Don’t Fall Foul of Website Referral Spam

By September 29, 2015SEO

Spam comes in many different forms; malicious emails phishing for bank details, bot-driven social media posts and last but not least, compressed ‘meat’ in a vacuumed-packed tin. However, are you aware that your business’s website is (probably) being subjected to a less well-known form of spam?

Believe it or not there are untold quantities of websites on the Internet whose sole purpose is to send web traffic referrals to other sites. There is no human being at the other end visiting said websites, just bot software that is programmed to leave (bounce) your site as soon as it arrives.

The majority of the time this is relatively harmless; no malicious software is being installed on your site and no confidential information is being collected (as long as you are protecting it). In fact, when I have spoken to clients about this, responses include ‘so my website is getting more visits?’ and ‘doesn’t Google like sites that get lots of traffic?’

However, if you truly care about your website, you should care about referral spam. As mentioned above, most referral traffic immediately leaves your site the moment it lands, which produces a 100% bounce rate, a zero second average session time and a maximum of one page per session. If you get enough referral spam traffic this will affect your website’s overall metric performance in Google Analytics and skew your perspective of its performance. By not having accurate web analytics you are unable to recognise which parts of your site need improving (from a content and SEO aspect) and which are performing well, e.g. campaign landing pages.

You’ll be happy to know that there is a simple fix to this! At least, in removing the offending referrals from your Google Analytics tracking – not the visits themselves. There are already lots of guides online as to how to do this so I will point you to this one, which also gives you a more detailed background and that I recently shared with a client who was interested in finding out more about referral spam.

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Warren George, Digital Marketing Associate at HarveyDavid. Connect with HarveyDavid and Warren for more insights.