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Blog / HowTos /  Strange Landings in Google Analytics That Don’t Exist

November 13, 2015 - Cathy

Strange Landings in Google Analytics That Don’t Exist

What are Bots and why do they generate traffic to your site?

Bots and also spiders are automated programs that will visit your WordPress sites from time to time. The Google Bot or Spider for instance will visit your site to see if you have added or changed any of the pages on your site so that they can update their information. However sometimes you will find that your site is being visited by smart bots that will be showing up in your analytics, sometimes with massive spikes in the numbers of visitors that you are getting. The problem is that many of these bots are going to skew the data that you have in your analytics preventing you from properly understanding what is going on with your site and in some cases they may even effect your site itself. These bots have the potential to be a security risk on your site and will also increase load on your server which could decrease the load times for your pages. Add this to higher bounce rates as these Bots do not stay for long and you are looking at a very quick recipe for your site dropping in the rankings. So the direct traffic Google analytics data that you are looking at with those spikes of traffic caused by bots could have a real and potentially devastating effect on your site.

direct traffic google analytics

Do you want to exclude this direct traffic Google analytics

If you want to ensure that your data that you use from Google analytics bots is pure without all of the peaks and spikes that are generated through the many bots that could visit your site then you can now exclude the data. There is something called the IAB/ABC International Spiders and Bots list, you can look at this list but that could cost you a membership fee of around $14,000! However Google analytics allows you to use the content of this list without knowing what it is for free so that you can block all known bots from your analytics. If you go to your “Reporting View Settings” in Google analytics you will find at the bottom of the page a tick box for “Bot Filtering”, by selecting this you will exclude them from your Google analytics website traffic data.

How to prevent the bots from visiting in the first place so they don’t show in your direct traffic Google analytics

The best thing of course is to try to exclude these sites from visiting your site in the first place so that they are unable to affect your site in any way. Many of these bots are purely generating spam in huge amounts and are sites such as:

  • Econom.co
  • Darodar.com
  • Semalt.com
  • Ilovevitaly.co
  • See-your-website-here.com

google analytics bots

You can prevent these bots from accessing your site by editing your .htaccess file in your root directory. Before you try this however you should ensure that you back up your site and files fully as any errors in this edit could bring down your site. Copy and paste the following code:

Block Russian Referrer Spam
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*ilovevitaly.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*ilovevitaly..ru/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*ilovevitaly.org/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*ilovevitaly.info/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*iloveitaly.ru/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*econom.co/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*savetubevideo.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*kambasoft.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*buttons-for-website.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*semalt.com/ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*darodar.com/ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ – [F,L]

Use a Plugin to stop Google Analytics Bot issues

If you are using WordPress then there is a very handy Plugin that you can use to help to prevent these Bots from visiting your site once you have noticed them. WP-Ban is an easy to use plugin that allows you to ban unwanted visitors. This can be done through host name, refer URL, IP address, IP ranges and a few other options allowing you to effectively block visits that you don’t want. Want to learn more about GA options? Then go on reading and follow our tips on how to track Google Analytics events.

Need professional help with fixing bot traffic in Google Analytics? Ask our experts to help you through the comments below!

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