Semalt Expert: What Is Referrer Spam & Does It Really Work?

Referral spam is the low-quality traffic that arrives on your site through suspicious sources, such as It's possible to create filters that exclude the traffic referred from these domains. When you exclude the referrers, you prevent the low-quality hits from originating in your Google Analytics statistics. Generating targeted traffic to your site should be your major concern while running an e-commerce website. Weekly or monthly analysis of the Google Analytics account is important so that you can achieve the desired results in no time.

Frank Abagnale, a top specialist from Semalt, elaborates in the article on the helpful issues in this regard.

What is referrer spam?

While reviewing your Google Analytics account, you might see some strange visits in its report and have never heard about it before. This is referrer spam that generates lots of hits every day, and the bounce rate is up to 100%. In a nutshell, the referrer is anything that redirects visitors to another site. So, things like search engine links, banner advertisements, emails and affiliate links, are referred if they redirect your traffic to strange sources.

Technically speaking, referrer spam is the property of an HTTP request sent by the browser to a specific URL, IP or affiliate link. Referrers are useful only when they are naturally created by Google, Bing and Yahoo. As the HTTP referrer is open to modifications and changes, it is a big abuse by spammers and should be gotten rid of as soon as possible. There are two main reasons why the spammers choose to send you referral traffic.

1. Increase traffic to own websites

The hackers and spammers develop automated scripts to generate hundreds to thousands of visits with false referrer URLs. In other words, we can say that they send fake traffic to different websites to create backlinks and increase the traffic of their own websites. This generates revenues for them and their sites' rank is improved in the search engine results.

2. Increase the external links

Some sites publish dozens of articles daily, and that's the target of spammers. They include backlinks and give credit to authentic sources. Hackers aim to get backlinks to their websites using those links. Plenty of backlinks are created every day, and the ranking of their sites gets improved within days.

Does referrer spam work?

No, it does not work and is employed by dodgy SEO organizations only. These companies promise to increase traffic to your website, but their promises are based on black hat SEO strategies. We cannot neglect the fact that there is no way to get rid of referrer spam. They increase traffic to a website, but the long-term results aren't ineffective. It's safe to mention that referrer spam has the potential to destroy your site's search engine performance and increases its bounce rate. The bounce rate plays a vital role in search engine ranks. When the bounce is high compared to other similar websites, you need to work on your articles' quality and your site's ranking will slowly drop no matter how amazing is your search engine optimization. Besides, you might observe an increase in the bandwidth which could increase the hosting bills for no reason.