I had blogged about getting traffic through bots leaving referral signatures, and it seemed as if the whole internet saw this happening on their sites. After I blogged this post, Moz.com came out with suggestions on putting filters on Google Analytics to clear our your analytics data.
Spamming the Analytics data of websites is now an old practice. It’s better known as Referral Spam, and I have written about this in the past at multiple times. Purely a black hat practice, I doubt whether it would give great returns.
Yes, it would give traffic to the spammer, but how does that really translate into revenue. Or is the tactic hoping to drive gullible folks by the hordes?
The referral spam industry for some reason also loves to send the geographical position as Samara. For those of you who are noticing this now, here’s how the tactic works.
How Referral Spam works
- The bot hits a particular site for multiple times in the day
- The analyst sees his Google Analytics account, and gets surprised by a spike in traffic. Who wouldn’t mind seeing such a spike :)
- The obvious report to check this out would be the Source / Medium in the Acquisition section.
- There staring at you in all glory is the spamming domain
- The analyst gets curious, and visits the site
The rest, would not be history, it would be a scam.
How should I combat this?
Raven Tools has a comprehensive article on combating Referral spam. They have listed multiple methods to ensure that this spammy data is not accounted for in your analytics data.
Personally, I allow the data to reside in my Master Data View. The reason behind that is – since I do not look at aggregate data anyways (I prefer lots and lots of custom segments), I am not too bothered with that data! I do however, mark it as a annotation on my GA. That’s the advice I would give to anyone.
Some months back, I noticed a trend in the Google Analytics data of all the sites I monitor. It was Referral Bots leaving behind a spammy domain with the hopes of the webmaster will visit that domain out of curiosity. I wrote about this Black Hat tactic of Referral Bots as well.
Saturday is the day when I take a hot steaming cup of coffee and start looking at how my blog has fared over the week. This is one time which I allot to all personal projects. As some of these projects come to a closure, I would be more than happy to talk about these here.
So, I open up Google Analytics and boom, I see a small surge in traffic. Curious to know the source, I look at the Source/Medium acquisition report –