Analytics

Semalt logoGoogle Analytics may be reporting a new website that is sending visitors your way: Semalt. Sadly, Semalt isn’t sending real human visitors; it is a keyword research programme or robot that is being counted incorrectly in your statistics.

If you go to your Google Analytics and look at Acquisition > All Referrals, you will see Semalt referral traffic there.

Google-Analytics-All ReferralsIn the report, every visit from Semalt is new, and every visit from Semalt has a 100% bounce rate.

Google-Analytics-Semalt
You may notice that I do not link to the Semalt service in this post. Semalt is selling a keyword ranking service that I am NOT recommending. You may find this review of Semalt very interesting. Services like Semalt should NOT appear in your statistics, in the same way any other automatic indexing service should not appear.

Semalt typically sends small numbers of visitors each month, and usually isn’t a significant referral. Having this robot data in your statistics does, however, skew the averages with, reporting higher than average new visitors and higher than average bounce rates. You may also find that your statistics are reporting artificial page views due to Semalt’s visits.

And if you are using a hosted blogging service like WordPress then you will find WordPress.com has now blocked Semalt. If you, like us, use WordPress on your own server (rather than the hosted version) then you will need to block the Semalt visits.

Removing Semalt couldn’t be simpler:

Step 1: Login to you Google Analytics account.

Step 2: Click on ‘Admin’ along the menu at the top of the screen.

Google-Analytics-Toolbar

Step 3: Click ‘Filters’ which is located in the far right-hand column. If you cannot see Filters this means you don’t have administrative access rights.

Google-Analytics-Settings

 

Step 4: Click ‘New Filter’. This allows you to create your own customer filters in your Google Analytics data, for example excluding your own visits to your website.

Google-Analytics-New-Filter-Button

Step 5: Amend the fields to just like they are in the screenshot below. Make sure that ‘Exclude’ is selected and ‘semalt.com’ is entered into the Filter Pattern field. The filter will also block all sub domains of Semalt such as 34.semalt.com as well as the main domain.

remove-semalt-filter

Click Save and that’s it! You have now excluded Semalt from your referral traffic data.

Once you have your filter live, keep in mind that it will only filter the data from this point forward. It does not retrospectively filter the visits out.

Whilst here you may wish to filter out your own traffic which can skew statistics by blocking your own IP address with another filter. You may also need to keep an eye out for other spammy referral domains that are skewing your statistics and preferably block them from entering your website. A guide on referral spam can be found here.

For more hints and tips, please see the comments posted, feel free to post a comment or contact us for dedicated Google Analytics Consultancy.

67 responses to “How to Remove Semalt from Google Analytics”

  1. Chris Rand says:

    Hi Susan – I’m no expert, but I believe that although your filter pattern (“semalt.com”) will work, it should be a POSIX Regular Expression (so “semalt.com” with a backslash). The dot on its own means “any character”, so technically your filter will also block a referrer called “semaltacom” or “semaltocom”, not that they’re likely to exist.

  2. Hi Chris, and a great question. Technically you are correct, but it is interesting to note in Google’s own documentation they don’t suggest the use of the backslash anymore:

    https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1034842?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=1034830

    I did consider including the backslash in this example, but decided against it…

    So yes, belts and braces, include it.
    Get the job done quick, exclude it.

  3. Lee Bagley says:

    Thanks for the this advice. I had been seeing this a lot. Can’t Google somehow block it as it is very annoying?

  4. Glenn Miller says:

    Thanks for this! Super straightforward advice. I was able to set up this filter for over a dozen google analytics accounts I manage in less than 10 minutes.

  5. T. Brooks Web Design says:

    Semalt has an “opt-out” page that allows you to remove your website from their database:

    http://semalt.com/project_crawler.php

    I just submitted my website so I can’t say if it works, but if so then it’s easier than adjusting your Google Analytics filters.

    Good luck!
    Teri Brooks
    T. Brooks Web Design, LLC

  6. Crick says:

    Thanks Susan. Have been reading up about Semalt after finding them skewing my GA data. Apprecatate your affirmation.

  7. Nataliya says:

    Let me tell you about Semalt.
    Semalt bots harvest statistics for web analytis service and cause no harm. Those crawler bots have 100% bounce rate and don’t click on advertising banners (cpc, cpa, cpm systems) or extend links. All the visits are automatic and random.
    If you want to exclude your site from Semalt database, please follow this link: http://semalt.com/project_crawler.php

    • Thanks for the information, Nataliyia, but I am NOT suggesting our clients submit their web address for exclusion.

      I would like to highlight to our readers that:
      – your spider is taking up our server bandwidth without our permission
      – your spider does not appear to comply with instructions in robots.txt
      – your spider irresponsibly distorts our Analtyics data

      I find your suggestion that our readers should have to GIVE you their web address top stop the crawling to be unethical and inappropriate. Personally, I’m not happy to give you my web address for exclusion.

  8. Daniel says:

    Thanks Susan, that’s a great tip and very easy to do 🙂

    Have you had any problems with kambasoft?

    Daniel

  9. Sheve says:

    I’ve submitted a few sites to SEMalt for exclusion.

    Still getting the traffic from it though.

    So yes, GA is the better route, as they ignored it on 11 of the 12 sites I submitted.

    • Nataliya says:

      Dear Sheve, have you entered into the Crawler all the subdomains? Please,notice, that http:// is required.

      Thank you for your patience.

  10. thomas.b says:

    semalt is using multiple domains, kambasoft is one of them.

  11. John says:

    Thanks for the filter instructions; it doesn’t seem to work though; the domain still appears in the referrals list.
    The best way to block them properly is probably with code on your website using your .htaccess file or with PHP. That way you’ll also prevent them from using up your site’s bandwidth and possibly scraping your site’s content. They seem the type that would do that.

    • Denise says:

      The filters haven’t worked for me & I am using a google blog & was told you can’t change or edit the .htaccess file on a google blog. If that’s true, does that mean there is no way for me to block them?

  12. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for this quick and easy tutorial! Got the job done in about 60 seconds!

  13. Jan says:

    While the Semalt traffic mostly just causes noise level in metrics, it’s very poor Internet etiquette by that firm to generate misleading robot traffic.

    As such I’m going a step further and am actively blocking their access to my site. A case of fighting back against poor behavior.

    If you are familiar with the .htaccess files available on most Linux based hosting plans, you can insert the following few lines:

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} semalt.com [NC]
    RewriteRule .* – [F]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ([^.]+).semalt.com [NC]
    RewriteRule .* – [F]

    This will return a status code 403 (Access Forbidden) anytime the semalt robot attempts to access the site.

    This not only blocks the robot, but also of course eliminates that traffic from your analytics.

    • Drew Horine says:

      Thanks for the htaccess code.

      If there’s even a chance these guys are up to no good, then it’s just good security to block them from accessing your site.

      Even if they are legit, they haven’t yet figured out how to make an indexing bot that doesn’t mess with your stats. That alone should be cause for concern.

  14. Tony says:

    What do I type into the “Filter Pattern” box if I don’t want my own visits to my website to be counted in analytic stats?

  15. Toyah says:

    Thanks for this. Very useful! Will this exclude referrals from 34.semalt.com and similar? I wonder if Analytics will still recognise it with a number before the domain?

  16. Hi Toyah, this code will block all sub-domains of semalt.com such as “34.semalt.com” as well as the main domain so it should be all you need.

    All the best,
    Jonathan

  17. Mohsinoon says:

    Hi there,
    Do you think it enhance traffic at our website ?
    Bye

  18. Michelle says:

    Greatly appreciate you taking the time to explain this so clearly!

  19. Wanda says:

    Thanks for the information. I’ve already put it to good use on two of my sites. I am hoping it does trick.

  20. Brent Baltzer says:

    Does the new “Block spiders and crawlers” checkbox in Google Analytics not work to block crawlers like semalt? I wrote a quick post on how to do this but I heard from one person that this wasn’t working. Does anyone else have any feedback on this?

  21. Hi Brent, we have setup a new view for the Hallam Internet account with the “Bot filtering” box ticked in the Admin area “View settings” and one view without it ticked. We will let you know the results as soon as possible.

  22. Hi Tony, you can exclude your own internal visits to your website by blocking your IP addresses from home or work; see this guide for more details: https://www.hallaminternet.com/2012/get-a-clearer-picture-of-your-website-traffic-how-to-exclude-internal-visitors-from-google-analytics/

  23. Peter says:

    Thank you very much for this informative article. I followed the steps faithfully but semalt.com traffic still shows up in our analytics. Perhaps they found a way around it?

    I will now try .htaccess block and see if it works that way and update.

  24. Hi Brent, if the “Bot filtering” box is ticked with Google Analytics this currently doesn’t block Semalt Traffic, I am seeing ‘referral’ traffic from them when the filter isn’t used.

  25. Hi Peter, are you looking at historic data? It will not remove any old Semalt visits but will filter out any future visits from now on.
    If that isn’t the case please send us a screenshot so we can confirm the settings you have.

  26. Jason says:

    easy and straight to the point. I was tired of seeing these guys distort my analytics and I was not willing to go to some random website and submit any information. So glad to knock this all out within Google’s trusted website. Thanks for the tutorial Susan.

  27. Lisa says:

    I find it fascinating that you can get penalized for the least little thing due to Google’s increasingly strict and unpredictable guidelines (claiming it’s all about pure results when we know there’s more to it than that) yet they can’t stop Semalt from showing up and skewing our stats? It’s not like this just started yesterday. It’s possible that something else is going on – some kind of relationship perhaps. It goes on all the time. That’s why you’re seeing all the big boys at the top of the serps these days. Think it’s just coincidental?

    Things that make you go hmmmmmmm.

  28. Bart says:

    Would it be advised to set a custom 403 page with something to the affect of Hey Semalt Please go Jump In The Lake ? lol

  29. Stephen says:

    I signed up with Semalt for SEO service on my website. Would anyone like feedback from me?

  30. Criss says:

    I have a customer having his site dropped from google index after a massive amount of these “visits” by semalt and related 100% bounces.

    So, I left their spider out of the door by blocking all connections from them via a simple .htaccess recipe.

    Google doesn’t see them = No bounces seen = No pain!

  31. Kim says:

    Thankyou for taking the time to explain this Susan.
    And particularly for your polite but firm comment to the Semalt rep in the comments. Most helpful!

  32. me says:

    “Nataliya” or however you spell it ia from semalt. She’s on twitter and other posts saying that semalt isn’t bad…..

  33. Sam Streubel says:

    I tried out the filter in both Custom and Predefined mode and get the same message:”This filter would not have changed your data. Either the filter configuration is incorrect, or the set of sampled data is too small.”

    I have a few sites; some with lots of traffic and some not, and I’ve double checked my inputs so I don’t know which part of the response from Google is correct.

  34. Hi Sam,

    We get the same message from Google when trying to verify the filter, we saw this yesterday in fact, from a site with 20-30 referrals from Semalt.com recorded each day on average.
    After a full day of implementing the filter you should see all future referral traffic from Semalt.com drop to zero which proves it works.

  35. Nate Somsen says:

    Thanks for the article Susan. I have been exploring different options on blocking Semalt. I found that not too long ago Google Analytics released the option to Block Spiders and Crawlers, but with a few accounts I manage, it appears that they still sneak in. I have also tried the suggested Filters method (haven’t tested this one yet). I have also found a few other ways to block semalt from referral traffic. Someone mentioned going to their website and opting-out I don’t like that option, because I have a sneaky suspicion that Semalt sells your domain to others once they know you have a valid website that is monitored. I also have been adding semalt to the Referral Exclusion List, which seems to be working rather well. I also like the option of blocking them via .htaccess, kind of sad that you’d have to go to that extreme to block them. Have you or someone else tried some of these other methods?

  36. John says:

    Susan, Jonathan, et al – thank you for this info. But my experience is that this does *not* work. Not only does the “Verify this filter” warn that it won’t alter data, saving it results in no change – I still have semalt.com “referrals” all over my results a month after setting up the filter per your instructions.
    BTW, the suggestion to use the text “semalt.com” is rejected by Google – it gives an error msg about a filed containing invalid data.
    Any suggestions?

  37. Joe Mahoney says:

    Using a .htaccess solution is a working technically correct way to get this done. Open your .htaccess file and drop in the following code;

    Options +FollowSymLinks
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} semalt.com [NC,OR]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} buttons-for-website.com
    RewriteRule .* – [F]

    If you didn’t already see it in your analytics, Buttons-for-webiste is hammering the internet with referral spam as well. This will protect yourself.

  38. Jennifer says:

    I followed the instructions and Semalt is gone. A couple others popped up and I am going through the same steps. Thank you.

  39. Tania says:

    Thanks. Set up my filters. Found that they are also using 7makemoneyonline[dot]com as a domain.

  40. El says:

    Will this also work for other weird referral sites? I have:
    buttons-for-website.com
    econom.co (this one is bringing me a LOT of fake traffic and I want it gone!)
    forum.topic44207784.darodar.com
    make-money-online.7makemoneyonline.com

    I hope someone can help me!

  41. Hi El,

    Yes this will work for any referral URL.
    I would just block the root domain, for example “7makemoneyonline.com”, instead of the sub-domain, for example “make-money-online.7makemoneyonline.com”, if it’s causing issues to totally block the traffic.

  42. El says:

    Thanks! Now it seems like iloveitaly.com is causing problems! I googled and it seems like a lot of people are talking about something called .htaccess. Why wouldn’t they just use this easy filtering process in GA that we are using??

  43. Hi El,

    The .htaccess file allows you to block or redirect traffic entirely in case a bot such as Semalt’s was slowing your server down or flooding it with requests. This method hides the traffic from the statistics only and doesn’t require any development.

  44. Jan says:

    Semalt has become a real annoyance, they no longer just operate semalt.com but multiple domains and subdomains turning this into a cat and mouse game.

    While filtering Analytics is a first good step to keep your own data clean, I believe that blocking this traffic via .htaccess is better way to go if you have the technical know-how. Blocking this traffic takes an active step to show that this is unacceptable behavior on the Internet.

    As long as you allow their traffic on your site, even if its out of sight via Google Analytics filter, you provide them with the data that they run their business on.

    I recently went as far on one website to display a ‘Semalt not welcome’ alternate content page if their referral was detected.

  45. Catherine at Critique My Novel says:

    Interesting. I started seeing Seamalt in my statistics and thought, “Oh cool! They send lots of referrals.” So I wanted to see if I could find info about it. And I found all of this useful info. Sad that they aren’t real. They comprise over 15% of my traffic.
    So I made the filter and will see what happens.

    Thanks!

  46. Simon Green says:

    Good article, but i am with those that take the .htaccess fix. Why blind yourself to the stats but leave your self open to someone abusing your website/server/bandwitdth?

    On a slightly different note… has anyone had forum.topic58506415.darodar.com (russian based) showing up in their referrals?.. this is a bit of special case all in itself, as it appears to be a referral spam attack designed purely to hit at GA itself.

    I’ve had quite a few in the past weeks to my site www photographer-kettering co uk. It looks to be a little bit of code ‘attack’ crossed with a bit of a social hack.

  47. Valentine says:

    This semalt of a thing is giving me crazy stats. I hate it. I also have buttonsforwebsite.com doing the same. I have set filters hoping they will work for me. Thanks for the info. Peace.

  48. Neil says:

    Thanks for this – pretty annoying when I saw it in a client’s analytics. Have followed the same procedure also for buttons-for-website.com

  49. Nick Byrd says:

    Blocking the referrer “semalt.com” does not seem to block any of the following:
    semalt.com
    semalt.semalt.com
    34.semalt.com

    Blocking “semalt.com” also doesn’t work.

    What am I doing wrong?

  50. Josh says:

    THIS DOES NOT WORK! I’ve done THIS in analytics, updated the robots file and the .htaccess. Absolutely nothing works. No matter what I do, it keeps showing up, over and over and over again and there is absolutely no way to stop it at all.

    Does anyone have an actual solution which has worked to any degree in any capacity? I need those numbers to be accurate right now and I can’t keep going through this day by day and trying to do the math to figure out what’s real and what’s just this idiot from Russia.

  51. jim says:

    adding semalt.semalt.com as the filter pattern for referral removal has worked for me in GA.

  52. Lore says:

    Been seeing semalt referral on our analytics for years now and it contributed to even higher bounce rates.

    Thanks for already applied your suggestion.

    Here’s another helpful suggestion from Google Forum: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/analytics/ePCUyPkDVvs%5B126-150%5D

  53. Ashley says:

    I had this for a while and they always seemed to get through somehow but I signed up recently for CloudFlare and that stopped this referral spam instantly, which rather makes me wonder why Google can’t seem to do it themselves.

    This Semalt problem wasn’t the reason I initially signed up for CloudFlare but it certainly brought a smile to my face when I checked CloudFlare’s analytics and saw they had been blocked.

  54. John says:

    Thanks for this. Simple Share Buttons is also one to add to the exclusion list I think.

  55. shon says:

    So you are saying I shouldn’t use the SEO service they are offering ?

  56. Jonathan Ellins Jonathan Ellins says:

    That’s right John, below is a list of the ones we know so far:
    semalt.com
    buttons-for-website.com
    simple-share-buttons.com
    ilovevitaly.com
    make-money-online.com
    simplesharebuttons.com
    see-your-website-here.com
    darodar.com
    o-o-6-o-o.com

  57. FoggyClouds.com says:

    Great bit of honest tech advice Susan. Thanks for your efforts.

  58. James Tyler says:

    Thank you all for participation and adding value to the online community. For those who are interested in getting this issue resolved, I’d recommend the .htaccess method.

    1) if you’re not sure how to make an .htaccess file, just open any text editor such as (Notepad for Windows users) or (TextEdit for Mac users) and save as .htaccess (no name, just file extension. example, filename.pdf, filename.html) this is a no file name .htaccess

    2) Paste in this code. Notice the pattern of the pipe (|) which means (or) and the backslash () which escapes the dot (.) since it has it’s own meaning in Apache Directives. The “.” is a special character normally means that one character is unspecified. If you see any suspicious url just simply add it to your line along with the rest of the urls included with . being escaped with .

    #

    Options +FollowSymLinks
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^(semalt.com|best-seo-offer.com|best-seo-solution.com|buttons-for-website.com|simple-share-buttons.com|simplesharebuttons.com|see-your-website-here.com|Get-Free-Traffic-Now.com|aliexpress.com|darodar.com|ilovevitaly.com|ilovevitaly.ru|make-money-online.com|o-o-6-o-o.com) [NC]
    RewriteRule .* – [F]

    #

  59. kota Venkatesham says:

    Good post Iam able to collect some use ful information from your website
    thanks for sharing such information.i wish in coming days
    good posts from your website

  60. David Knight says:

    Is there anyway to remove the semalt.com etc referrals removed from the past?

    If not, won’t it skew my comparison between before filter and after filter.
    With the filter in place the total number of sessions would drop. That wouldn’t look good to my SEO client.

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