In one of the previous articles, we showed you how to use filters to exclude spam in Google Analytics. This solution was quite good, however, the spammers get better and we have to use a better technique to fight them back.
The issue with the fake traffic (also called ghost traffic) is that it completely spoils your analytical data. On top of that, the spammers often fake more pages visitied and non-zero average time on the page.
Fake traffic in GA not generated by real visits
Fake traffic only exists in the GA. There were no actual visits on your website. The spammers trigger the tracking code using randomly generated tracking IDs. In most cases they don’t even know what is the page its ID they are using. We can take advnatge of this practise and allow only analytics for the traffic coming from our own domains. Let’s have a look at the analytics.
To see the above hostname list, select Audience -> Technology -> Network. Then above the table, select Hostname. As you can see in the image, there is a lot of crazy domains. For our website, the only valid one is butterats.org. In your particular case, there might be more of them. E.g. blog.website.com or forum.website.com etc. Check the list and identify your own domain names.
Google Analytics setting to reduce fake traffic
Let’s have a look how to reduce the fake traffic using filters in GA. It is recommended to keep one view with unfiltered “All website data”. Click on Admin, then right column (Views) and Create a New View. You can name it Spam filtered.
Next, click on Filters and create a new filter. Select Custom.
Choose the option Include and Filter Field Hostname. Now put your website’s url into the Filter patter in this form:
If you have more sub-domains, you can add them all at once using a regular expression command |. an example would be:
If you need more advanced tricks with regular expressions, check for example Wikipedia.
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