You recently noticed a huge spike in traffic to your website. Your Social Media efforts, Online Advertising campaigns, and SEO strategies must be working! Yippee, right? Not so fast! Before you go off bragging to your boss, you might want to take a closer look at that traffic.
Spam traffic has been around for years, but over the last 12 months we’ve seen our clients’ Google Analytics accounts become increasingly impacted by large volumes of spam. Spam traffic is phony traffic that appears in your Google Analytics reports, often times reported as coming from a referring domain that isn't actually linking to your website.
So how do you identify spam traffic?
- Start by looking for unusual traffic patterns in your account.
- Next, analyze the traffic coming in during the time period when the traffic spikes occur.
- Identify what traffic sources are causing the large spikes. Is it traffic you can explain, such as an email blast or new advertising campaign? If so, you shouldn’t have cause for concern and continue on bragging to your boss (if the traffic is performing well, that is!). If not, you may be a victim of spam traffic.
- Look for referral sources that are driving large volumes of poor traffic. Those with 100% bounce rates, low time on site, and zero pages per visit are almost always associated with spam. Often times, it will look like this:
So what do you do about this traffic? In order for your Google Analytics data to be useful to your business, it's important that the data be accurate. This means filtering out that spam traffic so it isn't skewing the data in your account. There are multiple methods to filtering out your spam traffic. You can implement hostname filters, add a spam referral filter or filter your data using an advanced segment. The method that's appropriate for your account will depend on multiple factors, including how the spam traffic is hitting your account.
Spam referrals are just one way spam traffic can hit your Google Analytics accounts. Unfortunately, spammers have gotten more complex and found many different ways to alter your traffic data. If your account has been a victim of spam traffic and you're not sure how to get your account cleaned up so your data is accurate and useful, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us to discuss how we can help!