If you suddenly had a spike of organic/keyword traffic in your Google Analytics for no apparent reason, it is probably a bot or spam.
Spam in GA (or any Analytics tool for that matter) is not a new thing, but most of the time we see it as a referral where it is more visible than the organic search reports.
How to know if the spike is real traffic or spam?
A difference with common bot direct traffic, this type of spam is very easy to identify, you just simply have to go to the Keyword report. If you see a keyword or URL that doesn't have anything to do with your site like www.internettraffic.club then it is spam.
A common technique used by spammers is to use URL shorteners like bit.ly or cut.ly, to camouflage the URL, that way the user is less suspicious of the link and opens it.
Here are a few examples of the latest "google / organic keyword spam" found in GA:
|traffic bot tinyurl.com/urr7y6cf||free seo traffic shorturl.at/uySZ8||www.internettraffic.club|
|cheap seo traffic cutt.ly/NlHolBX||bit.ly/3tIoKz1||cutt.ly/vxg1szE|
How to efficiently filter and remove organic / keyword spam in GA
The most simple solution would be to create a keyword filter in Google Analytics, however, this would be highly inefficient because by the time you apply that filter the spammer most likely already changed the keyword. This is because GA shuts down those keywords within a few days.
So instead of filtering each individual spammer, I prepared a set of optimized filters that will prevent a lot of the spam without having to constantly make updates:
A filter to block future hits and a segment to clean historical data
- (not set) browser filter - This will block future hits from most of the organic search spam.
- Advanced segment - This segment will clean your historical data, filters only work onwards.
Additional measures to keep clean your Analytics
The solutions above will clean traffic from this source, however, there are many other threats that can affect the quality of your data.
Here are a few more guides do to help you achieve the best data quality possible:
- Guide to filtering internal traffic using static IPs efficiently,
- Guide to filtering internal traffic dynamic solution,
- Guide to filtering common crawler spam.
If you need help dealing with this or any other Analytics configuration don't hesitate to contact me.