Be in the Know

Stop Bots From Interfering With Your Analytics Data

Posted by Steven Ozbun on Aug 18, 2016 5:48:55 PM


As internet traffic continues to rise, website administrators are forced to deal with a particularly annoying nuisance: Bot traffic. Although not all bots exist to send referral spam traffic to various websites, many disrupt the data collected by Google Analytics.

What is Bot Traffic?

Bot (short for robot) traffic is a segment of online web traffic that is generated by bots, spiders, and various computer programs. From search bots, like Googlebot or Bingbot, to bots that count and index links like Majestic’s MJ12 bot, there are a number of crawlers that are good for your site and also for the Internet as a whole. Googlebot and Bingbot are essential to developing the indices search engines rely on when they retrieve results for a query. Majestic provides website administrators with a comprehensive analysis of different links pointing to their domain.

However, there are other bots that leave spam comments on blogs, automate account sign ups, and harvest emails. This particular kind of bot traffic can be irritating for marketers trying to effectively analyze traffic trends and performance.

Why is My Site Receiving Bot Traffic?

The majority of websites receive some sort of bot traffic, and bot traffic continues to rise. Search engines often send bots to crawl your site looking for new content to index. However, the spambots that come to your site are the problem. For newer website administrators, bot traffic may not yet be a problem. But, as your site grows, bot traffic can cause unusual spikes and other discrepancies in your analytics data.

Popular referral spam domains like or will crawl hundreds of thousands of websites each day and register in your analytics under numerous fake referral headers to avoid being detected as spam. The creators of these bots are relying on you (the webmaster who sees these spam referrals in their website analytics every day) to visit their own websites and attempt to sell you on their product; i.e. the opportunity to spam other sites with fake bot traffic.

To avoid the headache of digging into a year’s worth of your website analytics to try and decipher fake traffic from real traffic, it’s best to filter out bot traffic as early on as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to differentiate between the two.

How to Eliminate Bot Traffic from my Analytics Reporting

Eliminating bot traffic from your Google Analytics reporting can be done in a few easy steps. In 2014, Google introduced bot and spider filtering to make this process easier for website administrators.

Once logged into your Google Analytics account, go to the admin panel and select “View Settings.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 2.14.34 PM

Scroll down to “Bot Filtering” and check the box to exclude hits from bots and spiders.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 5.36.00 PM

Hit “save” and bots and spiders will now be excluded from your analytics reporting.

By selecting this option, you’re removing all hits that come from bots and spiders on the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) known bots and spiders list.

Spam bots seem to continually evolve alongside the Internet, shapeshifting into new annoyances forcing the savvy digital marketer to respond. However, there are plenty of ways to ensure fraudulent data doesn’t ruin the measurement of your visitors or your marketing efforts.

For more information on how to get the most out of your digital marketing, contact us today!

Topics: Search Engine Optimization