New wave of referrer spam wrecking Google Analytics data
If you're seeing a lot of referral traffic in your Google Analytics data, you're not alone. Contributor Jonathan Hochman explains how referral spam happens, lays out methods to combat it and suggests potential solutions for Google's consideration.
A new surge of referrer spam is damaging Google Analytics data sets. These attacks have rendered the Traffic Referrals report useless for many Google Analytics properties. The problem can even be so significant for small business sites that it seriously distorts the number of sessions and page views.
In the following example, lines 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are all spam.
Why would attackers generate Google Analytics spam? Webmasters look at Google Analytics and frequently visit a site that appears in the data. Referrer spam can thus be used to generate traffic and sales leads, spread malware or conduct phishing attacks.
If you see a suspicious site in your referrer data, don’t visit it. Some attacks are just for the “lulz,” like this one:
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.