Fix ghost traffic / spam referral

What is ghost traffic/referral spam?

Ghost traffic, which is also known as referral spam as it’s most commonly seen in your referral report, are false session entries. These are records generated without actual visits to your website.


How does ghost traffic/referral spam affect my site?

Although it is not harmful to your website or your visitors, it can create havoc with your Google Analytics figures, making it considerably harder to retrieve accurate reporting.

If you, like many online businesses, rely on Google Analytics to make business decisions, you may be making them on the basis of inaccurate, polluted data.


How does referral spam occur?

A malicious program submits requests to Google Analytics using your account ID. Your account ID might be randomly generated, although in most cases it’s found by crawling websites specifically to gather this information.


Why is referral spam happening?

A lot of spam referral links are intended to get you to visit the link. Sometimes they are evil destinations, and sometimes they are legitimate businesses that contracted with a shady SEO company to increase traffic. Whatever the reason it can destructive to your Google Analytics reports and harm your decision making process.


Has my website been affected by ghost traffic/referral spam?

You can find examples of ghost traffic appearing in your organic keywords report, event tracking report or, most commonly, referrals.

Google Analytics > Acquisition > Referrals

Most of the domains redirect to another website/service and will probably stand out from your common referrers. Some of those websites might include**:


**Please note over time even the domains listed above may be used for genuine reasons.

Read our blog post to find out more about identifying referral spam


How can I get rid of referral spam?

The most common method is by maintaining numerous filters to block certain domains. This is time-consuming and requires regular analysis of your reports to identify new culprits. Other than the ongoing expense, it’s also retroactive, meaning that you’re likely to be subject to further referral spam as new domain names are used.


We can help!

We have devised a solution that includes a blend of various methods of spam referral exclusion that in the short term should mean 100% of referral spam excluded. At the core is a method that has blocks virtually all spam referrals, if that wasn’t enough we explicitly block over 300 known spam referral domains for a really robust exclusion method.


Will it block all referral spam for ever?

Spammers methods constantly evolve but our solution could change the need for weekly analysis and to update our solution to block any new creative spammers every few months or less.

Find out whether your website is eligible for our assistance