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Ive recently seen a large spike in organic traffic to a website in Google Analytics, to diagnose the spike ive done / will do (will do becuase some of the data is not available yet) the following :

  • Review clicks and impressions in webmaster tools (will do)
  • Review weather forecast in moz weather (to check for algo changes) (have done, its a mild day by the looks of things (22/06/15))
  • Review google places clicks and impressions (will do)

While im waiting for further data from the sources above which are not 'live' i was wandering can organic traffic be spoofed in the same way as refer spam, and if so has any one seen it before as i couldnt see an obvious benefit for someone doing it, in the same way there is with refer spam.

  • Hmm, weird, I've not seen spam there - just on referrals. Question, though...what is the traffic quality in organic? Lots of high bounce rates with low time on page? Or, is it pretty normal traffic? Normal could be a sign that this isn't spam. Also, is it a variety of landing pages or just some landing pages? If it is just some, maybe you have an uptick in rankings that explains this spike? – Matthew Edgar Jun 22 '15 at 14:32
  • @MatthewEdgar good points, the traffic is 53% new sessions compared to 76% previous 7 days, 23% compared to 39% - it seems as if its real traffic, but quite allot of returning compared to normal – sam Jun 22 '15 at 14:45
  • Sam - hmm, well, given that it is repeat that could be a sign of bots coming back to the site over and over again. Is the 23% the bounce rate? That is fairly low and generally bots only hit one page at a time. What about time spent - average, higher, lower? Bots tend to be lower time. I'd also take a look at your server logs to see if you can trace this back to a certain IP address (or talk to your hosting company for help). – Matthew Edgar Jun 22 '15 at 23:24
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Almost any dimension can be faked by the spammer. So far I've seen it as:

  • referrer (the most used)
  • pages (like guardlink)
  • events (event-tracking)
  • organic (darodar)
  • and even fake direct visits

*Some of them show in more than one dimension

Until now I've detected huge spikes on referrer, pages and fake direct visits, for organic I've seen only hits in small amounts. So probably what you have is not spam.

But to be sure add as a second dimension hostname if you see not set or a fake/weird hostname then is spam, like in the image I attached

To take care of all ghost spam no matter where it shows you can use a filter based on your hostnames. Here you can find more information about that:

And here is the list of all keyword spam I've found

enter image description here

  • Can't the hostname be spoofed too? – aleclarson Oct 6 '17 at 12:57

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