Have you ever had a moment when you find a spike in your analytics data and think, “yes, now were rocking!”? Then on closer inspection you find the reason for the spike is spam. It happens. It sucks!
Spambots can play havoc with your analytics data. In some cases, spammers visit so regularly they can influence the decision making of your overall content and digital marketing strategy.
Not to mention they are a pain in the rear-end – of your website as well! They can overload your server and slow down your load times, increase your bounce back rate and lower your ranking. They may even be trying to mine vital data.
Spambots need to be stopped. Fortunately, you can prevent the pests from visiting your website pretty easily.
Spambot prevention tactics
There are several ways of blocking referrers. The most effective is with the .htaccess file in your root directory, although this is a highly technical and requires knowledge of codes.
And it can go horribly wrong.
Using the .htaccess can cause your server to behave erratically if you get the regex coding wrong (it can even take your site down). One wrong character can collapse your entire site. If you are not tech-minded, or do not feel confident about getting the coding right, there are alternative methods that are much more simple and safe.
The easiest way to prevent spambots accessing your site is by installing the Wp-Ban plugin. This won’t fix historical data, but it will protect you against any attempts to crawl your site in the future.
The only problem with plugins however, is they have a shelf life. The crafty merchants that program spambots to crawl sites will always find a way to get around the access codes in plugins and cyber-attackers are always one step ahead of defence systems.
In addition to the WP plugins, or whatever the alternative is for the content management system you are using, you also have the option to put filters in your analytics data.
The downside to this is the data will not register legitimate visitors from the countries you are filtering.
For example, many spambots originate from countries like Russia, India and Malaysia, and show referrals under names such as semalt, for example. If you do not attract traffic, or even want to attract traffic from these countries, activate your spam filters. This won’t prevent pesky spambots from visiting, but at least it won’t mess up your data. This, of course, won’t help with the issues of load on your server, but it goes part way to resolving the overall issue.
Data analytics is an important part of your digital marketing strategy and helps you identify which tactics are working and which are not. When spambots mess with the data, it is difficult to determine which tactics are effective.
Essentially, spambots can waste your time and money and have a detrimental effect on your page rank. Unless you take measures to prevent the problem of spambots, they could cause your SEO and marketing teams a lot of headaches.
Move It Marketing SEO Services
Move It Marketing are a boutique digital marketing agency with a love for organic search (and in particular technical SEO). We don’t dilute our efforts by working with a large number of clients, and provide a granular service with attention to detail. If you have experienced problems with SEO on your site, get in touch and we will take a look with a view to providing you with an initial mini SEO audit free of charge.