Excluding bogus referrals from Google Analytics

Stop spam sites from artificially inflating your visitor numbers in Google Analytics

22nd May 2016

I’ve noticed a new trend in spam, which I call bogus referrals. So far I’ve seen three sites that are hitting websites in order – I suspect – for you to notice the traffic source and be curious about them. They’re not, however, legitimate traffic as they’re just bots, so all they succeed in doing is messing up your analytics data. Here’s how to get rid of them.


Select the Admin tab and find your property and view (the site you’re tracking in Google Analytics). Out of the three columns, the right-most one contains a link named Filters. Click that.

Click Add Filter and give your new filter a name (like “Exclude bogus referrals”).

Set the Filter Type to “Custom”, then for the Filter Field option select “Campaign Source”.

For the Filter Pattern you need to use a regular expression. Put simply, if you want to exclude domain names, put a backslash before each dot, and separate the domain names with a beam (|) character. My list looks like this:


The . (full-stop) character in regular expressions has a specific meaning, so we put a backslash before it to tell Google that we mean the literal “.” character. To add more domains to the list, just type | and then the domain name (remembering to add a backslash before the dot).

Click Verify this filter to see that what you’ve typed will actually exclude the sites that you want, then click the Save button. It takes 24 hours, but once done, you should no longer see those sites in your referral list (and I guess it’ll mean your page views will go down as a result).

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