Semalt: Ghost Referral Spam

Ryan Johnson, the Semalt expert, explains that ghost referral/referrer spam is a type of spam that targets Google Analytics accounts of website owners. When website owners click on the ghost referrer URL, they are taken to another website that makes the spammer earn money from malicious traffic. Ghost URLs are injected into analytics data of the site's owner by using bots or web spiders, therefore, leaving fake URLs. Spammers tend to use a specific referring domain which sends fake email alerts and offers.

How ghost referral spam works

Ghost referral spam attacks target webmasters who use Google Analytics. They aim to trick a susceptible victim or the website owner to click their links in Google Analytics, therefore, visiting their page. These fake web visits can make networks record them as legitimate human visits. They get traffic through this method, and that's how they make money.

Google Analytics records URLs of the referring URL in the analytics data so that when you, the site owner look at your analytics data, you get a list of websites that link to your website. The spammer creates a website that might be for advertising, selling products or a redirect. Redirects work by employing a script in the index page that redirects all incoming traffic to a specific website plain HTML redirect in the sites index page.

In some cases, ghost referrer spam utilizes bots which target website owners. People whose websites have a weak robots.txt file can be subject to the attack of the ghost spam referrers. In these cases, the attackers may belong to a particular affiliate product. They drive fake traffic to their domains in hope to make some sales on your website.

How ghost referrer spam affects a person

One of the main issues of referrer spam is fake website data. In most cases, referrer spam skews your website data. For instance, if the ghost referral spam attacks your GA account may record some traffic which may or not reflect on your website dashboard. In these cases, the average session duration of your site usually is 0 seconds. The attackers can also decide to use fake URLs to direct bot traffic to your domain. The result is the poor performance of the website, both technically or even financially.

When you click links from referrer spam emails, you may be redirected to malicious URLs. In other cases, people become victims of phishing attacks in this manner. There are instances when spammers inject the malware, Trojans, and viruses in the emails. Avoid all spam emails. Moreover, always use a secure email provider like Google. Avoid image previews in your emails. Never open attachments from spam emails. They can contain malware!


Every internet user needs to stay away from referrer spam. This is the fake traffic coming from common spam domains like Darodar. These viruses may bring adverse effects like internet frauds. In other cases, people get fake web visits which end up skewing website data. This SEO guideline contains some essential tips to help you deal with referrer spam. You can also be able to prevent your visitors from being engaged in risky browsing activities.

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