An Effective Guide From Semalt To Eliminating Ghost Referral Traffic In Google Analytics

Ghost referral traffic refers to traffic that does not visit a site, avoiding the Google Analytics measurement protocol tools. Also, ghost referral traffic is not spiders or bots that block a website since they never hit a web page. Often, ghost referral traffic trails referral reports or host name to entice an internet user to click spam-ridden sites or pages.

Internet experts argue that ghost referral traffic can be blocked by the use of hostname filter since they come from other pages. Including a site's hostname only prevents other hostname's information from popping up in the Google Analytics Reports.

Spammy hackers can overwrite a site's hostname as well as filters by intentionally sending bad traffic. In this case, ghost referral traffic will be indistinguishable from filters doing nothing and normal site traffic. So how can an online user eliminate or minimize ghost referral traffic?

A more efficient technique of blocking traffic outside a user's site is to use a combination of Universal Analytics with tracking filters and changes.

Find out the important steps of this procedure in the following guide defined by Frank Abagnale, the Customer Success Manager of Semalt.

1. Set a Cookie

The first basic step in eliminating ghost referral traffic is to set up site's cookies. This can either be accomplished manually or digitally by use of Google Tag Manager. Thus, anyone accessing a site illegally will get the web cookie. For instance, consider a nondescript term like "dev-status" with a value of "june2016" making expiration date into the future. Anytime a fraudster hits on a site, the owner can update the cookie with "dev-status=june2016" thus extending its lifespan.

2. Formulate a Custom Dimension

A custom dimension should be set up at the Property Level within Google Analytics. To be safe, it is recommended that users must set the dimension at the User Scope. Finally, write down the indexing number.

3. Grab the Value of Cookie

This can be implemented through the use of Google Tag Manager by creating new Macro or variable first Party Cookie.

4. Pass in the Value of Cookie

It is achieved by the use of Google Tag Manager. Users should take the Macro/Variable and place it in the Custom Dimension within Google Analytics pageview Tag.

5. Eliminate the Bad Traffic

This is the final step. In the Google Analytics page, formulate a new filter by including specific Custom Dimension to set the specified value.

Therefore, ghost referral traffic denotes traffic, not from a user's site and does not look at the site. Additionally, "Smart Ghost Referrals" mimic a site's custom dimensions and are the hardest to detect since they are smart enough to scan the website by mimicking other aspects apart from general web page hit.