We previously covered an overview of referral spam (or ghost referrals) in Google Analytics (GA), which are referrals that can muck up your webtraffic metrics, monitoring, and analysis by generating fake visitor data for your website. Spammers accomplish this by using spam bots to get your Google Analytics tracking ID (e.g. UA-) from your website’s source code. Next, the nefarious spammers send “visitor” information directly to Analytics (bypassing your website).
Since its launch in 2005 after Google’s acquisition of Urchin, Google Analytics (or GA) has cemented itself as a fantastic and (most importantly) free tool that can be used to retrieve and report upon website traffic data. As the predominant web analytics tool, GA provides webmasters with some highly useful instruments to track online campaigns and conversion rates, perform website optimization, and even generate e-commerce reporting. Unfortunately, the accuracy of all of that robust data analysis that GA provides can be easily damaged by referral spam.