This is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.
Fake traffic bots, comment spams and unwanted website links can eat up your blog’s hosting resources and bandwidth, without providing any benefits in terms of search engine rankings or revenue.
And it can be very exciting for the newbies to see a surge in traffic, but the reality turns out be quite different after a breakdown of the traffic sources.
University of Wisconsin computer science instructor Dr. Paul Bradford conducted a study to detect fake web traffic and found that 10 different traffic networks contributed to 500 million fake impressions in a month, and 50% of the internet traffic is bots. This further has harmful effects on advertisers apart from blog owners, who end up paying for non-human traffic.
The technique can be applied by competitors to harm the reputation of your business or personal blog, and it won’t cost them a lot of money to get started (considering all the gigs being offered on Fiverr, Freelancer etc.).
It’s quite easy to identify fake traffic before you take preventive measures against it. Some of the things you should look are:
1. Visit time frame
Most of the fake traffic will only stay on your blog for 5-10 seconds so if your blog is seeing an unusual increase in bounce rate, it’s a warning sign.
2. Day time frame
When fake traffic arrives at your blog, it will be served during particular hours of the day, and the traffic spike will fade away the next day.
3. URLs of the referrals
With the advancement in spam traffic techniques, fake page views are now accompanied by URLs (there used to be no URLs before) which makes them look genuine. Some examples of suspicious URLs include vid.surfs.ru, owl.ly and linkn.co.
Putting an end to fake/spam traffic
Thankfully there are ways to prevent the damage that can result from traffic spam. Measures to take include:
1. Real-time traffic inspection
You can utilize the real-time feature provided by Google Analytics to see an overview of the traffic, and then filter out the traffic coming from unusual sources/country IPs through segmenting sources. It is even possible for bloggers to utilize solutions that inspect traffic coming from networks and take advantage of security tools that provide security updates to block malicious traffic. Their own Deep Discovery program is one such solution.
2. Install appropriate plugins
Apparently the easiest way to prevent the buildup of fake traffic if your blog is hosted on WordPress, is to install a plugin to protect the site from spam traffic attacks. One of the ideal plugins is Fake Traffic Blaster that detects black hat traffic generation techniques and redirects suspicious visits away from the targeted blog.
3. Don’t participate in traffic exchange networks
Traffic exchange networks are being detected by search engine companies, and bloggers that manipulated their rankings (willingly or unwillingly) are facing a hefty penalty in terms of decreased rankings, revenue and reputation. The best way to avoid negative consequences and prevent non-human traffic from networks is to stay away from them . . . No matter how tempting the offer of attracting page views sounds to you.