How to deny visitors from semalt.com

No Comments » Written on February 15th, 2014 by
Categories: Website Development

bannedLately I have seen an increase of visits with the semalt.com referrer.  What is semalt.com and should you be cautious about this? Semalt.com is a service offering webmasters some interesting tools to use, mainly to spy on their competition. Visitors from semalt.com are likely other webmasters operating the same branch as you are, finding your website with the semalt.com tools and coming to your pages to further investigate how you organized your content and SEO to replicate it on their end and out-rank you in search engines.

Do you want this to happen, for other websites to take your rankings in search engines? If you don't mind this, than you should take no action. However if you are concerned about this and losing your organic traffic will also affect your overall earnings from the website, than you should take steps in blocking visitors coming from semalt.com.

A simple solution I identified is using the .htaccess for Apache / Linux servers. Shared hosting accounts would have .htaccess enabled as well, so most of you that are interested in denying access to your website to such visitors should be able to apply this tweak. If you don't know what .htaccess is and how to use it, that simply open a Notepad file, and copy the following code in it, save it with the name htaccess.txt. Once saved, edit its names by cutting the "htaccess" name and putting it instead of "txt", so that the file would look like ".htaccess". This file needs to be uploaded to your website root folder and everything should be ready to go.

.htaccess - deny referrer visitorsRewriteEngine on
# Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} semalt\.com [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F]

The above code in .htaccess file will simply tell the server to deny access to your website to all visits from the domain semalt.com. Visits will include both real people and semalt.com bots, and such visitors will be shown a '403 Forbidden' error message. In most cases, such visitors will not return to your website if they receive such errors several times, as they will believe your website is offline.

There is one more thing I would mention here: you might have noticed the line "Options +FollowSymlinks" above, which is commented with a '#'. Un-comment this line if your server returns a '500 Internal Server' error.