Google Analytics Spam Data – How To Remove The Bots
Google analytics is a very powerful tool for understanding who is visiting your website, how they find your website and how they interact with your website. This information can be used to further enhance your website, grow traffic and most importantly increase your conversions and revenues. However, Google analytics has a flaw – it allows access to it’s platform from different routes and these routes are exploited by websites and companies to spam your analytics. This article explains how to filter the ‘spam data’ (often and correctly called ‘referrer spam’) so you only see genuine human (customers and potential customers) interactions.
Why Are My Analytics Being Spammed?
The first thing you must understand is that these companies are not targeting you or your website. It may feel as though you are personally being singled out, but these spam websites are going after EVERY website that utilises the Google analytics tool (which is probably 95% of all websites on the internet).
These websites are not actually ‘visiting’ your website, they are simply using code and crawling servers to make it appear as though they have visited your website.
Why do they do this? For one reason only – so that you see their website address in your analytics and visit their website.
Once there you might buy their services – which are normally a similar service of getting your website address in to other websites analytics.
Lets do some math. According to a report in late in 2014, there were over 1 BILLION domain names registered around the world. It was suggested that only 25% of these were active websites. If 95% of these have Google analytics and are being spammed that is a lot of people tempted to look at the website of the ‘spammers’. If 0.1% of those buy a service, it is a profitable enterprise
- Registered Domains: 1,000,000,000
- Active Websites: 250,000,000
- Google Analytics (circa): 237,500,000
- Might Visit The Spam Website: 23,750,000
- If 0.1% bought a service: 23,750 customers
So, in adding their website to analytics and if only 10% of people were interested enough to visit their website that equates to over 23 Million visitors to a website. If only 0.1% of the 10% bought the service that is nearly 24,000 customers…
…and then they do it all again with a new website in your analytics.
Why Doesn’t Google Stop Spam Data In The Analytics?
A few years ago Google opened up the Analytics software to Developers. This was for everyone’s benefit so they can add their stats to reports or other services that utilise the powerful information that a websites analytics holds. This loophole allowed the spam websites a back door to analytics.
Google states that it doesn’t use your websites analytics as a measure of where your webpage or website should rank. They claim to separate the ‘search’ division of Google, from the ‘anti-spam’ and ‘analytics’ divisions. Therefore, it doesn’t effect any of the ‘divisions’ within Google. If the ‘anti-spam’ team do not use ‘analytics’ by choice or by policy, they cannot stop these spammers.
In my opinion, it is very likely that Google do not use analytics as a ranking factor. This would leave them open to to questions by competitors or other providers of analytics – as a website with analytics from Google would have an unfair advantage in rankings.
Is Referrer Spam Effecting My Website SEO?
So Google state that the referrer spam is not effecting your rankings, but is it effecting your websites search engine optimisation or SEO? The answer is Yes and No:
Does Referrer spam effect SEO – No
As stated before, the referrer spam website is not actually visiting your website, it simply adds data to your analytics. When you get hit by a referrer spam website your ‘visitors’, ‘bounce rate’ and ‘time on site’ will go through the roof which gives the impression that your website is really popular in terms of visitors, but really unpopular in terms of interaction with your website. As these refer websites are not actually visiting your website they are not effecting what Google sees as interaction with your website. Also, once again, Google state they do not use analytics to rank your website.
Does Referrer spam effect SEO – Yes
Google analytics is a very powerful tool for a business owner or an SEO agency, You can track how people find your website (search terms, keywords and queries), how they interact with your website (what pages they first land on, how long they spend on your webpage / website, which page they leave your website from) and how many convert to paying customer or subscribers (goals).
If you know this data you can use it to drive more customers to search terms and pages that work well, and make changes to pages that are not performing as well. Growing your customer numbers, conversions and revenue.
That is why it is important to have clear, clean Google analytics.
How To Filter Referrer Spam From Google Analytics
This video shows you step-by-step how to filter out the ‘referrer spam’ or ‘ghost referrer spam’ data from your analytics:
In the video you will see that we have taken a “belt and braces” approach to filtering out the referrer spam.
Firstly, we have requested that Google analytics remove all data from known spam websites.
Secondly, we have added filters of about 30 known referrer spam websites so they are directly ‘blocked’
We will add more spam websites to these filters as we discover them (or they discover us) – sign up for our newsletters to be kept up to date on these filters, as well as other information to help your website rankings and business revenues.
Google Analytics Spam Filter #1
Google Analytics Spam Filter #2
Google Analytics Spam Filter #3