The Semalt Islamabad Expert: What Is Referrer Spam & How To Avoid It?
If you monitor the traffic of your website daily and think that it's gaining traction, the chances are that referrer spam has hit your blog. In your Google Analytics account, you might notice more and more inbound links which appear to be adding quality traffic to your site, but it's absolutely wrong. When you keenly analyze the referrer sources of the inbound links, you will see some strange domain names such as best-seo-offer.com, Get-Free-Traffic-Now.com, 4webmasters.org, best-seo-solution.com, buttons-for-website.com, 7makemoneyonline.com, blackhatworth.com, ilovevitaly.com, priceg.com, resellerclub.com, prodvigator.ua, savetubevideo.com, kambasoft.com, screentoolkit.com, and superiends.org.
A top specialist from Semalt, Sohail Sadiq, assures that getting rid of referrer spam with some techniques is possible.
What is referrer spam?
When you have just developed your website and did not do SEO, the chances are that your site will receive no traffic. But if it receives traffic from the unknown sources, you should evaluate where this traffic comes from and how it interacts with your Google Analytics account. Some other domain names you should bear in mind are socialseet.ru, o-o-8-o-o.ru, vodkoved.ru, iskalko.ru, myftpupload.com, luxup.ru, websocial.me, slftsdybbg.ru, ykecwqlixx.ru, seoexperimenty.ru, econom.co, darodar.com, edakgfvwql.ru, adviceforum.info. Any of the referrer spam is added to your Google Analytics account by the spammers, and the bounce rate is up to 100%. Anything like the search engines, links on other sites, banner advertisements and emails can redirect you to these suspicious websites. Technically speaking, it sends HTTP requests to your Google Analytics account and the same request is then forwarded to your web server. You would have to locate the IP address of the referrer spam and get it blocked in your Google Analytics account. A referrer is useful in the statistical web analysis and determines which websites generate the most traffic. Moreover, it plays a significant role in formulating effective and powerful marketing strategies and helps you ensure your site's security on the internet.
How the spammers use it?
The HTTP referrer is always open to modifications and can be edited easily, which makes it suspicious for webmasters and beneficial for spammers. The hackers and spammers usually change the referrer property to a web page they want to promote. There are two main reasons why they choose to do such things.
To increase traffic
The spammers develop automated scripts which generate visits to hundreds to thousands of sites with fake referral URLs, usually more than ten visits per day. The webmasters and bloggers can notice an increase in the traffic and the impressions are generated in their Google Analytics accounts in a large number. These fake URLs are often used to trick with your AdSense account and to edit your log files. You can filter them out in your Google Analytics account so that the spammers' sites receive no traffic on your behalf.
To increase external links
Some of the blogs and sites may publish a large number of refers and may include the links back to their sites. This would let the spammers and hackers generate lots of backlinks for their own websites, which would ultimately improve their search engine ranking.
How to stop the referrer spam?
If you manage a WordPress website, you can easily stop the referrer spam by installing a plug-in named as Stop Web Crawlers. This plugin can either be downloaded from the web or can be borrowed from a friend. Once installed, this will protect your WordPress site from the referrer spam to an extent.