Analytics
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Understand information in your reports and troubleshoot reporting issues such as self-referrals, (not set) data, and inaccurate information
 
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Constant Surges in Direct Traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

My site constantly experiences sudden surges in Direct traffic.

The traffic does not appear to be real. It happens in sudden bursts, as I can see it in real time reporting. The traffic all comes from the same location (usually either London or a place in USA called Charlton) and the traffic is dispersed across a number of different pages including [WP] category pages, author bios and old, archived articles (basically articles that people rarely visit.)

 

It's sort of like a traffic "bomb" of sorts. The traffic hits and lasts for around 5-6 minutes and then goes. The bounce rate is near 100%. It happens several times during a day, to varying degrees.

 

It is obviously some sort of bot.

 

Problem is my analytics reporting is now near useless. While I would usually get around 500-700 daily Direct traffic, I now get over 4000 daily Direct traffic, which is a sizeable portion of my overall traffic. The visits are recording in analytics, and as such my reporting stats are way off base.

 

If anyone can answer, here are my Qs...

 

What is it?

Why am I being targeted and to what end? Is there anything in it for people responsible? I know some analytics referral spam can be used to promote web domains, but this isn't referral spam, it's direct traffic spam.

Can I block it without having to block all Direct Traffic? (I'm no expert in analytics, so a "layman's" explanation would be ideal !)

 

Thanks!

Constant Surges in Direct Traffic

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Craig,

 

Perhaps it's some kind of crawler? Have you excluded hits from known bots and spiders in the view settings within the admin? 

Perhaps also update your robot.txt file. If this doesn't help you can also dig a bit deeper and setup a filter to exclude the traffic source once you find the source of the problem.

 

Any further advice just hit me back up on here.

 

Thanks,

Adam

Constant Surges in Direct Traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I haven't excluded crawlers because I didn't think a crawler would cause so many different hits, but I guess that would be a good place to start so I shall set that up and let you know. Thanks.

 

Constant Surges in Direct Traffic

Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭

Also try a hostname filter 

Constant Surges in Direct Traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I have enabled the option to filter out known bots and spiders, but the direct traffic (which has 100% bounce and 0.00 adv session time) is still extremely high.

 

Not sure what you mean by a hostname filter, I'm not an analytics expert. Could you expand?

 

Any other suggestions.

Constant Surges in Direct Traffic

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Craig,

 

What Soumik advised should work.

 

Above your report you can apply a secondary dimension. Select hostname, this will show you where the hits are being sent from. You should only see your sub domains, cross domains appear in here. If any other websites appear in here you can create a custom segment which excludes traffic from this hostname and compare it against all visitors. If you are happy and convinced that it is spam traffic you can create a filter which excludes that host name.

 

Thanks,
Adam

Constant Surges in Direct Traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi,

 

I have gone into Behaviour, Site Content, All Pages and selected Hostname as the primary dimension.

My own domains accounted for 99.8% of traffic. There were a handful of unknown domains, but their effect will be negligible (each accounting for 0.01% of my traffic.) As such, I don't think a hostname filter will work.

 

Any ideas? This is a real pain, I've just encountered another burst in direct traffic - again from London - which visited around 100 different webpages on my site. My Direct Traffic for this month is now my highest source of traffic when usually it's safely in third place (behind organic and social.)

 

Argh!

Constant Surges in Direct Traffic

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Craig,

 

Try blocking it on user agent level. Using this URL it should provide step by step instructions:

http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2015/04/01/eliminating-bot-traffic-from-google-analytics-once-and-fo...

 

Setup a custom dimension and then exclude that particular user agent. Hopefully this will put a stop to it!

 

Thanks,

Adam

Constant Surges in Direct Traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I don't understand what that guide is discussing (I don't even know what Google Tag Manager is!) so for now I'll just have to accept my Analytics reports are useless until such time I can invest some serious time into learning more about analytics/google tag manager. 

 

Sad really that Google can't do more to stop people flagrantly spamming their service.