Unbelievably Sneaky Website Google Analytics Referrer Spam

Blog Referrer Spam And Referrals In Google Analytics Account


Having a blog or a website means Google analytics will become a way of life for you at some point. That also means watching referrers and casting out referrer spam too. We all like to know where our traffic is coming from and we all have our eyes on sites where we’d love to get loads of referral traffic from too. However, there are times when those referrers can come from places that we’d rather not be connected to at all. That statement brings us into the world of referral spam that invades and toxifies our Google analytics.

However, the reality is that referrer spam isn’t going to harm our blogs or websites, but what stinks about this kind of spam is that it bloats Google analytics with inaccurate data and drives up your blogs bounce rate.

In another post where I’ve addressed bounce rate, you want a low bounce rate and referrer spam is intentionally going to drive it up, up and up some more which is awful. For a blog, the typical bounce rate is going to place you in the neighborhood of 70-98 percent. This isn’t unusual, but let’s be honest, the higher the bounce rate is a bad sign in Google’s eyes that visitors aren’t sticking around very long because the content on the page your visitor is landing on isn’t compelling them to read any other content you may have on your blog.

With that said, beyond referral spam driving up your bounce rate and toxifying your Google analytics data, you may be wondering.. well what does referral spam look like.

Well we all know that most people are very familiar with these traditional domains: .com, .edu, .gov However there are many subdomains and spammier looking domains that are rising to the surface as well. You’ll see what I’m talking about in this screenshot of my Google analytics.

Referrer Spam Google Analytics


Now at the time of writing this post, I had noticed some new blog traffic that I’d been getting from Russia. Well that didn’t make a lot of sense to me since I hadn’t received anything beyond a “trickle” of Russian traffic before so that was the red flag for me to look into the analytics data.

As you can see in the image, nothing really looks out of order other than the / referral right ? Well after doing some further digging, I came to find out that the referral was not genuine either. As you can see from the screenshot, the “k” isn’t really a k. It’s more like a lopped off letter k which isn’t from the genuine website. With that being the case, that is also a referral that is just taking up space in my analytics data.

I bet you noticed the referral. It turns out that one is bogus too. Now I’ve seen referral traffic from Reddit, but not in the amount that it was saying I was getting. My analytics report was showing that accounted for 20% of my overall traffic. Well as much as I would love for that to be the truth, the simple fact is I’m not that popular with Reddit “yet”.

It goes without saying that if something just doesn’t seem right about your traffic, you should investigate it. I look at my traffic daily. I would say borderline obsessive about it, but even if you don’t look at your website traffic as often as I do, the reality is that if you’re checking even once or twice a week, you should be able to spot changes that deviate from what is considered normal for your blog or website just as I did.

Nevertheless, I had performed a Google search about referrer spam specifically highlighting the lifehacker website and came across other people that were experiencing the same thing. Apparently, whomever this vagabond is has been likely preying on various websites online for some time now.

With that said, I want to readdress the traffic I was getting from Reddit. Let’s face it, we all know by now that Reddit is one of the most legit websites online with a massive following. So how can this kind of referrer spam get into my analytics data and actually look like it’s coming from Reddit when it isn’t ? Ghost traffic is the answer to that.

Ghost traffic is a “type” of referrer spam. In fact it’s one of the most common types. The interesting thing is that ghost traffic never actually visits your blog or website. That alone is enough to make you scratch your head in bewilderment because the visits data is still showing up in your Google analytics. The short of it is that the spammer is sending data to Google servers with a tracking code saying that they visited your blog without actually having visited it at all. Still not satisfied with that, then look no further than their spamming weapon of choice to accomplish this feat as seen in the screenshot below.

Measurement Protocol Google Analytics Tracking Developer Tool


As seen in the image, by the bullet points that this tool was not intended to be used as a spamming tool but as stated before, building a tool like this can be done to fake visits and ultimately create referrer spam as well. We can facetiously thank Google for that one.

Nevertheless, you can filter out this kind of traffic. All you need to do is create a filter through your Google analytics account. If you haven’t done it before, no need to worry, it’s not that difficult.

In your Google Analytics dashboard, you’ll see at the very top left that there are 4 menu items:

(1) Home             (2) Reporting      (3) Customization             (4) Admin

Click on Reporting.

Once you’ve done that, now you need to click on Audience.

Then you’ll need to click on Technology, then go to Network. The image below highlights the steps I’ve just asked you to take.

Google Analytics Create A Referrer Spam Filter Step 1


At this point, you need to find the hostname and click on it. If you haven’t looked for the hostname before, this may not stand out to you. The screenshot below should be helpful in helping you to find it.

NOTE: (Just click on the image to enlarge it. This applies to every image).

Google Analytics Create A Referrer Spam Filter Step 2 Find Hostname


In this window, you’ll see a bunch of hostnames that should also include your blog or websites host name too with some others added to the list.

In order for you to add a filter, go to the admin panel as seen in the following screenshot and then click on “add filter”.

Google Analytics Create A Referrer Spam Filter Step 3 Admin Filter Panel


Once you click on add filter, you’ll see another window where you’ll be adding additional information and setting options too as seen in the image screenshot below.

Google Analytics Create A Referrer Spam Filter Step 4 Admin Filter Panel Window



Click on “custom”. Exclude will be checked automatically, but you should be sure to click on “include” instead.

Click on your filter field and click on “hostname”. Once you’ve done that, make sure that your filter pattern is your domain. It should read yourdomain\.com|anyotherdomains or subdomains in your hostname list. Where I’ve stated “yourdomain” this should be the website address of your domain without the http:// in it. For the illustrative purposes as seen in the image below I just stated my main domain.

Google Analytics Create A Referrer Spam Filter Step 5 Final Details


Make sure you add the [all web site data] in the bottom window where it says “available view” to selected views box and then click save.

Voila, now you have created a filter for your referrer spam which if all went well should stop all the toxification coming from fake visits and traffic ruining your Google analytics data.  

Thanks for reading. If you liked the post, please use the share buttons below.

#candidwriter #referrer #spam

Instagram Analytics Life Changing Insight To Your Keyword Research

Instagram Analytics Keyword Research Tool


Instagram analytics is without question a remarkably powerful tool. So how do you find good.. and I mean the really good analytics for Instagram ? Well that’s what we’re going to talk about today. While the Instagram website is a social media powerhouse, many users have no idea about what is effective and what isn’t before creating an account and even while using their platform.

If there’s one thing that I have learned online over the years is that regardless of the platform (social media or not), knowing the analytics is a “must” and without it, you’re flying blind just hoping for the best. Instagram tools such as the one that I am going to discuss in this post is a top tool that any Instagram user should use for Instagram keyword discovery, website monitoring and more and you need only look at the examples that I will show you to truly understand and come to grips with just how incredibly powerful this information can be and what it means for your potentially massive success online.

With that said, since pictures are media and considered a very critical component of what we do as bloggers, it’s no wonder why everyone is jumping on the Instagram bandwagon right ? Do you realize that it’s possible to basically reverse engineer the success that other users on Instagram are seeing ? It starts with knowing what keywords other Instagram users are targeting and then ensuring that you target the same keywords and follow basic SEO rules to optimize your Instagram activity. The secret is in the Instagram analytics data that indefinitely set you apart from those who have competitive intelligence data (otherwise known as analytics data) and those who don’t. The right tool(s) in your arsenal will put you miles ahead of the bloggers and website owners that don’t think analytics matter. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about local business that focus on local SEO or a blogger who blogs as a hobby. We all want our content to be seen and a ridiculously huge ingredient in this secret sauce to getting it done is in the analytics.. plain and simple.

Let’s consider the following. On Instagram you can associate a photo with just about any niche right ? I’m not sure what kind of blogger you are or may be aspiring to be or what your niche is, but let’s focus on the food blogger (just as an example) for the purpose of today’s post. Tons of pictures for this niche right and tons of food bloggers out there too, so again to reiterate.. it is truly a great example to look at for the purposes of discussing Instagram analytics.

Instagram Analytics And Search Unsorted


Either this looks really attractive to you or it doesn’t, but it should and here’s why.

I’ll tell you the jaw dropping information in each column:

  • Column 1 – the keywords (keywords that you probably didn’t know about)
  • Column 2 – the position where this Instagram page shows up in Google when you search for the keyword. The first number shows the current position and the number in parenthesis () is where it was positioned before the last update
  • Column 3 – ohhh this is good.. the search volume for the keyword.. another powerful piece of analytic juicy goodness
  • Column 4 – the keyword density which basically tells you how hard it is going to be to rank for the keyword but don’t always be turned off by the high numbers because pages “aren’t always” optimized to rank well based on keyword density
  • Column 5 – the cpc is your cost per click.. this information tells you how much people are paying “per click” to have their sites / pages show up without having to rank organically for the same terms
  • Column 6 – the exact page that is ranking for that term (again pretty awesome data at your fingertips)
  • Column 7 – the percentage of traffic coming from this page that contributes to the domain that you searched for and in this example I searched the domain “” and filtered results by the keyword “food” without quotes
  • Column 8 – this gives you the estimated price of the keyword in Google Adwords. Honestly, I never use this section so I can’t attest to it’s usefulness either
  • Column 9 –this tells you the competitive density of advertisers using the term for their ads. (1) is the highest so if this is a metric that you plan to use, you can gauge the difficulty based on the number that is associated with the term
  • Column 10 – this is how many other urls that you’re competing with or another way of looking at this is how many urls are listed for this term in organic search
  • Column 11 – this is amazing information too as it shows you the interest of searchers for this keyword in the last twelve months
  • Column 12 – this is a snapshot (Google’s cache) of search results for this particular keyword
  • Column 13 – this is the last time the keyword results were updated in Google

NOTE: If you’d rather just skip the rest of this and get right to it and you’re ready to discover and start using what is quite frankly a truly life changing analytics tool, just click the button below to start using it for free or go with a paid plan.

However, if you’re still reading, let’s talk about our next example where you can see that there is no particular sorting so what I’m going to do now is sort by search volume. I love volume just like the next person when it comes to analytics. What are the big terms to go after and alternatively what are the low hanging fruit terms as well, but we’ll focus on the larger volume keywords as you’ll see sorted in the next image.

Instagram Analytics And Search Sorted By Volume


You can see that the results are now sorted by volume and the first keyword is food network and other details about this that is invaluable:

Search volume: 1.2 million searches per month

Google position is #9

The page that it’s associated with is seen below has over 2800 posts and 2.9 million followers.

What this tells me is that it’s going to be pretty hard to rank for this term according to the analytics data that I’ve already seen through an Instagram account, but the other reality is that this is also a branded keyword.

So with that said, lets take a look at another example: legal seafood (unbranded) which shows the following:

Search volume 49k

Google position is #15

The page that is associated with it is showing only 315 posts, nearly 2500 followers and only following 16 users on Instagram and again we’re talking nearly 50,000 searches a month and in Google it’s ranked in the middle of page 2. This is a much easier term to rank for through Instagram and the search volume is pretty impressive as well.

The page can be seen here:

Instagram Analytics Legalseafoods Instagram Page


With this tool, there is no guesswork. It’s no magical. It’s straightforward Instagram analytics data that can propel your success and visibility online for keywords you want to target through the Instagram website.

The next thing that we’re going to do is sort by position. This is absolutely sensational because we can see according to the data we’ve been able to collect pertaining to Instagram analytics what Instagram pages and keywords are ranking in the top positions organically in Google.  

Check this out in the following image:

Instagram Analytics And Search Sorted By Position With 3 Filters


What you see here is pretty mesmerizing because not only have I sorted this by position, but I have also added filters to my search that include the keyword that I wanted to find results between pages 1 and 2 of Google and that I wanted the search volume for anything I got back from the report to be greater than 500 searches a month. We’re literally talking laser targeting type of Instagram analytics data on for any keyword I want to look at more in depth.

This is analytic data that you can use pertaining to Instagram analytics to figure out what keywords do I target for my Instagram account. This is the kind of data that can be used for any website that is registered online. This is information that can provide remarkable insight into what your competitors are doing. This is Instagram search and analytic data that if you’re on Instagram can transform your Instagram success.

Additional insight that I will share with you is that I use this tool personally for all my keyword and analytic data and highly recommend it. You can use this tool for free for 7 days to witness and experience just how reliable, authentic and powerful this really is.

Thanks for reading. If you liked the post, please use the share buttons below.

#candidwriter #instagram #analytics

Disclosure: Affiliate links have been used in this post. Additional clarification can be found in our privacy policy.