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How To Stop Referral Spam To Your WordPress Site

July 9, 2015 by Drew Poland

Referral Spam Blocker Wordpress Plugin

We’ve noticed an increase in traffic from referral spam sites like 4webmasters (dot) org and trafficmonetize (dot) org. These websites send traffic we don’t want to client sites and make a mess of our Google Analytics data.

So we built a plugin to fix the problem.

Referer Spam Blocker is designed to block known spam referring domains at the WordPress level. The plugin serves the offending referring URL an HTTP 403 Forbidden page. You can customize your own list of domains using the settings page.

Download the FREE Referer Spam Blocker Plugin

What is referral spam?

Referral spam is essentially bots hitting urls on your site trying to build backlinks from referral stats. A bot will hit your site, causing your log to record the entry. If you display those refer’s a search engine might pick that up as a backlink. It’s mostly harmless but can skew analytics data and could eat up bandwidth, resources, or lead to bigger issues.

That’s a really basic explanation but if you’re interested you can read more at Wikipedia.

Ways to Deal with Referral Spam

Here are three ways you can deal with referral spam:

1. Use htaccess rules

This is for the more tech savvy or something to pass to your developer. Products Feed wrote a great blog post about spam referrals that has htaccess rules you may want to use as a base or as-is!

2. Install the Referer Spam Blocker plugin we developed!

All major referrer spam domains are blocked out of the box. But you can also customize the domain keyword lists to block any domains you’d like.

3. Filtering in Analytics

This doesn’t actually block the bots from reaching your site but can sort the unwanted traffic data out of your Google Analytics. So you may want to do this just to get a more accurate picture of your site’s traffic.

You can read more about that Google’s Analytics Help site.

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