Learning Hub | Google Analytics

What Is Semalt In Google Analytics?

September 11, 2014 | Jon Teodoro

If you regularly analyze your Google Analytics reports, you have probably seen referral traffic from a source named Semalt. This source traffic shows up on 95% of our clients’ Google Analytics reports and when reviewing their monthly reports, we get asked, “What the heck is Semalt?!”. This blog post aims to answer that question and provide tips on how to exclude this useless data from your Google Analytics reports.


What the heck is Semalt?

Although traffic from Semalt may appear to add visits to your monthly analytics report, the truth is that Semalt is actually a keyword research service that collects keyword and ranking data about websites throughout the internet. The visits coming from Semalt are NOT human visits, rather, automated bots. If your SEO or marketing firm is counting these metrics as relevant hits in your monthly traffic report, you should ask them to remove or filter this traffic. Let’s explore the ramifications of continuing to count Semalt as a legitimate metric in your analytics strategy.

Skewed Data and Analytics

Typically, visits from Semalt do not add up to anything significant in terms of actual visits. However, the larger your website is, the more visits you can potentially acquire from Semalt due to the number of pages on your website. To view the number of visits you are getting from Semalt, go to your Google Analytics platform and under the Acquisition tab, click on All Referrals. If you have acquired visits from Semalt, you should see something similar to the illustration shown above.

The danger of factoring in traffic from Semalt could have a significant effect on the following metrics: Average New Visitors and Average Bounce Rates. Bots can access your website from a variety of IP addresses or machines which could artificially inflate the number of New Visits you are receiving to your website. Moreover, Semalt exists to collect data about keyword metrics and therefore once the bots arrive on your page, they usually leave right away, resulting in abnormally high numbers of Bounces. To the untrained eye, this could give a false sense of ineffectiveness and could also cause a marketer or business owner to take action on a page that really was not under performing after all.

How To Block Semalt From Google Analytics

Fortunately, Google Analytics makes it very easy for us to filter out traffic from Semalt. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Create a New Filter

To create a new filter. Make sure you have Admin rights to your Google Analytics account. Once you have confirmed this, navigate to the top bar and click Admin. Then under the View column, click on Filters. Once here, click on + New Filter.

add new filter

Step 2: Build Your Custom Filter

Once you arrive on the Add Filter to View page, you will see a section to add/edit your Filter Information. Under Filter Name, you may type anything you desire however it may be smart to name your filter to something similar to what we have illustrated below.

Make sure you select the Predefined filter radio button, then under the first drop down select Exclude, under the second drop down select traffic from the ISP domain, the under the third drop down select that are equal to. In the From ISP Domain box, add semalt.com and make sure you select No under the Case Sensitive option.

After you’re done, click Save. That’s it!

build a new filter

Once you have completed the previous steps, you should now be able to block Semalt traffic from your Google Analytics reports. The only downside to this is that you will only be able to block traffic from the date you implement this filter. You cannot go back in time.

This quick fix takes less than five minutes to complete and is a great tip that we recommend to any website owner or marketer who is serious about getting accurate data in Google Analytics.

What are some other quick Google Analytics optimization tips that you have discovered? Share them below!