Semalt Referral Traffic is on the Rise. Here’s how to Block it!
 by Casey Markee

Semalt Referral Traffic is on the Rise. Here's how to Block it!

  • For several clients, we are seeing a large percentage of referrals from an Internet spider called "semalt". From my online research, this is a spider that indexes your site and then leaves, driving up the bounce rates and skewing other site statistics. Is this something I should be worried about? If so, what is the best course of action to prevent traffic from semalt?

Answer: If you have a website, you've probably noticed the Semalt spider in your referral logs. It's been a known issue in SEO circles for a while but it really kicked-up its spammy practices in the latter half of 2014.

First, here's a screenshot of how the referral traffic looks in Google Analytics. To investigate this yourself, log into Google Analytics and navigate to the Acquisition tab, and then choose Referrals. Most likely, Semalt will be one of your top referrals; if you don't see it there, type "semalt" in the search box.

Semalt Traffic is Toxic Graphic

In this example, the Semalt referral showed around fifty sessions recorded on the site during the previous month. There isn't a lot here, but Semalt traffic has been known to make up almost 40% of all referral traffic on some sites. That traffic in turn has a 100% bounce rate and an average session duration of zero.

The next logical question you may be asking is - what exactly is Semalt? Semalt is a Ukrainian-based SEO Startup and they describe their crawler as the following:

"a professional webmaster analytics tool that opens the door to new opportunities for the market monitoring, yours and your competitors' positions tracking and comprehensible analytics business information."

Their true identity though is as a spammer. Semalt has created what is called a botnet, which actually hijacks hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide to send...

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