Understanding Spam in Google Analytics – Part 2

Ashley Nevis

Ashley is our Communications Specialist. She covers topics related to email marketing, SEO, and digital marketing.

FCS.2017.google Spam 02 06 17

We wrote a few weeks ago about the different types of spam that show up in Google Analytics. Today, it’s time to learn how to filter it out.

There are ways to filter out future occurrences of spam from particular sites, but doing so will not remove it from your historical data. In order to filter spam out of your historical data, you need to set up a new segment. Follow these step-by-step instructions to set up the segment, which includes a list of spam sites that we’ve discovered to date.

How to Set Up a Referral / Language Spam Segment

1. Log in to your Google Analytics account, in the Reports view.

2. Click the All Users box in the top left corner of the page, then click the red +New Segment button.

3. At the bottom of the New Segment window, under the Advanced heading, click on Conditions.

4. Here’s where you’ll set up the filter. In the first condition box, change the selections next to Filter to say Sessions / Exclude. Underneath that, select Medium for the first dropdown and exactly matches for the second one. In the text box, type referral.

5. In that first condition box, click AND, which will bring up a second box. Here, select Source for the first dropdown and matches regex for the second one. In the text box, you will enter the spam URLs, exactly as they appear in the referral section of your Analytics. Use the pipe symbol ( | ), without spaces, to separate the URLs. We’ve compiled a list of known referral spam over the last several years. If you’d like to set up this segment to filter out all of the spam we’ve come across, click the green text below and copy all of the box contents. You’ll paste that in the text box under Conditions, as seen in the image below.


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6. Within this same segment, you can also set up the language spam filter. To do this, click +Add Filter. Change the selections next to Filter to say Sessions / Exclude. To date, we’ve come across five main language spam instances, which were most prominent in November around the election. To filter it out you’ll need to set up a separate line for each spam/language. Select Language for the first dropdown and exactly matches for the second one. In the text box, paste in the Language exactly as it appears in your Analytics. Click the green text below to view known language spam and copy and paste it in the text box. Select OR to set up the remaining filters, pasting the rest of the language spam below into each box.


  1. Secret.ɢoogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!
  2. Vitaly rules google ☆*:。゜゚・*ヽ(^ᴗ^)ノ*・゜゚。:*☆ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯(ಠ益ಠ)(ಥ‿ಥ)(ʘ‿ʘ)ლ(ಠ_ಠლ)( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)ヽ(゚Д゚)ノʕ•̫͡•ʔᶘ ᵒᴥᵒᶅ(=^ ^=)oO
  3. o-o-8-o-o.com search shell is much better than google!
  4. Google officially recommends o-o-8-o-o.com search shell!
  5. Congratulations to Trump and all americans

7. Name the segment something like, “Exclude Referral Spam” and hit the blue Save button.

8. Now, you will see your new segment as an option to view. Select the check box next to your segment and click the blue Apply button to view your report with the referral and language spam filtered out. If you’d like to see a comparison between your data with spam included versus spam that has been filtered out, you can select the check box on the All Users (default) segment as well.

9. This shows the comparison mentioned above and the drastic difference in data illustrates why it’s so important to filter spam out of your reports.

10. As you come across new spam in your reports, you can edit your segment to filter it out by clicking the Actions dropdown next to your segment. Remember to separate the URLs with the pipe symbol. 

Most of the time, new spam is easy to spot in your referral traffic. However, if you’re unsure whether a site is spam or legitimate, and you don’t want to filter it out without being sure, we’ve found Ohow to be an extremely beneficial resource. They keep a historical spam list and a frequently updated list of new spam that is a good reference for checking sites about which you’re unsure.

We hope this helps you with more accurate reporting! If you have any questions about Google Analytics, SEO or marketing in general, give us a call to see how we can help.

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