If you get something other than ‘unknown.com,’ Google that thing and figure out what the source is!
For example, a while back I noticed a client getting their surge from
At least, it’s very exciting until you engage in your usual breakdown of traffic and realize this sudden windfall of good fortune – unlike any sort of traffic numbers you’re used to seeing – is not at all what it seems. The average time on site, percent of new visitors, and bounce rate figures are appalling.
It’s important when you see an anomalous surge like the above to ask yourself: Have I done anything on the site recently that justifies this surge? Maybe it was an infographic you spent months on, or something as simple as an article retweeted by a celebrity or major corporation.
What a Valentine’s Day treat – 77% of all my traffic arriving from Palo Alto, California! I won’t pretend my site is the world’s most revered, but a 99.42% bounce rate is a little strong.
And why the sudden interest from little old Palo Alto?
You’re sitting there in front of your computer, all set to analyze another day’s worth of Google Analytics traffic, and BOOM! On occasion, though, spam bots can sneak through Google’s barriers.
Right now, we know that the website is recording bogus visits and we know where they’re coming from. The first test here is to check out what domain all these visits are coming from.There are a handful of ways to do this, but the simplest is from the location analysis we just did.Add ‘Domain’ as your secondary dimension to all those visits from the single location in question.A little bit of digging, and I found that aws could stand for Amazon Web Services (or Analytics Web Spammer). From the graph above you’ll likely be able to verify the network generating this surge.In my example, the connection is abundantly clear – My friends in Palo Alto happen to be Palo Alto Networks. The easiest way, purely from a data analysis perspective, is by creating an advanced segment in Google Analytics that excludes the spamming service provider we just identified.To validate the origin of these visits, my first recommendation is to view the ‘All Traffic’ section of your analytics (Traffic Sources – All Traffic).