Before you rejoice upon discovering that your site has been getting a referral traffic from Lifehacker website upon examination of your Google Analytics traffic, bear in mind that the supposed referral traffic may be from an entirely different site which like above, has a slightly altered spelling ĸ instead of k. Although not all sites with slightly altered domain names can be classified as spam bots, there are those that provide nothing but annoyance or even risk of identity theft or infecting your computer.
Generally bots are meant to index content of websites, examples of which include Googlebot and Bingbot. But there are those that scrape content, harvest email addresses, spread malware or artificially inflate website traffic, which we suspect lifehacĸer.com is at least doing.
Good bots obey directives outlined at site robots.txt but bad bots generally don’t that is why sites put gatekeeper scripts that ask human visitors to prove they are not robots by entering sums of numbers, identifying images, or simply checking “I’m not a robot” challenge scripts. Bad bots can create fake user accounts, send spam emails, harvest email addresses and can even bypass CAPTCHAs.
So while the decrease in number may put a damper in your target visitor number target, it’s good to see the real unadulterated website traffic. Besides, the traffic surge from spam referrals are likely short-term or at least before Google acts on it. Otherwise, we can create filters to stop these bots from ever appearing on our traffic reports.
Here’s how to detect and filter out suspected referral spam throwing out sorts of fake traffic into your website.
1) Check your referral list from Google Analytics through Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals. One hint you can detect from a referral spam site is that its bounce rate is close to 100%. But if you are not sure, don’t be tempted to access these sites through a browser or face risks of your machine getting infected by malware. Instead, refer to an exhaustive list of referral spam found in this file: https://perishablepress.com/blacklist/ultimate-referrer-blacklist.txt
However, if you are curious about the website and need to determine if it’s a referral spam or a legitimate site linking to your website, you can do a malware scan at https://sitecheck.sucuri.net/.
Once you have compiled a list of URLs, proceed to step 2.
2) Access your Admin tab in Google Analytics and go to All Filters under the Account where your website in question belongs.
Enter the Filter Name which you can easily describe such as “Block Spam Bots” or “Block Referral Spam”. Create a “Custom” filter and under Filter Field at “Exclude” select “Request URI”.
On Filter Patter, enter “lifehacĸer\.com” (no quotes) for lifehacĸer.com. Should you need to add another site in the filter, just add a pipe in between sites. For example “lifehacĸer\.com|website2\.com|website3\.com”
Since applying this filter is not retroactive, you may need to apply annotation on your previous trafic identified with the referral spam sites that have since been filtered out.