Annoying Spam Traffic - How to get rid of it
Have you been noticing strange increases in traffic and wildly high bounce rate data in your Google analytics data? Perhaps you logged in recently and were pleasantly surprised with the massive spike in the percentage of new visitors and thought to yourself “hey my digital marketing spend is finally paying off”. This statistic on its own is a dangerous one to confide in as are any percentages in isolation.
How to find spam traffic
In your google analytics reporting view navigate to source/medium under the Acquisition tab.
Once here you’ll see a list of the sources that visitors use to reach your site. Most likely the common ones like google / organic, (direct) / (none) and facebook may be there. What we’re looking for here are strange spammy names like these.
Now before coming to any conclusions it’s important not to look at any one piece of data in isolation, each spam traffic suspect must be investigated for bounce rates, pages per session and time on site as well as the good old manual copy and paste of the link to see what the page is about.
Here’s an example of the top 5 Source / Mediums for this example account. There are 3 sources with a suspect bounce rates being either 0% meaning that every visitor to the page interacted with the page without fail or 100% bounce rate meaning no visitor to the page interacted at all with the page. Further investigation by looking at the pages per session tells us that one of the 3 suspect sources has a pages per session of just 1.00 and they stayed for how long??? 0:00:00 seconds hmm suspect, i think so. Highly unlikely that 26 people came to a page and all interacted in the exact same way, this looks like more of a robot at work.
Filtering Spam Traffic From Data
Once you’ve discovered who the culprits are you’ll need to remove them from your data. Google Analytics allows you to create different views for different purposes, you should always have a backup view which never gets changed because once you start to alter a view you're telling Google to no longer track certain aspects of your data. So if you haven’t already then create 2 views the first one called “All Traffic” and the second one called “Master” you will be making changes to the Master view.
Once your view has been created navigate to the Filters tab, once open click +Add Filter.
All you need to do from here is past the url source which you discovered via the data into the Filter Name then select the custom option in order to exclude data based on a referral url. Enter the Url and click create.
If spam traffic is an issue on your site you’ll most likely see a dramatic increase/decrease in bounce rate and a reduction in traffic. This is a good reduction in traffic though as the data will now be based on true visits and not robots who were never going to contact or buy from your business.
If you're keen to clean up your analytics data even further there are other filters you can create like removing your IP address and the IP address from any other people who work for the business and regularly access the site for different reasons. Why would you do this? because employees/designers/programmers use the site extremely differently compared to your visitors, they may stay for only a few seconds on a page to copy and past something or they may stay on a page for an entire day trying to fix something. This dramatically skews your data and renders it useless.
Keep it clean and make it count,
Welcoming comments, feedback and connections,
Lenny Manor, Conversion Rate Optimisation Specialist Advanced Conversion
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