How to Block Twitter.com Referral Spam in Google Analytics

3 Methods: Campaign Soure Filter  |  Campaign Referral Path Filter | Language Settings Filter

A Russian spammer is using Twitter.com referral traffic to promote his Twitter page and spam “Vitaly rules google” in Google Analytics.

A Russian referrer spammer named Vitaly Poplov is back at it again. His new target is Twitter.com. Vitaly is a Russian spammer who has been spamming his personal search engine and projects for quite a while. He recently started to spam webpages of legitimate websites across Google Analytics accounts and Twitter.com is one of them. If your Google Analytics data is randomly targeted by the spammer you will notice an unusual amount of referral traffic coming from twitter.com and a page title called “Vitaly rules google.” Previous domain names that this spammer has spammed include motherboard.vice.comlifehacĸer.comreddit.comabc.xyz, thenextweb.com, and addons.mozilla.org.

twitter.com referral spam

If  you visit the referral path in your browser you will be taken to Vitaly’s Twiter page here: https://twitter.com/3mapsVitaly. The reason why Vitaly is spamming your Google Analytics data with Twitter.com referral traffic is to promote his Twitter page. He also enjoys the attention he gets by other websites by sending hidden messages.

Vitaly rules google

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 twitter.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.

Campgian Source Filter

Only use this filter if you do not wish to receive referral traffic from Twitter.com. Twitter.com is one of the most popular websites in the world and blocking referral traffic from the website might be the optimal choice. I do not recommend that you block all traffic from this website. To block the exact referral path use the 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 Twitter.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 Twitter.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 | Twitter.com

Campaign Referral Path Filter

Create a campaign referral path filter to block Vitaly’s Twitter page only and no other pages on Twitter.com.

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 Twitter.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 3mapsVitaly and click the blue Save button on the bottom of the webpage

Language Settings Filter

A language settings filter can be used to block language spam in Google Analytics.

1. Log in to your Google Analytics account and go to the Admin tab

2. In the “View” column select Filters and then click + Add Filter

3. Add a Filter Name: Language Spam (or something you can easily remember)

4. Go to: Filter Type > Custom > Exclude

5. Select Filter FieldLanguage settings

6. Add a Filter Pattern\s[^s]*\s|.{15,}|\.|,

7. Click on the blue text that says Verify this filter to see a preview table of how this filter will work in your account. You should only see language spam on the left side of the table: filter-verification-language-spam

8. After you verify the filter click the Save button on the bottom of the page

  • Hi Sean, thanks for the article! It’s been really helpful 🙂

  • Suro

    Today morning noticed about this. Now a days, analytics data is nothing but full of crap. trying to ditch GA.

  • Russell

    Thanks Sean, we’ve seen some of this too and this explains it well.

  • Thanks to you brother. You helped me a lot.

  • Very helpful again, and fast. The problem occured yesterday and a proper solution that doesn’t filter out all twitter traffic showed up first at your site. Thanks.

  • Hi Sean,
    Thanks for the article.

    Filter Name : remove_twitter_referral_spam
    Filter Type: Predefined
    Exclude: Filter Field -> “Campaign Source”
    Filter Pattern: twitter.com/3mapsVitaly

    Question: Is this the correct URL for the filter pattern?
    twitter.com/3mapsVitaly