Earlier this year a number of our customer’s web sites started getting hit with spam visits from a site called Semalt. Semalt is a Ukrainian based spammer who is trying to sell their software to unsuspecting SEO consultants. Regardless this traffic is significant enough, in most cases, to skew our customer’s monthly visits (sessions) to make it appear there are more legit visits than actually exist.
The permanent fix to fight this specific spammer is to block Semalt’s traffic at the web server or by using the .htaccess file for our customer’s site. However, there will be visits in analytics from previous months that were not blocked. So how do we create a report that gets rid of all the Semalt traffic? It is pretty easy. Just create an advanced filter – Exclude – Source/Medium – containing – “Semalt”. See picture below.
Once you have completed this “Apply” the filter and then save it as a “Shortcut”. The shortcut will allow you to save all the parameters of your report (except the date range) and allow you to get a more accurate view of the visits to your customer’s site.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the new filter Google Analytics announced in July that removes all known bots and spiders. This list comes from the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). The list seems comprehensive and will give you a truer look at the visits coming into your site. CLICK HERE to learn how to activate this feature in Google Analytics. Be careful if you activate this though because it is not retroactive. This might result in a large perceived drop in your visits because you are not filtering bot and spider traffic in the past.
Web site spam is always going to be a challenge when you are looking at the analytics of your site. It is very easy to draw the wrong conclusions about your site’s performance. So make sure your Internet Marketing consultant is considering the impact of web spam on your website statistics and that he/she is creating report that have the spam removed from the results.