting tools with a setting for removing spam traffic on the reporting side. For example, in our Google Drive add-on, on the Options tab you can find a “Filter out spam referrals” setting. When you use this setting, we filter out all known spam referrals (based on this list gathered by web analytics experts) from your query results. The best thing is, this works retroactively, so fake traffic is cleaned out from all the data you fetch. Also, we can quickly update the list when new spam sites appear, and all changes will be immediately applied to all data, including past queries you refresh.

Using the new setting in our reporting tools:

If you see spam sites that are not being removed by the filter, please contact us so we can update the feature to remove these referrals. We hope you find this new feature useful, and if you do, please share this on Twitter.

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