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Semalt: How To Remove Referral Spam? Easy Tips

Spam referral traffic has become an everyday encounter for most internet users. Getting rid of this kind of traffic is essential for every website owner or SEO agency operator. The Google Analytics tool has numerous ways of removing referrer spam from your GA referrals report. Spam traffic was an old concept of black hat search enginetechniques. Individuals would use this method to lie to their clients on making their websites rank fast. Moreover, it could result in false ad impressions, causing massive losses on their unsuspecting clients. Understanding referral spam is essential for everyone doing e-commerce.

Nik Chaykovskiy, the Senior Customer Success Manager of Semalt, elaborates here on some practical issues in this regard.

Understanding referral traffic

Referrer traffic is the visitors who click links to your site from other websites. When websites link to your site, there is a direct domain linkage, which can lead to a steady flow of visitors. For instance, one can click a link to your website from a domain like National Geographic’s Website. Your domain info would be on the Nat Geo’s site because you have become a Nat Geo referee.

What is referral spam

Referral spam is traffic which is coming from domains which may or not be linking to your website. Some of the tactics may involve real legitimate visits from actual people. In other instances, referrer spam tries to trick your GA tracking code into recording a page visit which is false. In both cases, your GA counts page visits which may or not necessarily be reflecting as part of your visitors. In many instances, referrer spam can occur as ghost referrals or even crawler referrals:

  • Crawler referrals: They are mainly bots. Traffic which is originating from bots if also not legit. They come to your website during legitimate traffic sessions.
  • Ghost referrals: These do not visit your website. However, they manage to trick your Google Analytics into registering a fake visit.

Removing referrer spam

Every webmaster needs essential tools to deal with traffic which is not coming from real clients. For instance, some of the tools which webmasters use to perform backlinking services can help persons remove referrer spam. For example, you can activate some of these in the admin settings tab.

In the admin tab, you can be able to activate bot filtering services. There is spam data as well as spiders which tend to crawl a website for various reasons. Creating custom bot filters can help to keep away some of these traffic sources which may not be legitimately valid. Some domains like Semalt have a known history of throwing spam attacks.

It is essential to use an email provider which is secure email providers can filter some referral traffic from websites. They can make the entire browsing session safe as well as protecting your clients from possible spam attacks.


Referrer spam is a big problem facing a majority of the internet users. Some of the black hat SEO agencies tend to employ referral spam tactics to provide their quick results. This traffic does not have a basis for its applicability. You can face some penalties when you try to rank using spam traffic. This guideline can help you avoid referral traffic.

Semalt Expert Knows How To Block Referral Spam In Google Analytics

Referral spam annoys everyone, especially a person running an e-commerce website. When looking at your Google Analytics website data, you can witness cases of referral spam coming to your site. It is difficult to estimate and evaluate the actual performance of your internet marketing efforts.

Most of the guidelines about removing referrer spam do not seem to work. In many cases, people invest funds in black hat SEO agents who end up giving the people traffic from referral spam or bots. There are methods which can help you remove referrer spam traffic from your Google Analytics.

Some of the techniques to deal with the spam are defined here by Andrew Dyhan, the Customer Success Manager of Semalt.

What is referral spam

Referral spam is the traffic which comes to your website from other domains. In most cases, any backlinking gives referral spam data to the user. Some of the domains which contain fake web visits are from bots or networks of bots. Referral spam can occur in two ways:

Ghost visits

This referral spam shows up on your Google Analytics page. Similarly, the fake web visits may show up in your analytics data but not on your website dashboard. These anonymous page visits form the ghost page visits.


Some domains may contain traffic bots. Getting web visits from bots can lead to a website getting numerous page visits from non-human sources. Botnets and web crawlers can lead to multiple adverse effects on website information.

In both cases, referrer traffic leads to false information on the progress of the marketing campaign. Furthermore, numerous ghost page visits coming from referral spam make the SEO process challenging to monitor and adjust towards your common goal.

Removing referrer spam

Persons can remove this traffic from their Google Analytics following some simple steps. One of the most effective methods of performing this task is by placing a .htaccess file in the root directory of your domain. This file directs crawlers on the appropriate way to handle your server requests. People using an Apache server can run some commands to make that adjustment. Controlling this process with care is essential. Pulling down the entire website is very easy while running codes.

Advanced spam filters can help in removing referrer spam. In a Google Analytics account, you can use this feature in the admin menu. Moreover, you can be able to add custom filters to the tool. These filters can block traffic coming from a particular domain. It is also possible to prevent traffic using IP address. A secure email service provider can help in the detection of some of the spam attacks targeting user email accounts.


Referral spam can reduce the accuracy of the information on your Google Analytics account. It is essential to remove referral spam traffic as these fake results can lead to resource wastage. Furthermore, this traffic causes people to make wrong decisions regarding the way the internet marketing campaign operates. It is essential for every company or business to deal with referral spam. Some of the ideas which you can use to eliminate referral spam are in this guideline.

Semalt: How To Spot And Block Google Analytics Referral Spam

For a small-sized business, nothing is better than signing into the Google Analytics account and seeing a lot of traffic coming in. You would get excited to know that your website is receiving various views and may not get into the evaluation of whether this traffic is genuine or not. If you don’t have strong social media presence or have not done SEO properly, then there are chances that you have become the victim of Google Analytics referral spam. Inspect carefully if you have developed the backlinks properly or not. And if you don’t have the backlinks and still getting lots of views, then your traffic is all fake and non-legitimate.

Lisa Mitchell, the Customer Success Manager of Semalt, knows how to fight referral spam and shares here some practical issues.

Google Analytics spam is more than just a spatter of disappointment when it comes to running a business for a lifetime. Bots can help you crawl your site, but you can never get any sales or income from the AdSense. Plus, you cannot get benefited from Google’s tracking services as you are suffering from analytics spam. This can create serious impacts on your perceived data, block the trends and patterns of your site, and get you cent percent bounce rate. Analytics bots can and do occur in a large quantity that is impossible to deal with for small businesses. For example, if you have received plenty of hits and views during this week, and never did any SEO, then you are a victim of this issue, and it should be gotten rid of as soon as possible.

Spotting referral spam

Some of the spam websites make it easy for you to spot them, best-seo-offer, 100dollars-seo, and similar ones. It is easy to spot them because their URLs are present on the internet. Buying SEO services from a reliable company is the only option for your survival on the internet. If you have a digital marketer, ask him to spot the referral spam and get rid of it as early as possible. The malicious websites tend to be legitimate, and you can locate them through random links and fake emails. If someone is trapping you through emails, asking you to click their provided links, then you should keep yourself away from them. Unfortunately, the Analytics spam is something different and much more complicated to spot than the referral spam. Whenever you see references from freemoneyonline or similar websites, it is better to shut their windows down and clear your cache.

Stopping referral spam

Once you have identified the referral spam, the next step is to stop them from ruing your Google Analytics reports. Filters are an easy way to stop them. You can create as many filters as possible to prevent spam visits from being recorded in the Google Analytics. Alternatively, you can get unfiltered views that allow your site to receive only legitimate traffic. Test view, on the other hand, is a copy of unfiltered views where you are free to add different filters to your analytics for testing. Last but not the least, you can opt for the master view option which tests your filters and works automatically to perform your tasks.

Monkey X Pro – 30% Discount

Monkey X ProA couple of days ago I received an e-mail by Blitz Research Ltd offering me a nice discount on Monkey X Pro, which I took advantage of. To show some love towards BRL and Monkey X Pro I thought I would share the offer here.

Monkey X Pro is a programming language for creating games which can be deployed to several targets including, but not limited to, Android, iOS, HTML5, Desktop, XNA, Ouya and more.

When you buy Monkey X Pro simply enter the coupon code MONKEYX30 for a 30% discount.

Now go buy it and support BRL!

Note: this offer is only available for a limited time and is available until 2nd June.

Convert HTML to PDF with HTML2PDF Web Service

HTML2PDF Web ServiceRecently I launched my new product HTML2PDF Web Service — a web service for converting HTML to PDF.

In this post I’d like to talk about HTML2PDF Web Service. Why to choose it, how to use it and what technologies were used to create it.

Why Choose HTML2PDF Web Service?

Programmatically generating PDF documents is a painful and time consuming problem that neither makes your developers nor designers happy. With HTML2PDF Web Service you can design your invoices or reports in HTML, style them with CSS and convert the resulting page into a PDF document. Using HTML2PDF Web Service saves your developers and designers time which is better spent making your product better.

Say your web application or mobile app (or any application for that matter) needs to generate invoices or reports in PDF format. Unless you can install special HTML to PDF conversion software you’re probably stuck with some of the libraries available for your language that can programmatically generate PDF documents. To do this you would probably design your document in something like MS Word, LibreOffice Writer or perhaps HTML. After this design has been approved you can start programming your PDF module; setting up coordinates, font sizes etc. And then all of the sudden you notice your library has limited support for doing actual document layouts and presenting tabular data that can span multiple lines. Now you need to write your own routines for splitting text over multiple lines, keep track of coordinates and make sure nothing overlaps. If like me you’ve already been there, it’s quite the nightmare.

So being able to design in HTML, style with CSS (heck, even use a bit of JavaScript) and convert the resulting page to PDF would speed up this process a lot. Am I starting to tickle your interest?

How to use HTML2PDF Web Service

Simply create your soon to be PDF documents in HTML, style them with CSS and if wanted you can use JavaScript as well. The final document is best previewed in a WebKit based browser such as Google Chrome, since that’s the technology HTML2PDF Web Service uses in the background to render the HTML and convert it to PDF.

Here are some examples on how to call the web service. Converting HTML to PDF is easy with the HTML2PDF Web Service. You can pass an URL to the page you want to convert or either send the HTML code with the request.


$ curl -H "X-API-Key: F8802062-4D31-11E3-8F59-BFD4058B6BFF"
       -H "X-API-Username: MyUsername"
       -d '{"content":"<html><head><title>My page</title></head><body><h1>Hello World!</h1><p>I am an HTML page converted to PDF!</p></body></html>"}'
       https://html2pdfwebservice.com/api/convert > page.pdf


#!/usr/bin/env perl
use strict;
use warnings;
use Mojo::UserAgent;

my $ua = Mojo::UserAgent->new;
my $tx = $ua->post(
    'https://html2pdfwebservice.com/api/convert' => {
        'X-API-Username' => 'MyUsername',
        'X-API-Key'      => 'F8802062-4D31-11E3-8F59-BFD4058B6BFF'
    } => json => {url => 'http://domain.com/invoice.html'}
if (my $res = $tx->success) {
    my $pdf_data = $res->body;


require 'net/https'
require 'uri'

uri           = URI.parse('https://html2pdfwebservice.com/api/convert')
https         = Net::HTTP.new(uri.host, uri.port)
https.use_ssl = true
# In case the SSL certificate isn't accepted
https.verify_mode = OpenSSL::SSL::VERIFY_NONE

req = Net::HTTP::Post.new(uri.path)
req['X-API-Username'] = 'MyUsername'
req['X-API-Key']      = 'F8802062-4D31-11E3-8F59-BFD4058B6BFF'
req.body              = '{"url": "http://domain.com/invoice.html"}'

res = https.request(req)
if res.code == '200'
    pdf_data = res.body
    # - or write to file -
    # File.open('invoice.pdf', 'w') { |file| file.write(res.body) }


$settings = array(
    'url' => 'http://domain.com/invoice.html',

$curl = curl_init();
curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_POST, 1);
curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, json_encode($settings));
curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER, array(
    'X-API-Username: MyUsername',
    'X-API-Key: F8802062-4D31-11E3-8F59-BFD4058B6BFF'

curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_URL, 'https://html2pdfwebservice.com/api/convert');
curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
// Helps to debug in case of issues
// curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_VERBOSE, 1);

// In case the SSL certificate isn't accepted because of outdated certificates
// on your server
curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER, false);

$res = curl_exec($curl);
// Save PDF to disk
file_put_contents('document.pdf', $res);

Technologies used to develop HTML2PDF Web Service

The most interesting part in developing HTML2PDF Web Service was choosing which technology to use for converting HTML to PDF. After doing research on the subject and testing several solutions I eventually went with a WebKit based solution. By using WebKit it’s easier for the end user to preview their document using a WebKit based browser.

The HTML to PDF conversion server was developed using Go. Go is a fun language to program with, does concurrency in a really nice way and can produce a native executable for Linux, OS X, Windows and some other platforms. Thanks to Go the conversion server is fast, snappy and low on memory and CPU usage. Being able to create a binary executable allows me to sell the conversion server as a standalone product as well.

To get access to the web service there’s also a web application which is written in Perl. My favorite web framework of choice has become Mojolicious for quite some time now and thus HTML2PDF Web Service has been written with it. DBIx::Class has been used for database interaction and Validation::Class is used to validate all user inputted data.

Used databases are PostgreSQL and Redis. The former is used to store user accounts, subscriptions and more. The latter is used to keep track of token usage per user.

Sign up now for a free trial

If after reading all this and you’re still reading, please do sign up for a free trial. The trial gives full access to all the features of the web service so if you like it, please consider buying a subscription.

In case of any questions, please do contact me either through the comments on this page or send an e-mail to support at support@html2pdfwebservice.com.