Semalt: How Does Referrer Spam Work And How To Hide It In Google Analytics?

Michael Brown, the Semalt Customer Success Manager, the HTTP referrer is the header field that is sent when the browsers go from one web page to the other. When you click on that link, your browser will send a request to the servers that hold the desired web pages. This request includes an HTTP referrer field, which will identify the last pages you were on when you clicked on that link. The information allows spammers originate referrer spam on your website. The HTTP referrers should be left blank as it is abused by spammers who keep changing the referrer URLs almost daily. They aim to promote their own content using your links and take advantage of your search engine rankings.

How does referrer spam work?

First of all, spammers visit from hundreds to thousands of sites on the internet and generate fake referrer URLs in a large number. They make repeated requests to all sites, and when you see the surge in the traffic from the false URLs in your Google Analytics account, you will feel that the visits are coming from legitimate sources. Secondly, the spammers and hackers take advantage of the habit that various bloggers publish lists of suspicious sites and their recent referrers, giving backlinks to the original websites. The spammers use this information for personal websites and grow the referrer spam, sending them to your website and taking advantage of easy links back to their own websites.

How to hide the referrer spam in your Google Analytics account?

One of the best and easiest ways to stop referrer spam from impacting your Google Analytics account and statistics is to add the offending referrers to the Referral Exclusion List. For instance, if your site is receiving traffic from, you should go to the Admin section of your Google Analytics account and choose the Referral Exclusion List. The next step is to click on the Add Referrer Exclusion button and enter the domain name to get it excluded. The final step is to click on the Create and Save buttons respectively. This way, you can easily filter out the visits from your statistics that belong to or any of its subdomains, such as You should bear in mind that this method will not help you block all the bots and spiders from visiting your websites altogether. For this, you should change the settings of your .htaccess file.

Does referrer spam work?

It's true that the referrer spam has the potential and ability to generate lots of traffic or hits. It originates from suspicious websites when you reach them suddenly and show interest in their so-called authentic services. When you boost a lot of links and want to create quality backlinks, the chances of referrer spam are increased because the hackers can easily track your website URL and use it to build links of their own web pages. They send thousands of spiders and spambots out to index your site in the search engine results. They also send fake requests through vulnerable websites to a large number of business websites and brands on the internet.

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