Jeremy Rivera SEO


Finally A Tool To Fight Google Analytics Spam

Fighting Referral Spam in Google Analytics

[Jeremy Says: I’ve been struggling with GA referral spam for a few months and was hitting a creative wall. Fortunately others ran into the problem too and found a solution. I invited Jeff Siebach to tell you more about the problem and what he & his company came up with as a solution. Enjoy!]

Jeff Siebach says:

Over the last 6 months, you probably noticed a big increase in your reported referral traffic in Google Analytics. “Yes! I’m finally getting some visitors to my website!” you exclaimed happily.

Then you clicked to see where the traffic came from and your emotions changed from excitement to confusion. All of the traffic appears to be from ‘’ and ‘’.

But why did those sites start sending you traffic, you ask?

That Referral Traffic Spike is Bogus

The answer is: they didn’t. What you’re seeing is a new form of spam that is sweeping Google Analytics accounts around the world. Referral spam, also known as “ghost referrals” is the newest way advertisers have found to promote their websites to website owners.

By faking traffic to your website, these spammers create mounds of referral traffic in your Analytics account in the hopes that you’ll see their website name and visit their site.

Here’s an example of what this may look like in your GA account:

Example of Google Analytics Spam


So these bots are visiting my website?

Not exactly. When you add Google Analytics tracking code to your website, you use a unique “property ID” to tag your Google Analytics account that looks something like “UA-123456-78”. When visitors appear at your site, a small piece of javascript code sends Google a notification with that property ID to let them know that someone has viewed a particular page.

These bots crawl through the internet daily hunting down new property IDs that they haven’t found before. Then, once they’ve locked on to your ID number, they send notification after notification to Google stating that your page has been viewed.

They are not actually sending traffic to your website, just sending Google notifications that your website has been viewed and the source of the page view was (insert spam website here). Google can’t tell whether the page view actually happened on your domain or not – they just record the information they receive and report it back to you in your GA dashboard.

Well if they aren’t visiting my website, what’s the problem?

The unfortunate result of all of this spam is that your Google Analytics data is completely skewed because of all of the fake visits. These visits are often characterized by 0:00 time on site and a 100% bounce rate. They never convert on your conversion goals, reducing your conversion rate numbers, and they ramp up your referral traffic numbers, masking the important information you need to know about how people are getting to your site.

If your website has a lot of traffic, this may not be impacting you too greatly, only accounting for 5-10% of your traffic. But for most of us, who are working to drive traffic to a blog, or a new business, this spam may be responsible for 80% (or more!) of your reported visits.

GA Spam...You just stepped in it!

Ok, now I’m mad! How do I get rid of Google Analytics Spam?

Blocking this traffic from appearing in your Google Analytics account can be done using GA filters. You can eliminate this traffic from your reports by using “Exclusion Filters” which can be found in the Admin -> Account -> Filters section of Google Analytics.

To block one of these sites, you’d create a filter with the following settings:

Here's how you add a filter to blog GA spam

Save your filter, link it to the views that you want it to apply to, and voila! That site will no longer appear in your referral traffic moving forward.

One filter down, 200+ sites to go!

Blocking out all of the spam sites individually is a daunting task. Every day, new spam sites are being created and manually adding these filters is like an endless game of whack-a-mole.

No matter how thorough you are blocking all of the spam sites, new ones will appear the next day – and you may have ten or even hundreds of GA accounts you need to filter.

An automated solution

In order to combat this spam for good, we at Anchor Metrics created a tool called the GA Spam Fighter.  We’re working with the team at to maintain an up-to-the-day list of all of the known spam sites that have been plaguing Google Analytics.   Then, we created a one-click solution to add filters to a GA profile that will block the entire list of sites at the same time.  

To try it out, visit

First, you will be asked to link up your Google Analytics account and select the profile you want to filter. Click “Add Filters” and we will generate a handful of filters that exclude traffic from the newest list of spam websites (currently almost 300 domains long!).

These filters don’t remove traffic retroactively, but from that day forward these sites will no longer appear in your reports. [Jeremy Says: You’ll need some custom Segments for that]

A week later, when you’ve noticed some new spam sites appearing, make your way back to the GA Spam Fighter and run the filters again. We’ll automatically locate the original filters we made, identify any new spam sites that you aren’t blocking yet, and create another filter for the new sites.

Think of it like updating the anti-virus software on your computer.

Sounds great!  How can I help?

If you’d like to help us maintain the software, head on over to and anonymously link your Google Analytics profiles to their tool.  

They’ll peek at your Analytics data daily to identify new spam sites and include them in the “blacklist”.  Since the GA Spam Fighter pulls sites from that blacklist, you’ll be helping the tool keep up-to-date on the latest thing spammers are doing to ruin your day.

 Together we can defeat these spammers once and for all.

Who Came Up With This?
Anchor Metrics develops tools for marketers to help them better track and report on digital marketing campaigns.  Their digital marketing dashboard pulls data about your website traffic, ad campaigns, online reviews, social media profiles, and more into one place, letting you view and export reports for all of your campaigns.  They also allow you to white-label a portal so your clients can log in and view their reports 24/7. 

A Breakdown of 10 SEO Site Crawl Tools

Beam Us Up

• User Interface: Desktop Application
• Platforms Supported: Windows, Macintosh – Uses Java – Be sure to update to latest version.
• Cost: Free
• Crawl Scope: As many pages as you want (It uses local memory so it just takes time to crawl big sites.) Of course, you may regret trying to open an excel file with 500,000 entries so crawl responsibly
• Resource Article: A Simple DIY Audit

Screaming Frog
• User Interface: Desktop Application
• Platforms Supported: Windows, Macintosh, Ubuntu
• Cost: Free version crawls 500 URLs, $99 yearly license
• Crawl Scope: 500 Pages, Site wide
• Resource Article: Screaming Frog SEO Spider Guide

Raven Site Auditor and Site Performance :
• Company/Parent Toolset: Raven Tools
• User Interface: Web Application, Browser Add-on
• Cost: Paid $99 and $249 a month (Part of overall tools set), Free 30 day trial
• Crawl Depth:
• Unique Function:
• Resource Article:

SEOMoz Crawl diagnostic:
• Company/Parent Toolset:
• User Interface: Web Application
• Cost: $99 a month (part of full SEOmoz subscription),
Free 30 day trial
• Crawl Depth:
• Unique Functions:
• Resource Article:

Nifty tool created by Tom Johns does a full site crawl picking out site errors, spelling errors and giving tweets, likes and +1’s page by page.
• Company/Parent Toolset:
• User Interface: Website
• Cost: Free
• Crawl Depth: Site Wide • Unique Function: Checks spelling and provides tweets and +1s on a page by page view
• Resource Article:

A1 Site Analyzer
• Company/Parent Toolset: Microsys
• User Interface: Desktop Download
• Platforms Supported:
• Cost: $69 30 day trial
• Crawl Depth:
• Unique Function:
• Resource Article: URI Valet
• Company/Parent Toolset:
• User Interface: Website
• Cost: Free
• Crawl Depth: Sitewide
• Unique Function: Provides graph breakdowns of page objects and header responses.
• Resource Article:

w3c Link Checker
• Company/Parent Toolset: Mozilla Foundation
• User Interface: Website
• Cost:
• Crawl Depth:
• Unique Function:
• Resource Article:

II S 7 – seo toolkit

• Company/Parent Toolset: Microsoft
• User Interface: Desktop Download
• Platforms Supported: Windows
• Cost:
• Crawl Depth:
• Unique Function:
• Resource Article:


• User Interface: Website and Web Application
• Cost: Free scan and $89.99, $189.99, $289.99
• Crawl Depth: Site wide
• Unique Function: Malware identification and cleanup • Recommended Resource Article:

Web Data Extractor

• Platforms Supported: Windows 95/98/2000/NT/ME/XP/Vista/7
• User Interface: Desktop Download
• Cost:
• Crawl Depth: Sitewide • Unique Function:
• Resource Article:



I used Piktochart, changed the file extension from .GIF to .PNG, added the text, published it and then embedded it.

Does This Image by Buffer’s Pablo Look Pixelated to You?

I love Pablo by Buffer. But when I made this graphic for one of my client’s sites a coworker thought it looked “pixelated”. Here’s the offending image.

So..Is What’s The Deal?

Hmm…it does kinda look wibbly wobbly around those edges.

Thinking about it, I was just rolling with the default font with is Merriweather.

So I thought I’d output the same image in all the fonts to see if it’s the image output or the font choice. Let’s see if they’re all pixelated or just that one:





Josefin Slab

Josefin Slab



Merriweather - The Original Offender

Merriweather – The OG: Does this font make my image look pixelated?



Open Sans

Open Sans







Other Small Pablo Complaints

What’s Your Judgement?

Are they all pixelated or is it just Merriweather?

How To Implement Facebook Authorship

Implementing Facebook Authorship

How to implement Facebook Authorship

Step By Step Facebook Authorship On WordPress

  • Log into your WordPress site
  • Go to User
  • Open User Profile
  • Add Facebook Profile URL: You can use a page or a profile
  • Go to Yoast SEO Plugin: (Why are you using All-in-one SEO?  Go download Yoast)
  • Click Social tab
  • Check box for Meta Data.
  • BOOM. You’re done.

    If rel=author had been as simple…

Here’s what Facebook displays when you set it up:

This is what it looks like when you deploy it correctly.

This is what it looks like when you deploy it correctly.

#notjustSEO Ep.1 – Paddleboarding In Nashville

I am more than just a geek that loves to build websites and SEO campaigns. A little while ago I realized that I really didn’t have any true hobbys. While I could TRY argue that any father of a 2 year old doesn’t have hobbies there was a lot of time that I wasn’t “fathering”. So…What do I like to do?

#notjustSEO – There’s a Lot To Do In Nashville!

I’ve decided to explore this city that I moved to when I was hired by Raven Tools as their in-house SEO. But really, my most adventurous time was due to my playing Ingress and once I changed to a Windows Phone(Misssstaaaake) I stopped exploring.

I want to change that.

Taunted by Paddleboards

Big Willies paddleboards

This van parks at a house 3 spaces down. Taunting me.

I’ve seen these paddleboards everyday when I walk my dog. I finally decided to check out Big Willies Action Sports and get out on the River!

Paddleboarding on the Cumberland? Yes! Relaxing & beautiful.

Paddleboarding on the Cumberland? Yes! Relaxing & beautiful.

They load up their ancient van where Broadway meets the river, so I parked across the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland for free. As I was walking, a random guitarist appeared and someone was asked a big question. #randomawesome I love this city!

This guy had just popped the questions as i strolled across the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland

This guy had just popped the questions as I strolled across the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland

A Night At FooBar

I’ve lived in Nashville for 3 years, but really have never heard a single show. #sacriledge I know! So me and my lovely wife decided to see our friend play in his band The Benders at an East Nashville’s Foobar.

FooBar. Onstage: The Benders

FooBar. Onstage: The Benders

Soooo. Yea. All in all a pretty good day!

I am still an SEO (you can even hire me, wink wink link link) but I’m not JUST an SEO.

Outreach For “Boring” Industries

I was recently asked to contribute to Ahref’s monster expert roundup that ended up with 90 SEO experts contributing! It’s worth the read!

I thought I’d share my own response to the prompt:

1) Please tell us about your favourite “white hat link building strategy that scales”.
(What makes it your favourite one? How to execute it properly?)
2) How do you scale it?
(What tools do you use? Where do you hire people to scale it?)

Building Links For Boring Industries

People often think that building links is difficult in “boring” industries. However, there is a benefit to working for clients who’s peers and competitors are not at the top of their online marketing game. I’ve worked in plenty of boring niches: HVAC, E&O Insurance Online, First time home buyer programs, Acupuncture, Conference Center, guiitar teachers, hunting decoys and more.

A perfect example for being creative came from this idea I had for a steel door company I’m working with on their marketing.

Leverage Your Product/Service’s Benefits For Links

One of the benefits for building to utilize steel doors is an improvement in fire safety. So that opens so many possibilities for links and visibility!

Let’s open up BuzzSumo to find some of the top influencers when it comes to fire safety.

Buzz Sumo For Firesafety

From here there are a couple of different paths you can take to turn that concept into links and social shares here’s my favorite way.

Come up with a “question” you want to get answered about fire safety. Then you do need to dig for some contact information.

For NFPA, I went to their Press Room page to get their media email. For the question I came up with this:

“We’re putting together some resources for our customers about fire safety, specifically around steel doors but general research and statistics could help too, can you point us to your best resources or have a quote from one of your officials that we could include?”

Once they reply with a resource, keep that conversation open with a thank you, and let them know you’ll share that resource when it becomes available online.

Repeat this process with other influencers until you have sufficient content to make a page, post or infographic and then share it with the contributors, who now have a vested interest in sharing it.

Since they’re not direct competitors, they will not feel anything holding them back from sharing it and often mentioning it on their own site or blog as well.

Remember to tailor your question’s difficulty and focus based on your target, and the less sophisticated the website the less sophisticated your question should be!

Don’t Be A Robot: 3 Ways To Improve Your SEO Process

The super talented Clark Buckner recently sat down with me and discussed SEO and ended up exploring the big 3 challenges SEOs are facing based off my own experience. Below are the key take aways and important excepts from the recording, I hope they’re helpful to you.

You have a choice to evolve. You have a choice to move forward or you can keep doing what you were paid to do and just be a machine

Key Take Aways

  • Keep Track of Your Process – Understand where your time is being wasted/spent well.
  • Use Tools – Basecamp, Trello, and Leankit are all great tools that I am concurrently using for different projects.
  • Remember that Google is good when you know what you need. It’s bad when you don’t know what your problems are in your workflow.

Knowing Yourself Is Key To Your SEO Career

You need to know yourself. You must know your specialty. It used to be a the first problem for Search Engine Optimization in Digital Marketing was that the client expected like too much of one thing.

They would come to you and they would expect, “Oh, I’m going to rank number 1 for every single keyword.” That was the one thing that they came to us for. And we said “No, we’re more than that.” And so, we tacked on social media and then we tacked on outreach, and we tacked on PR and we tacked on analytics.

We tacked on all of these things on to the base idea of a person who optimizes online and to these for search engines to discover businesses.

I heard you do SEO

I heard you do SEO

We kind of took that persona and said “Oh well, you got this battle pack on your armor, now you’ve got a rocket launcher and let’s add a machine gun.” But the reality is that if fire all your weapons at once, you’re not going to hit anything.

So as you go through your workflow with each client, kind of create a section at the end of that new client of “What did I learn…”

You need to sit down and take some time to ask “What did I do right? But more importantly, what did I do wrong”

Because you’re human, you learn things and pick up bad habits and good habits and you have a choice. You have a choice to evolve, you have a choice to move forward or you can keep just doing what you were paid to do and just be a machine.

I am Not A Robot

If you’re one, then contribute something to this discussion with the “comments” section below. **I already have enough robots contributing, but they’re surprisingly conversant about very HUMAN problems…

Universal Analytics Can Track Sub-Domain Traffic Without Additional Modification

The documentation for Google Analytics when it comes to subdomains is subpar. That document will give you the complex way you needed to deploy changes for “Classic” Google Analytics and tells you to upgrade to Universal it doesn’t actually link you to a Univeral Analytics article on the same topic. Leaving you without a solid answer.

“Can I Track Subdomain traffic with the same Universal GA code?”

Here’s the answer: Yes.

If you want to track traffic from a subdomain and your main domain in the same profile you can do so without any modification to the tracking code. Just be sure to use the same code.

Example: I wanted to track traffic from:

I just deployed the code and it worked.

FYI-  If you want to see which domain specifically sent the traffic (in cases where your URL/Page Names are similar) then look at the Host Name dimension in your reporting.

What I’ve Been Doing Online Recently

My Recent Online Marketing Projects

I thought I’d take a quick moment on my own blog and share some of the posts and projects I’ve been working on recently.


This is the site for Get Insured 24/7, pretty nice right?
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