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As a Seattle Website Design agency,  we use WordPress and Google Analytics. 

Right to the point:

Comprehensive list of all active spam bots to block.

What’s going on and what to do:

As a digital marketer data is everything. Our primary goal is to create measurable impacts on clients. Whether that is an increase in traffic, rankings, conversions, or “the duh”… sales. Having clean data by which to form a strategy and know which levers to pull is incredibly important. That and solid research of course!

The Internet is also a bit of a Wild West. Organizations like the World Wide Web Consortium and user demand for quality help to keep things inline. On the back end of things though, spam, attempted account breaches, and other security issues are commonplace.

“Spam Bots,” are one of the largest ongoing issues for web marketers. Just as Google crawls the web in a positive way (searching for websites and relevant content for its users) there are also malicious and spammy bots that crawl the web. When using analytics tools to segment data into: total traffic, traffic sources, time traffic spends on various pages, etc… these data points are all impacted by spambots visiting your website. This occurs because many analytics tools count these bots as if they were real users. Google does the best that it can to filter these false positives out of its analytics, but they have a lot of work to do. They have actually acknowledged this recently and plan on releasing their own guide soon!

So what can you do to clean up your data?

How to clean up the data: 

To ensure you have the squeakiest of clean whistles, work with these 4 pieces:

  1. Block the spambots: use .htaccess files or plugins. 
  2. Check the box in Google Analytics to block known spambots. 
  3. Set up filters in Google Analytics so that the false positives don’t show if/when they get through.
  4. Some hosting companies offer services to also block malicious traffic. Try reaching out to see if this additional layer of protection can be utilized.


1 – Blocking using .htaccess files or plugins:

  • For WordPress you can use WP-Ban to block the spambots.
  • If you are uncomfortable editing the .htaccess file to block spam bot traffic or do not know how use WP-Ban. These .htaccess files are very powerful and a mistake could cause some major issues. We don’t recommend making changes here unless you are experienced in doing so. To edit the .htaccess file you will need to access it via your website’s FTP. 
  • As an example, the code to drop in your .htaccess will look like the below. Add additional sites where it says “add additional site here.” Just add additional lines for each additional site:
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} add additional site here [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} add additional site here [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} [NC]
RewriteRule .* – [F]

– Check the box in Google Analytics:

  • Log in and navigate to your google analytics reports.
  • On the top select “Admin”
  • In the Admin screen, there are three columns (Account, Property, View). Look at the view column and select “View Settings.”
  • Scroll down and check the box under Bot Filtering – “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.”

3 – Set up filters in Google Analytics.

  1. Steps to add filters:
    1. Login to Google Analytics and select “Admin” at the top.
    2. From the three visible columns (account, property, view)… look at “View.” Select “Filters.”
    3. Click “+New Filter”
    4. Name your Filter.
    5. For blocking of spam, select “Custom” as the filter type. Then Exclude: “Campaign Source.”
    6. Within “filter pattern”, you will place all of the spambots here. Separate them with a pipe symbol. Pipe symbol: |
    7. This is how it should look.

GA Spam Bot Filter Example

  • From Lone Goat UK is a comprehensive list of all active spam bots that is updated frequently. Use this list to know what bots to block! Scroll down in this article to see all of the spam bots listed exactly as needed to copy and paste right into Google Analytics Filters.
  • Example of the block to copy and paste into Google Analytics.
    • Filter #1||||||||||

  • There is a character limit in Google Analytics. This is why it has to be spread across multiple filters. There are currently 6 filters you will need to create per website.
  • Can you copy and paste these spam filters across multiple Google Analytics accounts? You used to be able to for free. Now there are paid plugins and tools. The free tools out there appear to have stopped working with Google Analytics a few years ago. So either zone out and just do it, or pay for the tools to copy and paste the filters across all of your accounts.

4 – Work with hosting companies to block spam sites at other levels. Use the comprehensive list Lone Goat curates to quickly communicate what needs to be blocked.

SEO can be tricky for sure!
If you need some help making sense of your Google Analytics, how to get around spambot traffic, just drop us a line. 
We’re more than an award-winning SEO Company. We also are a Digital Marketing Company and Branding Agency that offers Social Media Management for Small Business, SEO Services, and we are a certified Google Ads Agency

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