Posted by Tom_C
Before I launch into my inagural moz blog post let me make one thing clear. I’m not a blackhat. We don’t do blackhat work for clients and frankly I don’t do that much of it in my free time either. Just thought I’d like to clear that up before I launch into talking about the shadier things online…. Again!
So, what do we mean exactly by ‘tracked’? Well each time a visitor comes to your site the following kind of information is logged:
- What operating system the visitor is using
- what browser the visitor is using
- What screen resolution the visitor has
- Where the visitor came from
- How long they spend on the site for that session
- Which pages they visit
Along with a bunch of other stuff.
I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted here – you all know what Google Analytics is and how it works so I’ll shut up about that now.
Introducing Analytics Spam
So now you’re up to speed and in the right frame of mind, let me tell you two things:
- The information that analytics picks up about a visitor can be faked.
Why would you want to do this? Here’s just a few uses:
- Inflating traffic to your site in a natural way to increase valuation
- Screwing with a competitors analytics
- Generating ego-bait type visits to spam pages from webmasters
The hardest part to fake would be the IP address. Though even this isn’t impossible by any means.
An Example of Analytics Spam In Action
For anyone that thinks this is never going to happen or thinks it doesn’t work, check out this traffic to my personal blog:
The site in question is: http://iamready4u.synthasite.com/
If you visit the site you’ll see it has auto-generated content and what looks like an auto-generated link to my site. I have a hard time believing that this is genuine traffic (though I’m not 100% sure either way – which is what makes the whole prospect even more troubling)
Is This The Future Of Web Spam?
Could this be the next phase of spam? Will we be seeing Google taking preventative measures against ‘spam traffic’? Are Google already taking preventative measures? Personally I doubt anything much is being done about it as it’s probably a very minor problem but it wouldn’t surprise me if this became a bigger issue in the next 12 months.
More: continued here