How to block free-traffic keyword spam in Google Analytics

free-traffic keyword spam

Free-traffic is a keyword used by Softonic to promote softonic.com/solutions/. Softonic uses the keyword to get your attention and provoke you to search for the source/medium which is  ‘solutions-softonic-com / referral.’ If you search this term you will see the Softonic Solutions Q & A site at the top of search results.

Keyword spam may sound harmless, but it can actually ruin your website’s analytical data and make it difficult to determine your sites real traffic data. The traffic acquired from fake referral traffic can affect most of the data in your Google Analytics reports. For example, the fake referral traffic will show that it lands on a single page on your site and leaves from the same page which creates a 100% bounce rate. If your site is targeted by a lot of referrer spam, you may not be able to identify your website’s actual bounce rate unless you filter the traffic out.

Block free-traffic language spam with a language settings filter

Some spam may appear in your language settings as keywords, phrases, and searched terms. 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

Block referral traffic with a campaign source filter

A campaign source filter can be used to block all free-traffic referral traffic in Google Analytics.

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 free-traffic 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 free-traffic and click the blue Save button on the bottom of the web page. 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 | free-traffic

Block a referral path with a campaign referral path filter

A campaign referral path filter can be used to block single web pages if a site is targeting you from a single page.

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 free-traffic 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 a permalink from the referred URL and click the blue Save button on the bottom of the web page

Sean Doyle

Sean Doyle is a tech author and engineer with over 20 years of experience in cybersecurity, privacy, malware, Google Analytics, online marketing, and other topics. Sean's content has been featured in numerous publications.