Anyone with a Google Analytics will likely be opening up to do their January reporting at the moment to find spikes in organic traffic, and in the keyword section some interesting bot related URLs.
And if you go to these sites, you can get “free traffic”, and pay for some more.
Bot traffic and falsified organic traffic isn’t anything new and has been around for a number of years serving various purposes, from Semalt’s weird bot hijacking through to shady SEOs buying traffic to falsify reports for clients.
These kinds of bot spam campaigns are oftentimes achieved through a botnet. At the time of writing this, it’s not confirmed this is a botnet — but it would make sense.
What Is A Botnet?
A Botnet is a collection of computers infected with malicious software, also known as malware, that is controlled by one or more attackers.
The term botnet is short for robot network and the computers collectively are known as bots. A bot is often a computer compromised through malicious activity such as phishing, Trojans (malware), malware, and drive-by downloads. While any computer can be part of a botnet, the majority are vulnerable home computers such as desktops and laptops.
Semalt achieved this through Soundfrost malware, and achieved notoriety in the SEO community.
Outside of SEO, there has been an increase in usage of “botnets” in recent years to attack and disable websites/websites, especially that of governments. You may have heard of the Mirai botnet, and this botnet itself has a number of variations.
A characteristic of a botnet is that it may be across multiple devices and systems, as can be seen from my example of the bot-traffic.xyz spam one of my websites is receiving:
How To Setup A Google Analytics Custom Segment
Data analysis is an important part of digital marketing – so clearing up your data for future use is important.
A custom segment allows you to group together visitors that share certain characteristics.
This can be done by various factors such as keywords, location, landing page, time on site and many more. Once the segments have been created then you can use the data in Google Analytics to compare different segments and see how your visitors have interacted with your website.
Segments can also be imported into Google Data studio, so if you run your reporting that way aside from a couple of clicks you won’t need to change anything – and your board reports will be unchanged (and accurate!).
- Select your web property from the left-hand menu in Google Analytics and click on “Traffic Sources”.
- From the dropdown, select ‘Segments’.
- Click on ‘Create Segment’ and then give your segment a name and a description.
Now, step 4… You want to exclude the spam so that it isn’t skewing your reporting.
Once setup, you can apply the segment to filter out the bot traffic.
You can also use segments in Google Data Studio, and you can find instructions here.