By Nate Dame
Discovering traffic increases and new referring sites in Google Analytics reports is a great feeling. SEO is time-consuming work, so it’s incredibly rewarding to discover that the effort you’re putting into it is paying off. But before celebrating, it’s important to make sure those successes aren’t the result of fake traffic—Google Analytics spam.
Recently, industry experts have seen an increase in website traffic from spambots, which cause new (false) keywords, languages, hostnames, and referrers to appear in Analytics.
To enjoy the benefits of Google Analytics for measuring SEO and marketing campaigns, you need clean data. By identifying and filtering Google Analytics referrer spam, you can ensure data and reports are clean, accurate, and a reflection of interactions from real users.
What Is Google Analytics Spam?
Google Analytics spam is inflated data that appears when malicious bots send fake traffic to Analytics properties. Many of these fake hits never actually occur—meaning the bots don’t really visit your website. Instead, they spam Analytics accounts with fake data in hopes of conning webmasters into visiting their websites.
Spambots do this by falsifying keyword, language, hostname, and referrer data. When webmasters see this data in their Google Analytics accounts, the natural reaction is to investigate it, searching for the falsified keywords or navigating to the referring websites. This behavior helps spammers increase traffic to their own properties.
But it also completely sabotages the data you need to make good decisions for your marketing strategies. Identifying, blocking, and filtering Google Analytics spam ensures that the data you rely on:
- Is as accurate as possible.
- Is representative of your real audience.
- Reflects a true bounce rate from organic search for key pages.
- Isn’t distorted by spam visits that cause spikes in direct traffic, fake referrals, fake organic keywords, or falsified events and goals.
How to Identify Google Analytics Spam
The first step in eliminating Google Analytics spam is identifying it. Most often, Analytics spam appears in organic keyword, language, hostname, and referral reports.
Organic Keyword Report Spam:
Keywords that specify the web address of an unrelated site are likely the result of spam hits.
Language Report Spam:
Google formats languages as “xx-xx,” so anything in the language report that doesn’t match that format is likely spam.
Hostname Report Spam:
Hostname spam can be more difficult to spot. Additional steps are required to confirm that hostname traffic is the result of Analytics spam.
Referral Report Spam:
Referrals should point to pages on your property. If the landing page for the referral is another websites, it’s likely a spam referrer.
Some spam is obvious—anything in the language report that isn’t a language is clearly spam. Other times, you’ll have to conduct a few tests to confirm that what you’re seeing is spam and not legitimate visits or referrers.
- Compare Google Analytics Data to Google Search Console Data. If a new referring site appears in referral acquisition reports, make sure the referring website appears in Google Search Console under, “Links to Your Site.” Also, compare keywords in Google Analytics that seem suspicious Go to the full article.
Source:: Business 2 Community