Goodbye Semalt. Hello better bounce stats in Google Analytics!


Retake control of your bounce rate

When it comes to Google Analytics on a small business WordPress website, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that an increasing number of clients have begun taking an interest in their website visitor data.

The bad news is that a new player on the shady block of SEO services, Semalt from the Ukraine, is interfering with the BOUNCE rate in your analytics reports.

So, today’s post will show you how to filter out Semalt or other services when you want to

What is Semalt?

The simplest way to define this company might be to take a quote from its own website:

Semalt is 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.

Make sense?

In short, the company is involved in scouring the web as part of its activities and, along the way, leaving a scattering of unhelpful analytics.

Some people in the web marketing field label Semalt as an evil operator, others dismiss Semalt as just a nuisance.

The problem with Semalt

Actually, there are two problems with the way Semalt behaves online.

Firstly, unlike other ‘bots’ like Google’s own search bots, these do not identify as bots and are counted in visitor activity on your website by ignoring robots.txt instructions.

The robots.txt file protocol is a long standing piece of netiquette in which MOST web crawlers listen to what your webmaster has put in the file to ignore your site or ignore parts of your site. It is bad form for Semalt to ignore that.

Secondly, the Semalt bot leaves your site the very instant it arrives, creating an inflated bounce rate in your statistics. They argue this is a virtue, others argue this is a problem.

A ‘bounce’ is where a visitor arrives on a site and leaves from that page.

It is considered a reasonable measure of good web content if you have a low percentage of ‘bounce’ visits to your site, so we don’t want search engines or Google getting a jaundiced view of our performance.

The Bulletproof Security solution

From the outset, I should stress that we write these articles primarily for our existing clients. And it should be noted there are many ways of approaching this problem.

Today, however, I am focussed on website owners who are running the Bulletproof Security plugin on a site either built as part of our WordPress website package or built elsewhere.

This is an excellent plugin for giving your site good protection against hackers and is one of the solutions we use on your behalf.

If you do have that plugin installed, the creator has provided a short piece of code that can be easily added.

Simply copy the following code:

# Block/Forbid & kambsoft
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^.*(semalt\.com|kambasoft\.).*$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ - [F,L]

Then go to Bulletproof Security > htaccess core > Custom Code > Root htaccess file custom code and scroll to the last box on the page called CUSTOM CODE BOTTOM HOTLINKING/FORBID COMMENT SPAMMERS/BLOCK BOTS/BLOCK IP/REDIRECT CODE: Add miscellaneous code here

Paste in that code, click Save Root Custom Code, then go back to the main page for the plugin and auto create a new secure.htaccess file, then scroll a little further down to root folder mode and the wp-admin folder mode.

While there are other ways to block Semalt at the Google Analytics level using filters or by editing your htaccess file itself, the Bulletproof Security approach stops the problem in its tracks, while also blocking another annoying site, Kambsoft.

If this sounds too nerdy for you to do, one of our Digital Hub team will be able to implement this for your quickly and inexpensively.



1 Comment

  1. Charlie

    Great article Steve. I showed it to Noel here at work and he’s going to do as you say… better to be safe than sorry! etc etc.

    Love ya work 🙂


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