If you’re in charge of your company’s Google Analytics reports, then you may or may not have heard about ghost spam. If you’ve heard of it, and are currently battling it – we salute you.
Ghost spam hijacks your Google Analytics ID (ex: UA-XXXXXXX-XX) and plops a fake visit in your analytics report. These visits don’t interact with your site at all, however, they bypass your site by requests of HTTP interactions to Google’s servers saying they did. This is why it’s called “Ghost Spam.”
This spam hikes up your site visits – which can totally make your day until you realize it’s all fake. Corrupt analytics data doesn’t help anyone, especially if you’re making important business decisions based on this information.
Where Can It Be Found?
Ghost spam typically presents itself as “referral spam” which can be found in the “Acquisition/Overview/Referrals” section in Google Analytics:
In early November, companies started seeing a new kind of spam showing up in their “Language” panel:
Why Does Ghost Spam Exist?
Spammers try to target analytics managers through their reports to either get their attention for a specific service, spread malicious code, or simply to brag. If you’re trying to figure out what a suspicious URL is, you may be tempted to click on it. Once that happens, a spammer could be receiving a commission. That’s probably the last thing we want to do. Instead, perform a search for that URL or phrase. More than likely someone has already written about it.
You also don’t want to infect your computer if that link has malicious code. If you insist on clicking the link, I suggest you double-check that your antivirus program is updated and running.
Get Rid of the Spam
Thankfully you can clean up your analytics through filtering. Our buddies at Ohow.com have provided very useful step-by-step instructions via their Ultimate Guide: How to Get Rid of the Spam and Other Junk Traffic in Google Analytics. If you’re seeing the language spam in your analytics, hit up Analytics-Toolkit.com for their article on Language Spam – The Latest Google Analytics Spam.
Remember that bad data = bad decisions. We recommend using one of the guides above to help you clean house before you’re visited by the Ghost Spam of Christmas Future! If you need help, give us a call at (915) 351-8440.