You start noticing an increase in referral traffic in your search engine’s analytic account and Hooray! You are happy because someone is linking and clicking. But on closer examination, you realize it is not legitimate traffic. Actually, you are the latest victim of referrer spam, a type of spamming aimed at search engines.
If you have been hit by these spamming bots, you need to block them as soon as possible. Alexander Peresunko, the Customer Success manager of Semalt, explains how to get real data from analytics.
You need to keep in mind that no one asked these bots to visit your site. And while they are on your site, they are hoarding vast amounts of resources meant for legitimate users. As a result, legitimate visitors get frustrated when trying to access your site and go looking elsewhere. In addition, spammers are never up to anything good whenever they come calling.
To unmask referrer spam networks, you need to identify the person behind them. A common way is to use WHOIS.net. The list of common spammers include:
- Ilovevitaly.com (and various TLD variations)
- Darodar.com and other related subdomains
By now, you are probably wondering why spammers put so much effort to crawling the web. Different spammers engage in these shadowy activities for various reasons.
Here are some of the top spammers and the reasons why they do it.
This is one of the worst spammers of all time. The bot uses referrer spam for generating leads. What does the site offer? Web spam. Essentially, there are webmasters who pay the site to perform web spam to generate leads. Ben Sykes is the person behind the spamming domain. And he is bold enough to display his WHOIS data publicly.
- Econom, darodar.com, and ilovevitaly.com
These sites have one purpose in mind: to direct traffic to specific shopping sites such as eBay or AliExpress.com.
Stopping spamming bots menace
The ideal method of keeping out bots is by blocking them through the .htaccess file in your domain’s root directory. To do this, you have to copy and paste a specific code into the .htaccess file. This technique not only stops the spammers from interfering with your analytics tool, but it also flags the bots every time they try hitting your server.
Before making changes to the .htaccess file in your directory, it is important to note that this is a file that determines how your server functions. If you make a mistake while uploading the file, it will interfere with the functioning of the entire site. To prevent this from happening, consider backing up your site before making any changes to the file.
Using the above method does not get rid of all the spammers. While it protects you from future spamming attempts, it does not undo the damage already done to the site. To get rid of historical information and assist in filtering out spam bot from specific regions in the future, consider setting up analytics filters.
Using WordPress to keep out spammers
You can also opt to use WordPress’s Wp-Ban plugin to keep out illegitimate users. The plugin enables you to blacklist IP, IP range, user agent, referrer URL and user agent from accessing your WordPress blogs. Using this approach is a handy alternative for web admins who are not comfortable with editing their domain’s .htaccess file.
Spam bots affect server load as well as security, distort analytics data by suffocating legitimate users and frustrating marketing efforts. On a big site, 500 hits months may not change much. But if this happens on the site of a local retailer, analyzing legitimate traffic becomes an uphill task. That is why outsourcing analytics to an experienced specialist is an effective method of avoiding confusing data and leveraging company’s efforts.