Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by David Jones on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, March 26, 2015).

Bot traffic

Hello, I noticed an increase in traffic to my site Bloggingprodotcom on March 3rd, unfortunately my session duration and number of pages visited dropped on the same date which isnt good. On closer inspection it looks like all the traffic is under `c` language which is supposed to be bots, Im going to filter out this traffic from my GA results but why would my site suddenly start getting bot traffic like this? I have mad no recent changes to the site.

Screengrab of c traffic from March 3rd attached btw?

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YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • David Jones: Hello, I noticed an increase in traffic to my site Bloggingpro[dot]com on March 3rd, unfortunately my session duration and number of pages visited dropped on the same date which isnt good. On closer inspection it looks like all the traffic is under 'c' language which is supposed to be bots, Im going to filter out this traffic from my GA results but why would my site suddenly start getting bot traffic like this? I have mad no recent changes to the site.

    Screengrab of c traffic from March 3rd attached btw
  • Edwin Jonk: Scraper?
  • Martino Mosna: totally looks like a scraper, but some data are weird. How come a 14% bounce rate with only 1 pageview/session?
  • David Jones: thanks guys, never thought of it being a scraper, had tons of content scraped in the past (not so much you can do about it) but never seen bot traffic like this due to it. As for the 14% I really have no idea...
  • Martino Mosna:  ;are there GA Events fired with (or after) the pageview?
  • Martino Mosna: I suggest also to check for secondary dimensions such as:
    1- hostname (to rule out the possibility that your GA tag is loaded on another website)
    2- browser (a scraper doesn't usually identify itself as a legitimate browser)
    3- service provider (to check if it's one source or a botnet)
  • Martino Mosna: In case 1 (GA tag loaded on an external website): filter out the data and stop bothering

    In case 2/3: check the data in your webserver logs and 403 the tiny little bastard.
  • Nebojsa Djukic: 14% bounce rate sounds unnatural. Is this a WP website? Such low bounce rate occurs on WP websites when GA code somehow appears twice in your website's html.
  • Martino Mosna: ​ it's almost certainly not a double code, because that would fire more than one page view per session.

    It's most likely a pagevew + an event.

    Very weird though.
  • Nebojsa Djukic:  ;Once I had the same issue with a website after the redesign. Many webmasters in forums mentioned that double code might cause low bounce rate. ;

    Not sure if double GA code would cause more than one page view per session. In this case webmasters would use this trick to mislead advertisers and potential website buyers.
  • Martino Mosna:  ;> Not sure if double GA code would cause more than one page view per session.

    It would :)

    (it's a quite common issue, in fact, I've seen it many times)
  • Nebojsa Djukic:  ;Interesting really :) In this case there is a lot of space for stats manipulation. It's strange that Google hasn't prevented that somehow.
  • Martino Mosna:  ;it's not Google's fault, it's the way every javascrpt based client-side analytics system works :)
  • David Jones: Thanks guys, I will check the secondary dimensions today. I already read about how to filter out 'c' traffic but I want to know where its coming from too and would prefer to be able to block it!

    That 14% bounce rate is only for the c traffic though, the rest of the site bounce rate is about 23% and for en-us and en-gb its between 27 to 35 %
  • David Jones: ok so yes I am getting the redundant hostnames yellow warning, the thing is I had this a few weeks ago and I thought I had fixed it ;

    Property [dot]com is receiving data from redundant hostnames. Some of the redundant hostnames are:
    bloggingpro[dot]com
    www.bloggingpro[dot]com

    so what should I do here? 301 www.bloggingpro to the non www one?
  • Martino Mosna: ​ if you recognize the hostnames, then your server is most likely under spambot/scraper attack. You need to identify the bot into your webserver's logs and block it via htaccess.

    Filtering GA data does not stop the scraping, by filtering alone you're removing the symptom but not the disease ;D

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, March 26, 2015).

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