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How To Remove Language Spam From Google Analytics

Did you notice any suspicious and spammy-looking activity in your Google Analytics dashboard recently? Just when you thought you had got to grips with referral spam along comes another type of spam to skew your GA data…. and it’s called Language Spam.

Go ahead and check the language section (under the “Audience > Geo > Language”) of Google Analytics to see if you have been the subject of a spam attack with the messages similar to these:

  • “Secret.ɢoogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!”.
  • Congratulations to Trump and all americans
  • Vitaly rules google ☆*:。゜゚・*ヽ(^ᴗ^)ノ*・゜゚。:*☆ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯(ಠ益ಠ)(ಥ‿ಥ)(ʘ‿ʘ)ლ(ಠ_ಠლ)( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)ヽ(゚Д゚)ノʕ•̫͡•ʔᶘ ᵒᴥᵒᶅ(=^ ^=)oO
  • o-o-8-o-o.com search shell is much better than google!
  • Google officially recommends o-o-8-o-o.com search shell!

You might also have seen evidence of language spam in your reports so it’s important to block the attacks so that it does not skew your analytics data.

The initial signs of language spam were evident around the time of the US elections and was highlighted by Search Engine Roundtable on 9th November….

What is Language Spam?

 

Language spam is used by a spammer for a specific reason, whether that be to promote a website or push their products. The spammers use covert tactics and have been able to evade some Webmasters by sending traffic via authoritative sites including lifehacker.com, the nextweb.com and reddit.com etc.

I should point out that the websites mentioned are not complicit in this new type of spamming activity and are as much victims as the sites that the spammers intend to target.

Language spam tends to typically register pageviews on the homepage of your website but there is no discernible pattern in how the spammers are deploying and engaging in their activity.

What we know for sure is that once one ‘strain’ of spam is identified, then another emerges to blight GA data and add further complication to our working day.

We also know that this type of spam arrives at your site via:

bots that are programmed to visit a site and look like legitimate referrals and through
bots that are programmed to hit Google’s GA servers.

And there’s no way to stop the spam completely but it is possible to filter it out of Google Analytics.

How to block language spam?

 

Step One: Select the ‘Admin Tab’ within Google Analytics

Step Two: Select ‘Filter’ within the left hand column

Step Three: Give your filter a name that accurately describes the filter ie “Language Spam”

Step Four: Under the ‘Filter Type’ field, select ‘Custom’ and make sure the “Exclude” radio button is selected

Step Five: Under the ‘Filter Field’ click on the drop down box and scroll down to select ‘Language Settings’

Step Six: Copy this expression \s[^\s]*\s|.{15,}|\.|, as is and paste into the field beneath the ‘Filter Pattern’ section

Step Seven: Hit ‘verify’ this filter, if you see the message ‘This filter would not have changed your data ….’ (highlighted in red below) it means the filter returned no results. But the filter will work if you have followed the instructions properly.

Once the filter has been verified you will see a table similar to the image shown below. You should only see language spam under the ‘Language’ column.


Source: Ohow.com

Step Eight: Save your filter

It’s important to note that this filter will not work retroactively so previous spam data will not be removed.

You will need to set up an advanced segment in order to filter spam from historical data. Setting up filters to negate persistent spam activity is particularly annoying because it can be quite time consuming and is a distraction from your day-to-day work. So another solution is to use a third party anti spam filter such as Analytics Toolkit.

But whether you choose software, or apply filters manually you will need to keep up-to-date with the evolution of spam activity and monitor your Google analytics account for attacks that might circumvent filters.

 

What Next?

 

The solutions mentioned above provide effective remedies to spammers but do not guarantee the integrity of your data because hackers are regularly coming up with new ways to spread their spam. This guide from ohow.co will help you to ‘prevent’ most spam without having to update filters. If you don’t have time to implement the filters, hit the ‘Talk To Us’ Button below and we would be happy help.

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Posted by on 13. Jan 2017

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