Analytics & GTM Developer

Optimizer Troubleshooter

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What is the referral in Google Analytics?

Out of the sudden, I started seeing the referral in several of the Google Analytics accounts I manage, which was weird because that is the address assign to a localhost. / referral in Google Analytics

Then I dig a bit into this traffic and I found that all of it had the service provider google llc, digging a bit more, I found that the network domain had information like and and both domains are associated with Google.

This led me to believe that this strange traffic comes from a Google index/cache bot, which is not beneficial to your Analytics at all.

What is Google LLC?

Doing a bit of research I found that Google LLC is the new official name used by Google since September of 2017 (previously Google Inc.), so it makes sense that a Googlebot uses this service provider.

But, why is it showing in your reports?

In general, Google Analytics does pretty good detecting well-behaved bots, like the ones that index your pages. However, this time it looks that the bot was not correctly tagged perhaps because of the new change or just a simple mistake.

It is worth mention that even if most of the traffic shows with the referral, some of it shows as (direct).

google llc and the referral in Google Analyitcs

How to stop and remove traffic from "" and "google llc"?

Even if the bot has good intentions, it doesn't add any value to your Analytics quite the contrary! So it is important to filter it to keep the integrity of your data.

Update: Previously I suggested filtering the referral After doing more research I noticed that his traffic shows also as (direct) and other sources source so instead, we will create an ISP organization filter for google llc, that will take care of all.

Before creating any filter in your analytics it is best practice to always have an unfiltered view. I've prepared step by step instructions with everything you need to get rid of this bot traffic:

These are just a part of a comprehensive guide to keep your Analytics clean, so now that you are up to the task, I recommend you to follow the entire guide. It will greatly help you with the overall quality of your Google Analytics data.

Need help setting up a robust and reliable Google Analytics reporting for your website/business?

  • Filters for data quality 
  • User interaction tracking (events, goals)
  • E-commerce tracking
  • GDPR compliance
  • Google Tag Manager implementation
  • Integrations (Google Ads, Search Console, etc)
  • Custom reports (Dashboards, Data studio)
  • Monthly reporting and more...

More details of the referral

This faulty traffic started around January 16th (for some around January 24th) and keeps showing up until this post was written. These are the common characteristics of the referral:

  • % New Sessions: 100%
  • New Users: 100%
  • Bounce Rate: 100%
  • Pages / Session: 1
  • Avg. Session Duration: 0 seconds
  • Browser: Chrome
  • Browser size: 360x510
  • Browser version: 63.0.3239.111
  • City: East Lansing | Jackson | Rockwood | Dearborn | Detroit | (not set)
  • Service Provider: google llc
  • Network domain: | | unknown.unknown |
  • Screen resolution:  360x512
  • Operating System: Android
  • Operating System Version: 6.0.1
  • Mobile Device Branding: Motorola | Samsung
  • Mobile Device Info: Motorola Moto G (4) Moto G4 | Samsung SM-G920I Galaxy S6

Leave your opinion

I will keep updated the post as I learn new things about this mysterious referral. If you have additional information about it, let me know in the comments, it will greatly help other Analytics users.