How to Block Thenextweb.com Referral Spam in Google Analytics

1 Method: Create an Exclude Filter

Thenextweb.com Referral Spam

You might have noticed unusual referral traffic stemming from a webpage on thenextweb.com in your Google Analytics data. TNW recently (and foolishly) published an article about a specific referrer spammer associated with secret.google.com. This caused the referrer spammer to begin spamming a specific webpage on the thenextweb.com website to Google Analytics accounts across the globe. Of course, this could all be stopped if TNW removes the article promoting the spammer; However, that seems unlikely considering the amount of visitors this brings TNW. Hopefully, this type of practice will not catch on with other high volume websites.

thenextweb.com referral

The spammer is a Russian spammer who has been in the referrer spam game for a long time. The spammer will utilize various tactics in order to make it look like your website received referral traffic from thenextweb.com even though it did not. The referral traffic that appears in your Google Analytics reports did not actually land on your website. It’s a specific type of web traffic that is known as “ghost traffic.” This type of web traffic sends phantom visitors to your website’s data in order to make it appear as if someone visited your website from the referral URL.

thenextweb.com spam

It is usually not recommended to trust websites and services associated with known spammers who engage in referrer spam; However, TNW is a legitimate website, although I am not a reader. Referrer spam is normally a blackhat SEO tactic that disregards your website’s data in order to promote spam content. Someone who engages in referrer spam does not care about ruining your website’s analytical data. They would rather promote their website despite the repercussions and acquire you as a customer by any means necessary. Referrer spam is not a tactic used by legitimate and trustworthy companies and websites.

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.

Thenextweb.com Google Analytics referrer spam can actually ruin your website’s analytical data measured by Google Analytics. It can affect most of the data in your reports with fake web traffic and data. For example, the referrals will appear to land on a single webpage on your website and leave from the same website, which will create a 100% bounce rate. If your website is targeted by referrer spammers you may not be able to identify your website’s bounce rate. The same can be said about other data measured in most Google Analytics reports.

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.

Some might say that blocking a legitimate website is a “bad practice.” But, if you care about your analytical data you will want to block as much spam as you can.

Create an Exclude 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 Thenextweb.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 Thenextweb.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 | Thenextweb.com

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.