Ways To Protect Against Referrer Spam


December 8, 2015

Referrer spam can be defined as a practice of directing fake traffic to a website or product page. Also known as referrer bombing or log spam, the technique mainly involves flooding a website with traffic from different countries, IP addresses and devices but through the same referrer. The purpose of the spammer is to compel the website administrator to notice the traffic in the analytics report, visit the website and buy their product or service.

A referrer is a third party source, such as an email, forum or search engine, through which a visitor navigates to your website. This information is generally tracked by your analytics platform to give relevant information about the source of your website’s traffic. When spammers replace this data with a fake website URL that they want to promote, these links are indexed by search engines while crawling the access logs, thus improving the websites’ rankings.

Types Of Referrer Spam

  • Ghost Referrer Spam: In this, the spammers are able to directly submit data into your analytics account, by-passing your website in the process. This means that the fake HTTP requests will be sent to the Analytics servers, without the traffic even visiting your website.
  • Crawler Referrer Spam: This type of spam involves using a bot to actually crawl through your website with a fake referrer URL or link. However, web crawlers are not as common as ghost referrer spams.

How To Stop Referrer Spam?

  • The most viable solution to stop spam bots from visiting your website is by blocking them in your .htaccess file. This will completely stop the referrer links from hitting your website.
  • Implement a genuine hostname filter to protect against ghost traffic.
  • Turn on Google’s bot and spider filter option.
  • Use spam crawler filters to remove targeted spam visits.
  • Password-protect the site logs to prevent search engine spiders form accessing them.
  • Include a rel=”nofollow” attribute in the spam URLs. This will prevent the search engine bots from following and indexing the fake website.
  • The pages that display your website’s traffic statistics should be put into the robots.txt file to exclude them from being crawled by search engine.

We, at Centex Technologies, provide complete cyber security solutions to the business firms in Central Texas. For more information, feel free to call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

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