I applaud Google for launching a Google Analytics demo account, which anyone (with a Google Account) can access. Now we can use a real, live, Google Analytics account to play around with and look at the data. Quite often, it’s difficult to learn all of the Google Analytics features because some websites (in your Google Analytics account) may not have that feature. So this is all good. But there’s only one problem: even Google’s own demo account includes referral spam.
If you look at the screen capture above, it shows that this website apparently has had 9 visitors from free-video-tool.com. Well, that’s absolutely NOT the case. The company that owns that website, related to semalt.com, is, in fact, a company that typically uses some sort of virus/malicious software/spam bot to “fake” traffic to websites. I have written about this before. Even now, two years later, this referral spam like this remains a big problem for Google Analytics users.
When you search for that website, you clearly can see that the website is associated with SEMalt.com, a very big referral spammer. Take a look below:
Referral spam is especially a big problem for smaller websites, who typically only get 10 to 1000 visitors a day. On some days, referral spam can show up as high as 80 or 90 percent of that site’s daily traffic. So, a client may come to me thinking that they had a spike in traffic according to Google Analytics but, in fact, it’s just FAKE traffic.
Referral spam is where someone “fakes” that their website is sending visitors to your website. The theory is if you’re a website owner, you see this traffic from another website, you will investigate it. That website doing to the referral spam gets your attention.
As a digital marketer, a website owner, and a Google Analytics user, I have to say that ON A DAILY BASIS I have to deal with referral spam in Google Analytics. It’s a HUGE problem. Google must absolutely address this issue or I will stop using Google Analytics on my websites and tell my clients to stop using it. Period. Yes, it’s that bad.
There are solutions, and there are people who have come up with solutions to fix the referral spam issue, but that always involves setting up filters in GA so that you filter out all the spam. Well, honestly that’s not a solution.
The solution is for Google to fix the referral spam problem, once and for all.
Apparently Google hasn’t been able to deal with it, as they can’t even filter it out in their own demo account.