Google Analytics Basics: Blocking Referral Spam from your Analytics Reports

Have you ever taken a look at your Google Analytics acquisition report and saw over 1,000 referral hits from sources like,,,, etc.? You are not alone. For most medium to small businesses 1,000 referral spam hits in a 30 day period will completely throw off your analytics reports, so we’re going to walk through how to block those from your reports.

Turn on bot filtering

Google has added a feature in the view settings that allows you to turn on bot filtering which will exclude all of the hits your website gets from ‘known’ spam bots and spiders from your reports. To turn this on you will have to login to your Google Analytics account, select the website and view you want to activate this on (if you have multiple), and then click Admin in the top menu. Once you have done that, click View Settings under the view column.   referralspam In the View Settings dashboard you will have to scroll down a little and you will see Bot Filtering. All you have to do is check that box and then click Save.

Add the rest in a filter

Notice how we said in step one “exclude all of the hits your website gets from known spam bots and spiders.” This is how we will block the rest of the domains that are not on the ‘known’ list. Note: you will have to let some time pass after you turn on bot filtering so that you can see what is not being blocked before doing this.   referralspam First, you will want to check what is still getting through by going to your referral traffic report in Acquisition > Referrals and making note of the ‘salesy’ domains on there with very high bounce rates and very low pages/session.   referralspam Next, go back to the admin tab and create a new filter. You can name it whatever you’d like, we named ours Referral Spam Filter. Make sure it is set up as a Custom filter and it is set to Exclude the referral field. For the Filter Pattern we are going to enter the domains that we took note of above…


Finally, hit the Save button and the filter will be set up. Make sure to check the referral report periodically and add any domains to this filter that you see coming through.

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