For every website, Google is generally the go-to tool to analyze your data. From keywords, to conversion rates to traffic sources. One specific and popular application is Google Analytics. This free service tells you, website owner the statistics behind sales and where/who their traffic is coming from on your site.
However, this application isn’t perfect and bugs can get past the system.
For example, one day you could be sitting there, reading the days results, and you see an absolute surge in traffic. You’re terribly excited until you realize that these are ‘spam’ visits from various websites. There are several reasons why this might occur and how it can be fixed.
If you see these readings, and you’ve done nothing significant to increase traffic, it’s likely something sneaky is going on. It’s most likely a robot or black hat SEO practice working against you. This traffic could be coming from a number of places – mostly foreign countries like Russia and China. If you start digging through your analytics data, filter the date to the day the spike occurred (or at least the first day it occurred). See if your ‘visitors’ are only looking at one page, immediately bouncing and are registering as new users. That’s a good sign that it’s not real traffic. Another way to tell would be to check out the city in which all the visitors are coming from. If you see one major hit on a city you’ve never heard of, that’s another good bet that you have spam.
A few of the common spam referral sites of late are:
If you’re fairly certain that you have this spam traffic, it’s time to do more research on where it came from. You can check back with the domain in which in came from – which is one reason why these hackers might do it. They simply want to gain more traffic to their site via affiliate links therefore gaining the owners potential future commission. Some of these websites are already gone by the time you look into them. In that case, it’s hard to know the reason for the spam attacks. Sometimes it’s coming directly from a software application such as webhosting. But before you do anything drastic, watch your traffic over time to make sure that this 100% isn’t coming from a legitimate source.
Now that you have reasonably confirmed online bots has invaded you it’s a safe bet that you’re going to want to disable these things and stop them from happening again. This can generally be tougher than it seems. These bots can spring up all over the world and get through Google’s systems. However, your first line of defense to gain accurate data is by using filters.
There are a series of steps that are required to set up filters with your system. This link should help you sort out the whole process. But even if you set up your filters, there’s a chance these spammers could still be visiting your site. Just be sure to be on the lookout every single time you see this surge in data and respond as quickly as possible.
In the end, it is hard to tell exactly why spammers target your website (don’t worry 10000’s of other sites are getting the same treatment). The best step for your website is prevention. Make sure you have all the filters set up correctly and you’re closely monitoring your results. If you do get a surge in traffic, try your best to separate the legitimate sources from the deceptive ones to continue getting the most from Google Analytics.