How to Block Spam Referrals and Now Reddit too

Hounded by the latest spam referrer and wondering how to block spam refferals? From somewhere around 8th November, a spam referrer of what we also call ghost referrer is wreaking havoc in Google Analytics. As soon as any data analyst saw it in their GA in either Source/Medium or Referrals report, and then made further inquiry, it was easy to see that it was spam.

How to Block lifehac? Referral Spam in Google Analytics

It was even easier to block it if one knew about filters or had use of it in past as ghost referrers are not something new. In case you want to know how, you may want to visit this post of mine on How to Block Spam Referrers in Google Analytics.

Here’s how to block spam referrals in quick steps

Step 1. First of all, if you have only one view in your property (you could create up to 25 in GA), I would strongly recommend that you create a new view.

Step 2. Go to admin and click on view and click on create a new view and name it whatever you feel like, something like Filtered would be fine.

Block Lifehac? Google Analytics Spam

Step 3. Now below the view, you will see Filters, click on it and then click on Add button

Block Lifehac? Google Analytics Spam

Step 4. Name your filter whatever you feel like, something like Spam Referrer Block

Step 5. In Filter Type, click on custom, exclude will be pre-selected.

Step 6. In the filter field, select Campaign Source and in the Filter Pattern field enter lifehacker and click on Verify this Filter

Block Google Analytics referral spam from fake lifehacker site

N.B. Don’t be worried if you see the message that

[T]his filter would not have changed your data. Either the filter configuration is incorrect, or the set of sampled data is too small.

It might happen if you have created a new view in which there won’t be any historical data. If you are using existing view then you will see some number as in Before Filter Applied and After Filter Applied data for the referrer i.e.

Step 7. Save the filter.

Now you thought you are done. Good riddance!

Did you?

Think again. Whoever the spammer is; has found a new way to send spam referrals. Loads of it!

The only difference is now you see referrals as Reddit.

Now you’ll be thinking that Reddit is a respectable and huge site. Why will it spam you with ghost referrals? You would not want to block reddit using the method above.

Honestly, you shouldn’t even think about it. Reddit could get you loads of traffic, a viral post on Reddit coul see you get noticed, even talked about. It could bring a lots of valuable traffic.

So filtering out Reddit will be a really big loss of data and consequently data analysis.

So is there a way out?

Oh yes there is! Let me show you how.

Click on Reddit in your Acquisition report in either Referrals or Source/Medium. In the secondary dimension, select language and lo and behold. See?

Secret.? You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!

Have you ever heard about this language? Not I.

So how to deal with this? Don’t worry it is simple.

Here’s how to block Reddit spam referrer which is actually itself

  1. Again go to Filters
  2. Click on Add new
  3. Again select custom and in the Filter Field select Language Settings
  4. in the Filter Pattern just enter this regex


How to Block Spam Referral

And click on verify and just like that you are done. For now at least. In future who knows what the spammer comes out with to corrupt your GA data. So always keep analyzing and look for any unusual increase or decrease in traffic to your site.

Latest Update as on 17th December:

If you are now receiving referrer spam from twitter as well as most people I know are getting just add Vitaly rules google in the spam language filter as stated above as you would not want to block twitter at all which do send genuine traffic if you are doing social media promotion for your site.  So the filter will now look like:

Secret.?|Trump|Vitaly rules google

Click on verify and viola! Don’t forget to save though 🙂

Let me know what you think about this post. Did it helped? If you need any assistance do feel free to ask through comment.

Your turn now!

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