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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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Very strange traffic spikes originating from google.com referral itself

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Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hello, I am posting here because, having had trouble with the way my website is ranked in Google, I am keeping a close eye on my visitor statistics.

I have had a huge amount of annoying referral spam traffic and filtered that out, both through server rules, and Google Analytics rules. I have also configured Google Analytics in order not to take into account known spider traffic.

Sometimes I have some "direct traffic" with a high or 100% bouncing rate, I know that's referral spam that still shows because of the server side rules. It has become very low and I don't care about it because I know what it is.

However I have noticed something extremely strange, some huge traffic peaks at a very specific time, with 100% bounce rate, shown up as originating from google.com referral itself, and supposedly as many new users as visits... All of them at a very specific time (today, at 8AM), for one of my websites.

For another website (the same website, but a different language version, and a different domain name), I've seen the exact same kind of strange traffic spike, with the same 100% bounce rate, even more "new users" originating from "google.com referral", keywords not set. The time was different, and it happened a few days ago, but it's the exact same issue: these obviously fake visits were all grouped at the exact same time (or at least during a specific hour).

And, I know that visits coming from google as a search engine should be marked as google/organic, not google.com/referral...

I'm absolutely sure of one thing, it's not natural traffic.

But what the heck is that?

Thanks in advance...

1 Expert replyverified_user
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Accepted by topic author Briac P
May 2016

Re: Very strange traffic spikes originating from google.com referral itself

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Hi,

Google Analytics spammers are using the measurement protocol to send the fake hits so they can fake any of the parameters in the payload.

https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/protocol/v1/parameters#trafficsources

Also check this excellent up to date article about fighting GA spam:

http://help.analyticsedge.com/spam-filter/definitive-guide-to-removing-google-analytics-spam/

Hope this helps.

Arnold Majlath, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Circle Me On Google+ | Visit me @ Redfly Digital

Re: Very strange traffic spikes originating from google.com referral itself

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Strange, besides giving me a headache, I don't get what their aim is, since in that case they are not passing an information through, such as advertising for a website or something, just making a mess out of my statistics.

Anyway I guess it answers the question, it's yet another annoying referral spam attack...

Thanks