For a couple of years now, webmasters and online marketing agencies have been faced with a pernicious problem in Analytics. Referral spam. Referral spam was a technique of submitting fake requests to a website, using the URL of the site that spammers wished to promote.
The idea behind it was that webmasters would click through to the site, in the hopes of seeing where this apparent traffic was coming from, thus generating traffic for the site.
What it did was clog up your Analytics with referrers that were, well, fake.
Falling On Deaf Ears
For those years, Analytics users begged Google to do something about it. In the meanwhile, they were forced to use a variety of workarounds, in order to try and prevent the referral spam from affecting their reports.
Google promised a solution last year, but it looked like nothing was really happening.
And then, in February, the referral spam stopped showing up in Analytics. At least, it stopped showing up in the reporting. If you watch the real time view, it still shows up, but it disappears before hitting the reports.
This might feel like a drop in traffic, but since it was fake traffic anyway, it’s simply that you weren’t getting a true reflection of the traffic.
For webmasters and marketers who’ve been struggling with this, that’s great news. The next question is whether spammers can figure out how to beat the filter that Google has developed.