You probably have noticed a sudden increase in your website traffic with sites like 4webmasters.org, get-free-traffic-now.com, hongfanji.com, event-tracking.com and more appearing in your Google analytics or other monitoring tools.
But it’s actually too early to be happy. These are not any really sites that drive traffic to your website and help you increase your conversions and ROI. These are actually referrer spam that sends fake traffic to your website and leads you to malicious websites.
Referrer spam is becoming a huge problem for webmasters. It not only skews your user stats and monitoring information but also ruins your website’s rankings in the search engines.
What is a referrer spam?
Referrer spam is basically bots hitting your website in order to build backlinks. These bots then appear in your stats giving you an illusion that you are generating traffic. However, they are just fake links and only appear in your stats without ever visiting your website. Since these spams affect millions of sites and many webmasters explore the links when they see these sites in their referral stats.
Why is referrer spam a problem?
Maintaining a website is no laughing matter. Ever-growing competition, changing trends and the latest Google updates make running a website a challenging task. And the effects of referrer spam is in your stats add more difficulty to the job.
There are many who say referrer spam is harmless unless you actually open the link to check. Assuming you are not clicking on the links, there is still various problems associated with it. If your website hasn’t grown on a larger scale yet, it can merely affect your website analysis. However, if you are running a website with high rankings and millions of monthly visitors, referrer spam is actually a bigger problem for your business. It plays a crucial role in ruining your website traffic as well as rankings you have attained over so many years in a matter of few minutes.
Therefore, it becomes quite necessary to block this spam as soon as you get to know about it.
Blocking referrer spam in WordPress websites
WordPress has become a popular platform today to build websites and this is why WordPress websites are so vulnerable to threats and spamming. More than half of the WP sites are attacked every minute of the day by hackers and spammers.
Although you can protect your website by taking into consideration few important things such as regular backups, strong admin’s username and password, installing a security plugin and so much more.
Well, as a matter of fact, WordPress comes with a wide variety of plugins to help you extend the functionality and performance of your website. And referrer spam is no different.
There are various plugins available online that can be used to block it from your website provided you know which one to use. These plugins employ web services that are vigorously tracking referral spam sites and allow you to use the list to block them.
We personally use SpamReferrerBlock plugin that uses a blacklist to filter out your incoming traffic and block spam. Best of all, this plugin is an open source and thus available for free of cost.
How to install SpamReferrerBlock plugin?
You can either download it from the official website “wordpress.org” and upload it to the website or you can do it automatically on your website.
If you are using “install plugin” option in your WordPress website dashboard, follow these steps.
Open your website dashboard. Click plugins → install plugin. Now search SpamReferrerBlock in the search box on the right upper corner of the website.
Once you have found the plugin, hit install now and activate. Once activated, you need to configure this plugin to use it.
Click settings → Spam Referrer Block to configure the plugin. Clicking on the plugin’s settings page, there would be a text area under custom blacklist option where you can create your custom blocking list.
The plugin also allows you to monitor the already added list. You can easily download or upload the latest version of these blocked sites in the plugin’s settings page itself to stay up-to-date.
SpamReferrerBlock is a great plugin for those who don’t know how to monitor and block spam on their Google analytics account.