Learn more about filtering out spam in your Google Analytics traffic of the past. Segments are your friends!
According to my friend, Bill Hartzer, there are lots of ways that you can filter out the traffic that’s coming from spammy sources in Google Analytics. Today I’m going to show you quick and dirty way for US-based sites to do that in real time so that your reports can be current and you can also look to the past in order to see your data.
However, you’ll notice that on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all the way up to Friday we started getting some crazy high traffic. And if we look in Google Analytics, you’re going to see that in two places the language results have been spammed with some text that doesn’t have anything to do with the language. Then you can see that in Audience Overview.
If you go into All Traffic and you look at your channels, you’ll also see that my social traffic is way off. And if you click on Social, you’ll see I’ve got a bunch of traffic coming from Reddit.
So one of the things that we can definitely say about this particular spammy traffic is that it’s coming mostly from Russia. It’s definitely not coming from the U.S.
How do I know this? I look under Secondary Dimension, which is a really useful tool, and we click on Country, and you can see that this Reddit traffic is coming from Russia.
If we come back up here under our Audience Overview and we change it from Language to Country here, you can very clearly see there’s a lot of traffic coming from outside the United States. It’s not relevant. So what we’re going to do is, as a first important step, we’re going to filter out this traffic that’s not from the United States.
One of the great ways that you can do that with traffic in the past is by working with segments – sometimes I think people ignore these little boxes up here and they’re extremely powerful. If we click on Add Segment, Google Analytics comes with a lot of system-wide segments, and those are really helpful if you want to see traffic coming from mobile devices or organic traffic, etc. If I clicked on Organic Traffic here, unclicked on Users, now it’s only going to show me the organic traffic, the traffic from Google Search that I’m getting on my website. So it’s really interesting information.
However in this particular case, we want to add a custom segment. It looks like I’ve already got one for Canada only, but I would like to have one for the United States only. So click on New Segment, and we want to name that segment. I like to put an exclamation point at the front, just so that my custom segments kind of bubble up to the top of the list. So we’ll say “!United States” only. And then down here under Demographics, we can click on Country Contains United States.
After I do that, it’s going to show me how much of my traffic is coming from the U.S. So I’m going to hit Save, and we’ll get rid of this organic traffic so we can just see the United States traffic. And it’s already made a big difference in the traffic that we’re seeing to the site.
That is something that you can modify for your traffic so that you can get a better idea of what is real traffic and what is spam traffic.
Since Google Analytics is a free tool, and because they don’t directly generate money from this side of their business, they don’t invest as much time in improving the tool.
That’s what I share with my clients as well – we have to be patient and wait for them to make these changes. They’re not always going to make them on our timeline.
Have a great rest of your week and we’ll talk to you soon.