Google Finally Fights Bot Referral Spam

Google Finally Fights Bot Referral Spam

Big Ideas

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March 29 2016
Big Ideas
Author: Michael McCaffrey

"Fake" Traffic in Google Analytics 

In recent years, “fake” traffic has become a problem for a lot of website owners. This can cause inflated website traffic and decreased website stats (e.g. typically higher bounce rate, etc). There have been a lot of ways to help minimize the effects of this through some advanced use of Google Analytics, but finally, as of February, 2016, Google has stepped up and implemented a way to remove spammy referrals.

Depending on how much you were affected by this, you may notice a dip in your website traffic in February 2016 and going forward as the update didn’t affect any stats retroactively.

To give an example of how our website was affected, take a look at a snapshot of Sherpa’s referral traffic before and after Google’s fix:

Before The Update

We had implemented several work-around filters to set up views to ignore this information, but we are showing the unfiltered view below for context, yet, still spam was finding its way into our analytics. These links includes website-analyzer.info, traffic2cash.xyz, social-widget.xyz, and traffic-cash.xyz.

/_uploads/images/contenthub-posts/08-2017/GoogleReferralSpamBefore.png

After The Update 

Notice that all the questionable referrals are gone, even in the unfiltered view!

/_uploads/images/contenthub-posts/08-2017/GoogleReferralSpamAfter.png

Noticed a drop in traffic?

If so, it was likely all of the spam referrals being automatically removed. If you have any more questions about Google Analytics, you can contact us.

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