Web spam causing illegitimate spikes in traffic in Google Analytics
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hat started out as a great sign slowly turned into total disappointment…what looked to be legitimate spikes in web traffic from within Analytics accounts turned out to be, after a little digging, Google Analytics spam.
So much spam, in fact, that it was causing, in some analytics reports, spikes in traffic by 30, 40, and even sometimes 50%. The problem became widespread; colleagues all reporting these same traffic spikes all starting about the same time, but, why?
Why So Much Spam?
While some spam traffic occurs from robots crawling your site legitimately, some spammers interrupt analytics data in an attempt to get traffic to illegitimate sites.
You may very well have seen some of these spam referrers in your analytics data…recognize any of referring websites?
The spam traffic that results from some of these shady referrers is skewing your analytics data in a significant way.
How To Remove Google Analytics Spam
Removing the spam traffic is critical to gathering accurate data when measuring past marketing and advertising efforts as well as formulating new ones. Successfully taking care of all spam traffic requires three steps:
1. Creating a hostname filter
2. Apply an analytics filter
3. Apply an analytics segment
Each step will take a little time, but for the sake of having accurate data it’s well worth it. The above resources will all walk you through the step-by-step process, but if you don’t have the time then the folks over at Analytics Edge will setup all the filters for $50 bucks per account.
Will Spam Traffic Ever End?
We certainly hope so, but a more realistic expectation would be a quick and simple way to filter out the spam traffic from within Analytics. We know that Google is aware of the problem, but currently none of their features easily filter out all spam traffic.