I've been watching some strange stats in Google Webmaster Tools for a particular page on our site, which has been getting some periods of very high impressions but little or no clicks, and then just this morning I checked and see a huge spike in our aggregate impressions for the most recent day available, July 18th, with 14,600 impressions and no clicks. I set the date range to just July 18th and I see very obviously the spike is due to impressions for one specific search query (that matches up with the page I've been watching).
See the graphs in the attached images. The spike is so ridiculous, it must be bot impression spam. I suppose this craters our click-through rate, and that might be a motive for the spammer?
Webmaster Tools, overall site stats Webmaster Tools, specific search query stats
What should/can I do? I attempted to report this to Google from this page https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport however none of the options fit this situation, and one took me in a circle back to this same page. I ended up just reporting it using the "Paid links" option and filling in "see-details-textfield.com" for the two URLs above the textarea box.
Is Google doing something about this? What can Google do about it? This question is about Impressions showing in Webmaster Tools, but I've already found bot interference with spammed Referral and Direct traffic in Google Analytics with the big jump we're seeing there (only in Direct traffic now that I've added filters for Referred spam). These show nothing strange in Geo-location, but extremely short time-on-site and extremely high bounce rate. So I've read up on that and lots of people are aware. I wonder if Google will do something about that soon. What will they be able to do about spammed impressions for a specific search term?
What does someone gain from spamming impressions for a specific search term? Do they do it to reduce click-through rate of results sites on the first page or two of results so that websites further back benefit? Do they benefit somehow by making Google stats (Webmaster Tools or Analytics) much less useful?
Thanks for any insight!
Our position on this specific query has massively changed a few days after the two impression spikes. Terrible. New graph below. Our position dropped from 6.x to 50! It had been really steady before that. If this is indeed bot spam, it seems like it has been really successful in gaming the system and killing at least our ranking, probably some others as well. Hopefully it recovers, but some damage was definitely done.