My sites, like everyone’s nowadays gets allot of referral spam, usually I just ignore it, but recently I've been getting organic traffic spam where they use their website URL as the search phrase. The issue with this is that its skewing my bounce rate and thus effecting site ranking.

To get around this I've been reading up on the best ways to block referral and organic spam and most people tend to suggest setting up a filter of known spam URLs, but i recently came across THIS ARTICLE which talks about setting 'bot filtering' to true (bot filtering automatically runs refers against a IAB list of known spam and malicious bots). Ive implemented this in another Google Analytics view so i can see the difference before and after I made this change.

If it 'bot filtering' does what it says it does why isn't it turned on by default? Is there some downside to it?

1 Answer 1


The article states:

This feature will automatically filter all spiders and bots on the IAB/ABC International Spiders & Bots List from your data.

The thing is not all spam bots make it to that list in time to be detected.

At any point, the IP address of the spam bot can be changed as well as the user agent it identifies itself as, especially if the spam artist connects to the internet with a regular ISP that provides a new IP every time the computer establishes a connection. Because of this ability, there is a chance the bot can conduct spam before it is caught red-handed.

The worst case is a bot is only caught if it is reported by several people, but with the amount of technology in place today, I'm certain that algorithms are used to catch the bots, however they may not be used often enough and/or the algorithms are too slow.

So the answer then is that It's all about timing, and the IAB/ABC might list the bot seconds after it has finished its spam work.

Google wants to be nice and give the option for users to see the bot data in their analytics. There might be users that want to create websites that talk about bot traffic and may need that data in order to verify and/or explain bot traffic.

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