Fake Web Traffic- What is it, and how can you identify it?

Wondering about fake web traffic? It is a perennial menace on the block for websites, internet companies, and online businesses. Web traffic is usually defined as the number of visits and visitors garnered by any website. In usual scenarios, the higher visits and visitors any website receives, the more valuable and popular it will eventually be. Hence, higher visits will lead to greater conversions. Unfortunately, however, traffic-related metrics are increasingly becoming unreliable owing to fake web traffic. 

This is generated by software and bots that send fake traffic to websites, which is entirely different from actual human-based interactions. For example, bots may copy the mouse’s movements and click enabled by human beings, giving an impression of substantial real visitors traffic. Over the last decade or so, on account of online advertising, several advertisers and marketers have realized the opportunity to tap into television-sized audiences at comparatively lower costs. As a result, budgets for digital marketing went up considerably, with marketers specifically targeting audiences. With web traffic gradually becoming an indicator of the value of a website, people soon started adopting fake web traffic to increase visitors to my website, as they mostly claim. 

Going by the Google analytics, fake traffic impact may ultimately cost marketers and digital advertisers up to a whopping $6.3 billion annually! As per studies, 11% of display advertisements online and almost 1/4th of video advertisements were not viewed by people but by bots/software applications. Fake web traffic is majorly used in recent times for artificial inflation of advertisement views for getting higher advertisement dollars from businesses and marketers, enhancing site traffic for drawing marketers to advertise on the website, and enhancing visitors and visits for scaling up the website value before selling it. 

Identification guidelines for fake web traffic

How do you know whether you are getting real visitors traffic or whether a part of it is fake? A Google Analytics fake traffic assessment may be handy in this case. Here are some tips that you can use: 

  • Sudden Traffic Jump- If your site garners about 100 views approximately every day, then on a single day, if it suddenly goes up to a whopping 10,000 people, it may be fake traffic. 
  • Same Browsers- If you find that all your website visitors are using the same browser, it is a sign that a software program or bot is being used to send fake traffic to the website. 
  • Visit-Based Statistics- If visitors spend just 1-2 seconds on the website before departing, it may indicate fake traffic counts. Of course, you cannot expect all visitors to stay more than a few seconds or minutes, but a constant pattern will pose problems. 
  • Unusual Metrics- If you are tapping into English-speaking people in a particular location with your site and find yourself getting the highest traffic consistently from other countries (particularly non-English speaking ones), cities, and in different languages, it calls for a thorough investigation. 
  • Interactions with Users- If the website is getting many unique visits although no one is commenting on your posts and social media pages, something could be off! Little or zero interaction despite high traffic means that fake web traffic may be afoot. 

There are no hard and fast methods to keep fake traffic entirely away. However, you should aim for real organic traffic as much as possible while identifying fake traffic with the tips mentioned above and guidelines. You can also take a few steps towards safeguarding yourself from such traffic as well. 

You should link the site to webmaster tools from Google and regularly track and review the website’s analytics. Once it is fully set up in Google webmaster tools, the own bots of Google will be crawling your site, offering a list of any possible errors that it discovers and sending email alerts in some scenarios. These include attacks on the website due to malware, non-indexation of pages, issues about server connectivity, and manual penalties imposed by Google. 

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