stop referer spam

types of referrer spam

what types of referrer spam exist?

It is a sad state of affairs when there are several different types of referrer spam, but that is unfortunately the type of world we live in today. There are individuals and groups out there that have nothing better to do with their time, than to be become irritants or try to use illegal means to do nothing other than to make money.

In this post I will provide an explanation and advice on how to identify the different types of referrer spam that could be affecting your blog or website search engine performance or traffic statistics.

Phantom referer

If you go through your Google Analytics report and you find that your site is attracting a lot of visits from sites like;


list of referrer spammers

Your site is more than likely being spammed by a not so clever script. This script basically , spoof visits to your site by not actually visit your website at all.

An automated bot may have at some point visited your site and actually harvested your Google Analytics ID.  Once they have retrieved this they actually send fake visits using Google Analytics ID.

Learn how to start blocking referrer spam

Bots and Spiders

The internet is invested with a number of bots and spiders, some are good and some are evil.  I have simply called them legitimate and illegitimate bots

Legitimate Bots and Spiders

Legitmate bots and spiders are the good guys, typically these will be Search Engines;

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Duck Duck Go
  • Baidu
  • Alexa

Typically they crawl the web collecting information about websites and indexing them.   It is a good idea to let these bots crawl your site, and most legitimate bots adhere to standards and principles defined by the web community. Some standards have been put in place to enable these bots to identify themselves to analytics applications so they can easily be filtered from the traffic reports .

Illegitimate Bots and spiders

illegitimate bots are usually developed by some organisations for nefarious  reasons. These bad boys don’t identify themselves and follow the rules like their good cousins.  They trawl the web collecting information about sites for some dubious reasons.

In a number of cases these scripts are developed by some so called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) companies,  who claim they are just collecting information to improve their SEO services etc. One such notorious organisation is Semalt who claim to be an SEO agency. However, after some investigation on my part, they have some very dubious links.  Whatever you do, Do not use their website and ask them to exclude your site from their crawler.  It just leads to even more spam!

If you notice a large number of visits to your site from a specific URL, especially one with a name you don’t recognise or totally unfamiliar with.

Do not visit the URL

The best thing to do is conduct a web search for the URL using your favourite search engine,  don’t click on the any of the links of the sites and try determine from the meta descriptions presented, the true nature of the site in question.

If these sites are not used for any evil nature, they are typically used by some shady back alley SEO consultancy to instantly redirect you to a legitimate company website, which they have been contracted by to increase site traffic

Gary Woodfine

Freelance Full Stack Developer at
Helps businesses by improving their technical proficiencies and eliminating waste from the software development pipelines.

A unique background as business owner, marketing, software development and business development ensures that he can offer the optimum business consultancy services across a wide spectrum of business challenges.