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Important Answers About Referral Spam
If you’re responsible for your marketing budget, you probably have Google Analytics (GA) installed on your website to monitor and track its performance. This analytical data has become a benchmark against which you measure your online marketing efforts as well as their return on investment. When doing your reporting, if you are like many others like you, you may have started to notice odd URL’s in the referral analytics reports; these URLS are known as referral spam.
What is Referral Spam?
Referral spam is a term for false referrals to your website that are tracked by and displayed in the reports of GA. These visits to your site are non-credible visitors (in some cases, they are not even visitors to your site at all). The goal of this type of spam is to get you to click on the links because you are curious about those who visited your website. There are many different types of referral spam, and it is dynamic and constantly changing, making it an evasive and time-consuming problem to combat. GA users first noticed this type of spam around mid-April 2015. As of the writing of this article there has been no comprehensive solution for this released by Google.
Could it impact my SEO?
If there’s an “upside” to referral spam it would be that it does not have a negative effect on the SEO of websites.
How does it impact my Google Analytics?
You cannot look at your GA reports and get an accurate snapshot of our web traffic, interactions and goal completions anymore. These reports have become skewed due to the influx of inaccurate data caused by referral spam. Invalid traffic to your website artificially inflates traffic flow, falsifies referral traffic data and makes bounce rates (people who leave your site after one page) inaccurate, among many other types of statistics.
What Can Be Done?
Like any other type of spam, referral spam is constantly evolving. The dynamic nature of this type of spam is one of the biggest challenges when dealing with it. While there have been many articles written on how to eliminate referral spam, there is not a single solution for this problem that has been created, and found to be 100% effective. The solutions that are presented are time consuming and require constant monitoring; causing them to be a costly endeavor with varying results.
The best approach, in our opinion, is to continue to run GA in tandem with another analytics program. This way you still gather the analytics that GA tracks (because when functioning cleanly, this data is awesome!), but also have a simple, and more importantly, accurate view of your website statistics.
As a time and cost effective alternative, Local Link is offering our own website Analytics Program. We will provide you with your own, password protected, custom analytics dashboard, right on your own website. Track what website statistics are most important to your business, without hassle.
For more information on this analytics program, or any of your marketing needs please contact Your Web Team at [email protected] or (603)-433.1158.