I deleted my Google Analytics because as a blogger, I don’t feel I need it.
- I’m not selling anything so don’t need to worry about goal funnels
- I don’t run campaigns
- It doesn’t matter what country my visitors come from or what browser they use
- If I want to know what my visitors are searching for I can see that in Webmasters Tools
Now that I’ve taken this action I feel free and here’s why.
I realised a long time ago that the time I spent looking at visitor numbers and analysing their behaviour would be better spent writing. So the only time I find myself looking at my analytics is when another spammy referrer site shows up in my WordPress Dashboard.
What’s referrer spam?
Genuine referral traffic is visitors to your site that come from direct links on other websites rather than directly from search engines.
Referrer spam occurs when your website gets fake referral traffic from spam bots and this fake traffic is recorded in your Google Analytics.
If you’ve seen referrals from sites like semalt.com, buttons-for-websites or ilovevitaly.com in your analytics report, then you have the same problem.
These people are gaming your analytics using your Google Analytics tracking code. They scrape sites for the tracking code and then send data directly to your Google Analytics account without having to visit your website.
How do spammers benefit?
Believe it or not these spammers are marketing directly to webmasters. If like me you see a site that appears to be sending a lot of traffic your way, you are naturally going to be curious to visit the site to see how they have linked to you. Of course they haven’t really linked to your site but they hope that once you visit them you will sign up for whatever they are selling. Some links go directly to an affiliate site where the spammer gets money if you buy something.
By spamming thousands of websites via Google Analytics, these spammers get the traffic they crave from curious webmasters.
What is Google doing about referrer spam?
Google are aware of the referral spam problem but at the time of writing they don’t seem to have a plan in place but they are working on it.
I’ve spent months trying to block these spammers via the .htaccess file or creating filters from the analytics console. Times that by the thousands of webmasters doing the same thing and you realise that this a global problem.
As a humble blogger, I don’t need Google Analytics but there are millions of e-commerce sites and the like that do benefit from it. If you are one of those then you’ll need to know how to tackle referral spam.
Alternatives to Google Analytics
A good web host should have analytics tools you can use. These have been around long before Google came on the scene. Back in the day I used to use Awstats, which was enough for my needs.
If you are a self-hosted WordPress blogger you can install Jetpack to access the WordPress.com site stats. Alternatively you could use Clicky Stats. Both tell you where your visitors come from, the pages they viewed and more. Most importantly you get the stats without the spam.