Google Analytics does a great job differentiating between real credible visitors & spam or ghost visitors, unlike an alternative like AWStats.

The bot & ghost visitors feature in Google Analytics doesn’t catch all of them, and when it does, the analytics gets skewed with inaccurate information.

It’s caught the eye of the web analysts & Google Analytics communities on Google+ (discussion 1  – discussion 2 ).

It’s the nature of the Internet, so it’s something we have to deal with. Luckily enough, it’s possible to exclude the traffic.

Most of these, in this case, are coming from Russia, specifically Samara, along with a few from Brazil.

The common ones dealt with in this case include:


It’s easy to spot these, so is excluding them from your past & future results.

  • Is it incoming traffic labeled as a referral?
  • Is the referral an uncommon one for your site?
  • Is it coming from the same domain?
  • Is it coming from the same city?
  • Is the only landing page & page(s) visited the front page?
  • The referring site isn’t listed as an inbound link in Google Webmaster Tools?
  • Is the referring site related to your page?
  • Is the bounce rate 100%?

If you answer yes to all of these, then it’s spam, a bot or a ghost visitor. All of them aren’t real visitors visiting your site to enjoy your content, learn more about your business or purchase a product.

To get rid of the data, all past data has to be segmented out & all future data will omit the referring domain.

To segment out the past information:

Click on sessions, new segment, then under “Advanced,” select “Conditions”

Google Analytics Referral Traffic Filtering

For this example, we’ll segment out the common domains mentioned earlier.

Select “Ad Content,” type “Source / Medium” in the search bar & select “contains” in the next menu. Input the domain that’s been giving you inaccurate figures.

Be sure “Sessions” & “Exclude” are selected.

In this situation, most of the domains giving issues have been coming from Samara, in Russia. 100% of my visits from that city were coming from one of those domains. Others also mentioned it in the Google+ discussion.

My website also doesn’t cater completely to that city (something to keep in mind, in case if your website does cater & has received credible traffic a particular city).

For extra accurate filtering, Samara is filtered out (search for “City,” instead of “Source / Medium” in the search bar).

Google Analytics Referral Traffic Filtering - Before Filtering

Unfortunately, this segment will always have to be used if you want accurate data. When viewing “All Sessions” segment, all data from the domains excluded will be included.

To filter these domains in the future, I added them to the “Referral Exclusion List” in the “Admin” section of my Google Analytics account.

Select “Admin,” then under “Property,” select “Tracking Info,” “Referral Exclusion List,” then “Add Referral Exclusion.” Simply add the domain from there.

Google Analytics Referral Traffic Segmentation Filtering

Since this was implemented, I’ve seen no reccurring issues & no further outcry.

If this doesn’t work, some advanced programming will be needed. It’s worth it to get accurate information about your website.