Fixing unknown referrals in Google Analytics or what it is called Log Spam, Referrer spam or Referrer Bombing…

While checking my site statistics in Google Analytics in the “Traffic Sources” >> “All Traffic sources” tab I’ve found some suspicious domain names as the referral of my site… such as

  • camera-digital.golbnet.com / referral
  • mouse-e-teclado.golbnet.com / referral
  • dvd-cd.golbnet.com / referral
referral spam shown as red mark
referral spam shown as red mark

  • what is a Referrer Spam?
    After a quick check, it became obvious that none of the sites actually don’t have any actual referring links to my site but the things might call Log Spam, Referrer spam or Referrer Bombing. From Google Analytics forum,

    It is a method of attracting direct visits from a webmasters, faking traffic for a paid-for-inclusion-directories or annoy webmasters by posting fake message or fake keywords. Also old public stats programs like Webaliser or AWStats showed a backlink to the faked referrer which had SEO benefits for the spammer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referrer_spam (Note: GA is defaulted to private, so referrers are not publicly posted, as far as I am aware). http://www.nickycakes.com/fake-your-referer-get-more-traffic/

    But be known that spam referrals will NOT affect the site’s search engine positions (SERPs), these 2 issues are COMPLETELY unrelated.

  • How the spammers do it?
    The spammers can collect the GA accountID
    s (e.g UA-0000000-1) in a number of ways and then can paste these accountID found above into GA tracking code hosted on their domains e.g. camera-digital.golbnet.com and then can send traffic to these internal pages. It happens as any webpage that has the tracking code of your Analytics account installed on it will be tracked by your Analytics account. This is irrespective of whether it is your domain or not. The only way to stop tracking the page would be to remove the code from it by contacting with the site owner.
  • How to check whether you are affected by this:
    1. Go to “visitors tab” >> “network properties” > “hostnames” and look for gps-brasil.blogspot.com or any unknown domains, e.g. If you see sites listed within hostnames are something like
    thebesthosting .org / gps-brasil.blogspot .com / notebooks-brasil.blogspot .com / www.web .com

    The list hostnames shows the unknown domains calling my GA Id
    The list hostnames shows the unknown domains calling my GA Id
  • 2. Search for allintext:UA-0000000 or “UA-0000000” on google (you can even setup a google alert to be notified if google finds a site your accountID) – To check for if anyone using your exact GA Id –
    http://www.google.com/search?q=allintext%3AUA-10005&filter=0&num=100

    3. Do a “Site Search” in the suspected site. e.g. do a site search on gps-brasil.blogspot.com to find the page with your accountID.
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&num=100&q=site%3Agps-brasil.blogspot.com&filter=0&num=100

  • How to Fix this:
    Add an include Hostname filter for youdomain.com to prevent faked visits from thebesthosting .org and others.

    Filter Type:
    Advanced > INCLUDE
    hostname:youdomain.com
    case sensitive: no

    Include filter by hostname
    Include filter by hostname

    IMPORTANT: it is best to have a backup profile with no filters applied. Thus if you accidentally clicked the “exclude” button rather than “include” or mistyped you domain name, then no traffic would be included, so be careful with filters using the hostname field.

    * google cache, MSN translate visits will also be shown in the hostname report. This is because when a user views the cache of your page, the tracking code still runs, but this is hosted on google servers not your hostname.

  •  

    references:
    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Analytics/thread?tid=1a9b2f4d4b3688a8&hl=en&fid=1a9b2f4d4b3688a800046ec3c41c2599&hltp=2

  • http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Analytics/thread?tid=0d32da2b9b6fcabe&hl=en
  • What is a website profile in Google Analytics
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