How to Block Reddit.com Refrral Spam in Google Analytics

3 Methods: Create an Exclude Filter  |  Alternative Filter | How to Filter Language Spam in Google Analytics

Reddit.com Referral Spam in Google Analytics

Don’t be alarmed to see unusual amounts of referral traffic from Reddit.com in your Google Analytics data. Recently, a Russian referrer spammer started to spam a few legitimate domain names across Google Analytics accounts around the globe and a webpage on reddit.com is one of them. Other legitimate domain names that this spammer has spammed include abc.xyz, thenextweb.com, and addons.mozilla.org.

reddit.com referral

The reason why the spammer is spamming your Google Analytics data with Reddit.com referral traffic and referral traffic from other legitimate websites is to get your attention and persuade you to visit the associated URLs in your web browser. The webpage on Reddit.com that is being spammed contains information about a website that the spammer has been promoting for a long time (ɢoogle.com/not Google.com).

Gallery

Associated URL

https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/5e2kcf/heres_a_secret_%C9%A2ooglecom_is_not_googlecom/

This spammer has been referrer spamming other browser add-ons and websites for quite some time and doesn’t seem to be stopping in the near future. The downside to this persistent spammer is that his work can ruin your Google Analytics data and make it hard to monitor your website’s appropriate information. The traffic acquired from referrer spam can affect most of the data in your GA reports. For example, the referrals will appear to land on a single webpage on your website and leave from the same website and this will create a 100% bounce rate. If your website is targeted by referrer spammers you may not be able to identify your website’s actual bounce rate unless you filter the traffic out.

Although referrer spam can ruin your analytical data it will not harm your website or affect your website’s SEO, including your rank in Google search results pages. This is simply spam that wants to get your attention.

The spammer will utilize various tactics in order to make it look like your website received referral traffic from reddit.com even though it really did not. This type of web traffic is a specific type of web traffic known as “ghost traffic.” The spammer essentially sends phantom visitors to your website’s Google Analytics account in order to make it appear as if someone visited your website from the referral URL.

Referrer spammers usually target your website’s data for several reasons:

  • Referrer spammers want to promote a website and want you to visit the webpage or search for it online through Google search engine results pages.
  • Referrer spammers want to boost their rank on Google search engine results pages by creating backlinks. They do this by logging requests into your website’s access log, which is then crawled by Google’s indexing bots and seen as a backlink to the spam site.

Create an Exclude Filter

Only use this filter if you do not wish to receive referral traffic from Reddit.com. Reddit.com is a popular website and blocking referral traffic from the website might be the optimal choice. To block the exact referral path use the Alternative Filter below.

1. Open your Google Analytics account and go to the Admin tab > Click Filters on the right side in the VIEW section.

2. Click the + ADD FILTER button to create a new exclude filter.

3. Add Reddit.com or something you can easily remember as the Filter Name.

4. Select the Custom Filter Type.

5. In Filter Field, find and select Campaign Source in the list. In the Filter Pattern text box, add Reddit.com and click the blue Save button on the bottom of the webpage. To add multiple URLs to the same filter you can make a Filter Pattern similar to this with a | between each URL: Example.com | Example\.com | Reddit.com

Alternative Filter

1. Open your Google Analytics account and go to the Admin tab > Click Filters on the right side in the VIEW section.

2. Click the + ADD FILTER button to create a new exclude filter.

3. Add Reddit.com or something you can easily remember as the Filter Name.

4. Select the Custom Filter Type.

5. In Filter Field, find and select Campaign Referral Path in the list. In the Filter Pattern text box, add /r/technology/comments/5e2kcf/heres_a_secret_%C9%A2ooglecom_is_not_googlecom/ and click the blue Save button on the bottom of the webpage.

Also See: How to exclude all hits from known bots and spiders in Google Analytics (Bot Filtering)


Sean Doyle

http://Botcrawl.com

Sean Doyle is an engineer from Los Angeles, California. Sean's primary focuses include Internet Security, Web Spam, and Online Marketing.

Comments ( 20 )

  1. ReplySoumya
    Thank you. It worked for me.
  2. ReplyJarno Oksanen
    It's happening with other paths also: /r/technology/comments/5e2kcf/heres_a_secret_%C9%A2ooglecom_is_not_googlecom/ /r/technology/comments/5foynf/lifehac%C4%B8ercom_original_idn_fake_safe_best_on_ff/ so at least one of the solutions suggested is leaking. I've run tests and removed spam referral by 88% by using another Google Analytics property than the initial number one. Until spammers are finding this out, I think it should be the new standard when setting up new Google Analytics accounts: - Make a dummy property and create a second property for actual usage For older sites having old history data you might be better of by tweaking your filters repeatedly. I'd still create another GA account and run them parallel for couple of years, and then phasing the old out, if the old data is never used. Remember, the old data isn't going to go anywhere. If you ever need to make analysis with historic data, you can combine accounts and properties manually or with third party solutions (superbrain.io is one of them). Or you can go cold turkey, too :)
    • ReplyJarno Oksanen
      Just re-checked my numbers. On a longer time period, property-2 removed 50% of the spam and property-3 71% of the spam.
  3. ReplyMartyna
    I excluded all traffic from Russia - lets hope this will solve all my probs :-)
    • ReplyBram
      Great idea. You can also just exclude traffic from a specific place: most likely "Samara Oblast"
      • ReplyPaweł
        I'm not sure it's a good idea. They are also using proxy servers :(
  4. ReplyKevin
    To add to my previous comment, when you create a new analytics property, it will show legitimate reddit traffic, the ghost traffic will disappear. Spammers are probably only interested in spamming your original -1 site. If you're creating a way to avoid their spam with a new property, you probably aren't going to give them the clicks they want, so hopefully they'll leave these new property views alone.
  5. ReplyMarie
    I have a huge spike of visits from reddit on 01.12 - 171 in total from Russia! I do use reddit to promote there some of my content hence unsure how to filter it out in GA without losing on the legitimate traffic from tehre? Any ideas? Thx
  6. Replyamit
    I got 3k spamming session. I frustrated for language spam. i use your method let's see ?
  7. ReplyWahyu
    Not work for me, on the real time overview still show reddit as referral. :(
  8. ReplyWeekend jobs
    Thanks for another help !
  9. ReplyKelly
    thanks, been getting this myself. Drives me nuts.
  10. ReplyManny
    its annoying and messing up Analytics data/reports. Can we block the specific referral page/path?
  11. Replyآموزش فارسی ویدویی
    all coming from this regen : Russia - saint petersburg or moscow
  12. ReplyCourtney
    But Reddit.com is a legitimate site, yes? If we block this, what happens if we want to receive actual traffic from Reddit.com?
    • ReplyAlex
      Yep, I had the same Q. I think we'll just leave as is for now.
      • Replyroman
        You can block Reddit.com+Russia if russian traffic is not important for you.
    • ReplyJabi
      If you don't want to lose the traffic from reddit, change at the filter field don't select Campaign Source and select Campaign Referral Path and write the URL without the domain:/r/technology/comments/5e2kcf/heres_a_secret_%C9%A2ooglecom_is_not_googlecom/. It should work just for this exact URL.
  13. ReplyMilhash
    *excluded
  14. ReplyCarl
    God! I hate spammers, thanks for the help!