Identifying Traffic Spam in Google Analytics
When there is a sudden spike in traffic to your website, it is most likely the result of marketing, some sort of PR, or campaign. It is important to understand where your traffic is coming from and why. To determine whether your increased traffic is from genuine visitors, or in some cases, spam.
What is Spam Traffic
Spam traffic is unwanted bots or spiders that are coming to your site and skewing the data of real users. Within Google Analytics, spam traffic can be identified and filtered out to get a better idea of what your real visitors are doing, where they are coming from and what they do once they get to your site.
How to Determine Bot Traffic
There are multiple indicators within Google Analytics to determine suspiciously high traffic. The core metrics to investigate right away are the bounce rate, amount of new users, session duration, and user location.
Bounce Rates show how many visitors entered the site and didn’t interact at all before exiting. This is abnormal behavior for a genuine user that is browsing.
If the amount of new users on your site has significantly increased with no explanation compared to previous periods the traffic may be spam. You will want to determine where this new traffic is being sent on your website and look where they are coming from. If the information shows that the majority of these new users have a dramatically high bounce rate you can conclude that the traffic is no good.
Usually bot traffic will not spend more than a few seconds on a site. Session Duration can help to see how long, on average a user has spent on your site during their session. Spam traffic doesn’t browse or take action on a website and spending little to no time on the website is a high indicator that it isn’t quality traffic.
Another metric that can be analyzed is the user location. If traffic is coming from a city, state, or country that is not included in your target audience it is a huge red flag.
Filter Out Known Spam
Filtering out unwanted traffic from your reports is a great option in order to analyze data without bot traffic skewing the numbers. Filtering Google Analytics is simple, make sure the box to “exclude all hits from known bots” in your view settings is checked. After that, when suspicious traffic shows on your reports you can simply exclude that data from your view as well. The filters will collect and show data starting the day you create that view.
We Can Help
As digital marketers, Amplimark utilizes data to make informed decisions and plan strategies. We continuously monitor our clients website traffic and use the knowledge we gain to create individual goals. Determining bot traffic is not necessarily difficult if you know what you are looking for. Before taking action on suspected spam traffic, we suggest finding multiple indicators in the metrics so you aren’t accidentally disregarding authentic traffic.
If you need help with your branding or marketing needs get a hold of us at 515.225.6438 or contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. .