Referrals data in Google Analytics Acquisition reports is a great source of information on which websites bring traffic directly to your site. Recently however you might have noticed one particular site appearing more often in your reports, generating sessions, but no other engagements. The bad news is – you’re most likely being targeted by Semalt. The good news is – you’re not the only one. And there are many options to exclude Semalt from your reports completely.
What is Semalt and why you don’t need it
It can be quite difficult to explain what Semalt actually does, as the company itself doesn’t offer an insight to their own business. They claim to be a webmaster analytics tool, focused on keyword ranking and monitoring. That’s why the software constantly generates 1000s of ‘empty’ page visits, coming from a robot, rather than a real human being. The lack of clarity around their own service and spam-like approach to online media mean the general opinion about Semalt and its practices is rather negative.
This is mainly down to the fact that traffic generated from Semalt to your website is nothing else but spam. The way the system operates means your Analytics data is slowly stuffed with fake sessions, which can lower your overall performance and conversion rates. As a site owner you don’t benefit at all from Semalt’s activity. They however monetize the information captured from your site.
For websites with a lower level of traffic, sessions generated by Semalt might lead to a serious data corruption. In some of the cases we’ve analysed Semalt accounted for as much as 30% of all referral traffic, making it almost impossible to accurately analyse site and channel performance. That’s why we strongly recommend you exclude Semalt from your data completely going forward. And it’s really easy too.
Exclude Semalt from Google Analytics data
Depending on the Google Analytics version you use there are 2 options to exclude Semalt sessions from your reports.
For Standard Analytics the best option is to create a Filter for each of the Views you use. From the Admin panel select the Filters option under your selected View. From here follow these steps to create the Filter:
If you already switched to Universal Analytics (and you should have by now!), the solution is even easier. Again from the Admin panel, this time under Property select Tracking Info – Referral Exclusion List. Here you simply add the domain name you want to exclude from your referrals going forward – in this case semalt.com.
You’ll also want to add semalt.semalt.com as well as semalt.semalt.semalt.com and semaltmail.com to your exclusion list, to ensure you covered all domains and subdomains. Remember each domain name you want to exclude needs to be added separately. When completed, your exclusion list should look like this:
Once either of the above methods are implemented, you shouldn’t see any more sessions generated by Semalt.
This solution only stops Semalt data from showing in your Analytics reports. The software however will continue to access your website. If you want to block them from accessing your site completely – here’s how.