Buttons-for-website and Semalt SpamBot Referral Traffic

Judy VedderWordPress

In Google Analytics Under Acquisitions, All Traffic, Referrals you can see the list of sources that referred traffic to your website. Under normal conditions you are happy to see lots of sites sending lots of referrals to you website. However, if and are listed, you should not be happy, these are SpamBots.

Why Are SpamBots Bad?

Sambots are computer generated programs who go to your website most likely with ill intention. Some may steal data, email harvest, content scrape, or perform some other unsavory action. If the volume of SpamBot visits is high enough it can put a heavy load on your server, which can slow the speed of your website, and consume bandwidth.  This could cause you to have over-charges with your host provider or you account could be suspended depending on your hosting contract.

On client sites where I have found these SpamBots all of the traffic has 100% bounce rate, which means that they go to one page and leave. Google favors websites where visitors spend time and look at multiple pages because this indicates to Google that visitor find your website interesting. If visitors find your website interesting then Google is more likely to rank your website higher in search results so that more people can find your interesting website. If the SpamBots are increasing your bounce rate they are telling Google that you website is not interesting. So SpamBots are all-around BadBots and it is in your best interest to block then from your website.

How to Block of SpamBots From Your Website

There are multiple ways to block SpamBots from your website, but I am going to show you how to use the .htaccess file because the block happens server-level before any files are sent from the server to client.

Here is a .htaccess file for a WordPress Website that will block the and Spambots:

** Important: the line “Options +FollowSymlinks” below is commented. Uncomment this line if your server isn’t configured with FollowSymLinks in its <directory> section in httpd.conf, and you get a 500 Internal Server error when using the code with this line commented **

# block referer spam
RewriteEngine On
# Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} [NC,OR] RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.* [NC] RewriteRule ^.* – [F,L]

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index.php$ – [L] RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L] </IfModule>

# END WordPress

 Where to Find Your .htacess File

Your .htaccess file is located in the root folder of your website. You can use FTP or CPanel’s file manager to access your root level – be sure to check show hidden files. If show hidden files is not checked you will not see the .htaccess file. I recommend that you make a copy of the original .htaccess file so that you can revert back if necessary – this is a good practice for any change. Once you have updated the .htaccess file be sure to reload your website to make sure that it is working.  If you get  a 500 Internal Server error – refer to the section above where I recommend uncommenting the “Options +FollowSymlinks” line in the sample code.