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HOW TO PREVENT REFERRER SPAMS FROM HIJACKING YOUR GOOGLE ANALYTICS DATA

spam

Anyone who has the access to the virtual world of internet knows a thing or two about spams. Spam as such is an attempt to flood the internet with many copies of the same messages. Just like its definition, there are many species of active spammers with prying eyes, who are trying to sneak past your online presence to gain access of your private confidential information.

In this article, we’ll talk about the Referrer Spam community on the rise, which is using such shady tactics to get access of your Google’s web analytics and using that information to draw more traffic to their sites. So, if you are a SEO professional, content marketer or a webmaster then you must be quite aware of the message, we are trying to convey through this rather brief article on “Referrer Spam”.

About Referrer Spams

Referrer spam can be defined as a deceptive streamlined traffic from bots that rather imitates the referrer links. It’s a unique form of spam content that the webmaster can track from your web analytics dashboard. It can surprise you by showing up as a deceptive traffic referral, as search entry, or confront you directly. You’ll be flabbergasted with its rather ingenious functionality.

Talking about the term “referrer”, which can be replaced with any name or link and comes into the picture when you happen to share a link via HTTP header, while navigating from one page to another. You can track this information from your web analytics account, which will open up a sea of information about the demographics of your targeted audience.

Besides that, the spamming community ensures that they use this information to promote their clients by sending numerous requests to your site, which can be tracked through your web analytics report. This continuous lifting of your web analytics report is termed as Referrer Spam.

What’s its motive?

As a webmaster, all you can do is continuously keep a tab on your analytics report and if you find indications related to some sort of phishing activity but don’t understand it in totality. Then you may probably follow clickthrough those links or visit sites to satiate your curiosity levels. And that’s what these online goons want from you. They will redirect you through an affiliate link so that they can decrypt your confidential information, when you’re doing an online transaction. The same process is repeated with every other user. And with the online shopping community growing at a brisk rate as never before then you can imagine the number of online frauds we are talking about?

But there’s a way to track their progress. By clicking through the referrals report in your analytics account, you can sort them in the descending order and find that the bounce rates are slightly higher for deceptive referral accounts.

How do they affect your site?

You may feel a bit annoyed with the obtrusion of your web analytics data. But the overall damage to your site can be evaluated on the basis of the size and the traffic that attracts your online presence. For instance a massive online retailer site like Amazon can’t defend a few thousands of such spamming attacks then just imagine the plight of several such independent businesses like yours. But the issue at hand is about the shielding of the real-time web-traffic reports, which forms the basis of your marketing campaign.

Just like your marketing campaign, your SEO rankings get a backside hit too. The reason being too many spamming requests causes the breakdown of your web server and that reflects in the increasing bounce rates of the overall web traffic to your site.

You may not know the real motive behind sending such multiple spamming requests to your site but creating security loopholes to lift your web analytics report is just one of the many impending reasons that needs your consideration.

How can you stop them?

As a preventive measure, you can block the related URL’s via .htaccess file in your domain’s root access. But this is not the ideal method to follow because it doesn’t work at all. The reason being that most of the referrer spam bots don’t visit your site as such. Talking about such referrer spam bots, there are two species that exists – The Crawler Spam and the Ghost Spam.

The Crawler type of spam is the least common among the two. To annul it from your system, you can use the web crawler similar to how Google crawls your site, which requires visiting your webpage. You can block their passage via .htaccess file.

The Ghost Spams have the ability to not only infringe your Google analtics account but also to completely run through your website. Hence blocking .htaccess file makes no sense at all. Instead, you should filter them out of your system, which can be enabled through your Google analytics account setting option as below

Admin > All Filters > New Filter

ref-spam1

Just follow these commands as below:

Open the new filter tool > create custom exclude filter > include your site’s domain name > then filter out in the filter pattern box which reads as below:

domain\.|domain\.

To block “semalt” and “darodar”

Follow the commands as below:

semalt\.|darodar\.

Ensure that the domain name comes before “\.” with “|” separating the two entries. Which looks like as below:-

ref-spam2

 Your Actionable Takeaways

As a business owner, you would probably like to get rid of as much of these spams as possible irrespective of its source of origin. But getting rid of these referrer spams is not only important but also vital from your business utility point of view. And with some research on the topic, you can set a preventive system on your dashboard to completely block or get alerted from its presence, when it makes its presence felt in your Google’s web analytics reports much to your surprise.

 

And if you are still concerned with the overall security of your website, do check out our Website Maintenance Packages with features such as secure backups, website performance audit, uptime monitoring and more. For more information, you can email us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free).

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC

website-traffic

Social media is playing a vital part in luring huge percentage of overall website traffic. Shareaholic’s recently released the “Social media traffic report” which made it crystal clear that the top eight social media platforms including Facebook, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn & YouTube drove 31.24% of overall traffic in 2014 which was 22.71% last year. A pretty decent hike of 8.53% in just a single year. This data comes from the huge network of “300K+ websites reaching 400 million unique monthly users across the globe.

So if you are not indulged in social media marketing or aren’t that active, you are missing out a gigantic share of the audience or to be more specific potential customers. I have listed some points on which you can work on to increase your website traffic by 300% and more.

Step #1 – Analyze your Current Position

First and foremost make a list of the social media platforms where you are active or want to be active and why.

  • Platforms in which you already have an account.
  • The URL of your profile
  • Account access information. e.g. – username & password.
  • Current fanbase
  • Last update
  • Types of Content
  • The level of interest your current audience shows.
  • Is any paid activity going on?

It seems like a no-brainer, but noting everything down gives you a precise idea about the abandon, active and other accounts made by your employees or friends on your or company’s name. This simple process will help you eliminate the rest of the unnecessary clutter and will help you highlight your main account or page so that your audience will come to your page only.

Step #2 – Understand your Industry

And now when you have a fair idea about your social media presence it’s time to move to the second step – Start Looking for your competitor’s campaign and also 5 tycoons of your industry. Evaluating your competitors, successful campaigns can help you force start yours. Gather as much information as possible; it will help you in creating the best possible social media campaign.

Step #3 – Identify Key Metrics

As you closely analyze the theme and strategies your competitors and industry tycoons are implementing, a blueprint of your future social media campaign will start taking shape. Your mind will automatically start visualizing themes, ideas and strategy. But don’t start Right Now, sit down and think deeply about the metrics you will use to evaluate your campaigns success percentage.

The metrics will entirely depend on the overall objective of your marketing campaign, But it can also include any from the below:

  • Website referral traffic
  • Brand mentions
  • Follower engagement
  • Leads generated
  • Blog engagement
  • Brand awareness
  • New followers
  • Brand sentiment

Step #4 – Set Goals

After deciding the metrics, it comes to the part where you should set a goal to determine whether your efforts are being fruitful or not. You can set a goal based on the past performance. For instance: if your last campaign generated 40% referral traffic, you can set the next goal to 50% or you can also set a goal based on the competitors’ performance. For example: If your competitor has 50,000 Facebook fans and your page only have 30,000, your next goal should be achieving 50,000 fans. Setting a goal based on ROI will also help you in determining your campaigns success. Like, you can set a goal of generating 5 dollars from every dollar you spent on paid social ads.

Step #5 – Repeat your Audit Regularly

Review your campaign regularly and check whether they are serving on your goals or not. Time to time auditing is also a pre-requisite. Maybe it seems less important than your other marketing efforts, but it is equally important. Because reviewing and modifying your strategy accordingly will help you in achieving your biggest goal of increasing your website traffic.

Need help with website audit? We can help you analyze your website with the most important on-site, off-site, local and social metrics. Request a FREE SEO Audit today. Alternatively, you can email sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free) for assistance.

FACEBOOK TOPPLES GOOGLE AS THE TOP REFERRAL SOURCE FOR DIGITAL PUBLISHERS

The battle of supremacy between the two social media giants is taking a new turn with the Facebook driving more referral traffic than the Google. This not so surprise change in the supremacy of power was evident by the recent pullback of services by Google as compared to Facebook making some great acquisitions in its ranks. This is an indicator of the growing popularity of Facebook as the numero uno of social media industry.

It’s not just about acquiring the numero uno position, but its pitted between social referral and social engine referrals.

According to a recent Parse.ly study, Google has been toppled by Facebook as the ace referral source for digital publishers.

facebook-google-referrals

On this recent power shift, Andrew Montalenti, The CTO of Parse.ly says that many factors are behind this change. But the major breakthrough came back a year back, when Facebook started taking it more seriously in forging ties with them and start promoting it:

About the move, he says that “I believe the reason Facebook did this is because they realized that a lot of the interesting conversations happening around the web were happening around major news, media and information, but the user-generated content was not enough to sustain the interest of Facebook’s users population.

That was the main reason behind Facebook launching Instant Articles to strengthen the ties with the publishers in an attempt to revive and promote its news feed content

All of these initiatives taken together you might describe as a gradual but nonetheless accelerated courtship Facebook is doing with media companies to encourage them to care just as much about Facebook content optimization as perhaps they cared about search engine optimization.

Going further with the story, Montalenti says that No.1 ranked social media hubspot will forge new ties with publishers and developers in an effort to constantly serve its News feed section, and in the process it might have aced in the rankings, which is the main reason behind the sudden surge of Facebook in toppling the ranking charts alongside the No.1 search engine.

Facebook is already providing close to 40 percent of traffic among other referral sources that we’ve identified, and that is only rivaled by Google and search as a channel.

But Google still rules the roost as the No.1 search engine both in terms of referral source and in attracting highest referral web traffic and Montalenti can’t see anyone toppling it in the near future. About the credibility of the Parsely data, he says that the source is much more indicative of a particular niche group in the online media, rather than the larger section of the web community.

Finally, Montalenti says that Facebook will find it tough in a way it works to beat Google in generating more web traffic as compared to Google, which can use its long search handle to good effect.

Facebook is more like a serendipitous browsing activity for its users. So it kind of makes sense that it’s driving an increase in share of media brand traffic because media brands are taking advantage of the zeitgeist of current discussions in the community and Facebook is reflecting that in their News Feed algorithm.”

With that said, to make short of the story, Google still holds numero uno position as a major search engine referral source, which generates more online referral traffic as compared to Facebook, which is continuously a growing search referral community peaking at the right moment to gain the upper hand in this battle of supremacy as the numero uno.

If you want more exposure for your brand or company in the social ecosystem, kindly check out our social media packages. Alternatively, you can email sales@ebrandz.com or Call 1- 888-545-0616 (Toll-Free) for assistance.