Cleaning up your Google Analytics spam traffic
If you own a website, it’s likely you are familiar with Google Analytics. It’s powerful software that allows you to analyse your website’s traffic. If you haven’t started using it on your website, you should consider it. Check it out here.
Up until last year or so, Google Analytics has worked pretty much flawlessly. Recently, however, many website owners are experiencing the same peculiar occurrence: their sites are showing a large increase of visitors from countries that they typically saw no traffic from at all. You may be thinking, “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is,” and you are correct. Your website hasn’t become an overnight hit in Ukraine or Russia; the flood of traffic you are seeing from such countries is “spammy” traffic and not real.
What is this traffic then and why is it happening? Essentially, it is caused by an internet bot/crawler, and the purpose is simple: to get you to click on a referral path which will more than likely send you to a fishy website. If you think about it, it’s pretty smart. These instigators can send this bot into millions of websites with the hope that they can tempt the website owners to click on the referral URL. The referral URL link will undoubtedly be a way for someone to make a dishonest profit. For example, the referral URL link may lead the website owner to Amazon. The webmaster is confused in the moment and dismisses it, but in the next 2 weeks returns to Amazon to make a purchase. The spammer will then get paid by Amazon because their referral link “sent” the buyer to Amazon.
Enough about this talk – Just show me how I get rid of them once for all!
The best and safest way of getting rid of this spammy traffic is by implementing a valid hostname filter for spammy visits. There are two steps you need to take:
1. Identify possible sites that are linked to your website that may be eliciting unwanted traffic. Select your valid hostnames by clicking Audience > Technology > Hostname. Normally these would be yoursite.com, www.yoursite.com and some other sites that you have connected with your site such as youtube.com or ebay.com. Save them in this format: yoursite.com|youtube.com|ebay.com and copy this for the next step.
2. Now that you have identified your valid hostnames, simply follow these steps: Admin > Filters > Add filter. Create new filter > name it “Hostnames” > Click “include” > Select “hostnames” from the drop down > paste in the hostnames you copied from step 1 above. Click save.
That’s all you need to do. Now you can say goodbye to those inflated traffic numbers; you will be seeing genuine visitor traffic once again.
If you need help with your traffic reports or simply need help with your website, please don’t hesitate to contact us.