Reporting on Metrics that Include Tons of Bot Traffic

Reporting on Metrics that Include Tons of Bot Traffic

05.Sep.2021

Background information : Let me guess, you shared a post to your 500 followers and then, boom, you got 45 website visitors off it? Even though you didn’t get a single retweet…

Probably not! What you are looking at is mostly bot traffic. Bots are everywhere online and they crawl all your pages and click all your links, skewing your data. Some generic URL shortening services do not remove bot traffic from their reports, which is just ridiculously rude to marketers and gets their hopes up.

There are a few ways to double check the click report from a URL shortener with other data sources. First, start with Google Analytics . 

First of all I would like to thank http://formable.com for allowing this article to be shared with Tweak Your Biz readers.

 

Step One: Get your Google Analytics view settings right by going to the Admin section and then under Property Settings you want to ensure that "Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders" is checked. This will help remove most of the traffic that’s not a real person.

 

You should also verify in Google Analytics Account > View > Filters :

Sessions with these referrer URLs where excluded:

formable.com (I am using Formable as my URL shortening service in this example, adjust for your own domain)

This takes care of any automatic referrals from Formable coming into Google Analytics, but if someone uses your shortlink in their Twitter or Facebook URL it will still show up as a referral from Formable.

Step Two: On your reports that have traffic coming from the URL shortener, under Secondary Dimension > Referral there is a link button called “Exclude”. Click it and type in the domain name of your URL shortener (Formable.com for this example). This will ensure every click on those links comes from real users who were referred by you, not automatically via an RSS or somewhere else.

 

Step Three: Now we need to double check all those clicks really do come from real people and not fake bots. So go to Google Keyword Planner , which gives us estimated search volumes for keywords but also includes estimated search volumes and competition levels for organic results, which we care about.

 

Step Four: On your reports that have traffic coming from the URL shortener, select Referrals as the secondary dimension and click on the Reports tab. Under Queries you want to filter down to just those keywords where there was a click reported in Google Analytics. This will give you an idea of how relevant people who clicked on your link really were without having to do any special setup or analytics workarounds.

 

Bots skew numbers and make it hard to properly track your marketing efforts online, but with this process you can see what’s really happening and know when you’re getting real web visitors vs fake bot clicks. The key is to verify your numbers with two different tools so you have a more accurate picture.

 

Article body:

<p>Step One: Get your Google Analytics view settings right by going to the Admin section and then under Property Settings you want to ensure that "Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders" is checked. This will help remove most of the traffic that’s not a real person.</p><br><br><br><br>

You should also verify in Google Analytics Account > View > Filters :

Sessions with these referrer URLs where excluded:

formable.com (I am using Formable as my URL shortening service in this example, adjust for your own domain)

This takes care of any automatic referrals from Formable coming into Google Analytics, but if someone uses your shortlink in their Twitter or Facebook URL it will still show up as a referral from Formable.</p><br><br><br><br>

Step Two: On your reports that have traffic coming from the URL shortener, under Secondary Dimension > Referral there is a link button called “Exclude”. Click it and type in the domain name of your URL shortener (Formable.com for this example). This will ensure every click on those links comes from real users who were referred by you, not automatically via an RSS or somewhere else.</p><br><br><br><br>

Step Three: Now we need to double check all those clicks really do come from real people and not fake bots. So go to Google Keyword Planner , which gives us estimated search volumes for keywords but also includes estimated search volumes and competition levels for organic results, which we care about.</p><br><br><br><br>

Step Four: On your reports that have traffic coming from the URL shortener, select Referrals as the secondary dimension and click on the Reports tab. Under Queries you want to filter down to just those keywords where there was a click reported in Google Analytics. This will give you an idea of how relevant people who clicked on your link really were without having to do any special setup or analytics workarounds.</p><br><br>

<p>Bots skew numbers and make it hard to properly track your marketing efforts online, but with this process you can see what’s really happening and know when you’re getting real web visitors vs fake bot clicks. The key is to verify your numbers with two different tools so you have a more accurate picture.</p><br><br>

 

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