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Google Analytics Spam Attack? Here's How to Fix Your Data

Oct 5, 2015

Whether you are a marketing professional or a small business owner, you probably rely heavily on Google Analytics to monitor your website’s progress and conversion efforts. Over the last 6 months or so, you may have noticed that strange websites started popping up as traffic referral sources with more and more regularity. As these sites and traffic numbers have continued to increase you are probably finding it more and more difficult to wade through your data. This prohibits you from easily obtaining non-corrupted numbers you can use to make decisions for your department or business. But who are these strange websites, and more importantly how do you get rid of them and restore your data back to normal?

Who are these sites who are spamming your analytics account?

Are sites like buttons-for-website.com and success-seo.com causing you an analytics nightmare? These sites have developed a crawler to purposefully show up in your analytics as a visit as some sort of sick marketing tactic to get you back to their site. Their hope is that you will see their site in your analytics, wonder who it is, and miraculously convert when you see their offering. However, what they are actually doing is causing a boatload of problems by corrupting your analytics data, and preventing you from getting true data for your businesses’ web activities.

Here’s a quick fix for your problem. Click Here to Download a Customized Advanced Segment for Your Analytics Profile  (We will tell you more about how to use it shortly)

Why these spam sites are much more than just a nuisance

Does your account look like this?

Analytics-Spam

If it does, then you have a problem on your hands from a data perspective. You can see the culprits (success-seo.com/e-buyeasy.com/buttons-for-website.com) listed in the analytics snapshot above. At a cursory glance, you will see that these sites contributed almost 200 out of 861 total visits to the website on this day alone, which is certainly a misleading indicator of how much traffic you are receiving. However, there are other numbers that may not be as obvious that are getting severely corrupted as a result.

If you look at the top line (aggregate) you will see that 73.29% of this particular site’s visitors are there for the first time, 65% of them bounced,  they visited 2.51 pages on average, and spend 2 minutes and 41 seconds on the site. By and large these are very average numbers but are very misleading because of the large number of spam visits that are showing up. You will notice that every single one of the spam visits was a new visitor that immediately bounced after viewing 1 page for 0 seconds. This leads to some seriously skewed numbers.

Let’s see what happens when we apply the advanced segment in your analytics account to get rid of the spam data.

As you can see, the spam data is gone and our total number of visits for this particular day have moved down to 644 total visits, which is an accurate number. However, you will also notice that only 64.44% of your visits are from new users (was 73.29%), your bounce rate is actually 54.35% (instead of 65.85%), your visitors are going to over 3 pages per visit (instead of 2 1/2), and your time on site is up almost a whole minute (03:35 vs. 02:41). Those are some big differences and could impact some of your decision making abilities when it comes to your interactive marketing.

So What do I do to Fix?

Here’s a quick fix for your problem. We have written an advanced segment to help you strip out most of the spam data that currently exists. Click below to download the segment and save it to the appropriate Google Analytics account that you would like to fix.

DOWNLOAD ADVANCED SEGMENT HERE

Once you have added this to your Google Analytics account, you may need to get a few quick instructions to show you how to put it into use. In the interest of time, I have added a quick video from YouTube that does a great job of visually showing you where to go and how to use.

Alert – These Spam Bots are Constantly Changing!

Unfortunately, you will find that these advanced segments will only get the job done for the spam bots that we have identified. There are others that are popping up all of the time, so if you ever need to get an updated version of the segment, please feel free to contact us directly & ask for help or redownload from the links above.