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Are the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present Haunting your Google Analytics?

Are the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present Haunting your Google Analytics?

ghost-spam
If you’re in charge of your company’s Google Analytics reports, then you may or may not have heard about ghost spam. If you’ve heard of it, and are currently battling it – we salute you.

Ghost spam hijacks your Google Analytics ID (ex: UA-XXXXXXX-XX) and plops a fake visit in your analytics report. These visits don’t interact with your site at all, however, they bypass your site by requests of HTTP interactions to Google’s servers saying they did. This is why it’s called “Ghost Spam.”

This spam hikes up your site visits – which can totally make your day until you realize it’s all fake. Corrupt analytics data doesn’t help anyone, especially if you’re making important business decisions based on this information.

Where Can It Be Found?
Ghost spam typically presents itself as “referral spam” which can be found in the “Acquisition/Overview/Referrals” section in Google Analytics:

112916_ghost-spam_referral

In early November, companies started seeing a new kind of spam showing up in their “Language” panel:

112916_ghost-spam_language

Why Does Ghost Spam Exist?
Spammers try to target analytics managers through their reports to either get their attention for a specific service, spread malicious code, or simply to brag. If you’re trying to figure out what a suspicious URL is, you may be tempted to click on it. Once that happens, a spammer could be receiving a commission. That’s probably the last thing we want to do. Instead, perform a search for that URL or phrase. More than likely someone has already written about it.

You also don’t want to infect your computer if that link has malicious code. If you insist on clicking the link, I suggest you double-check that your antivirus program is updated and running.

Get Rid of the Spam
Thankfully you can clean up your analytics through filtering. Our buddies at Ohow.com have provided very useful step-by-step instructions via their Ultimate Guide: How to Get Rid of the Spam and Other Junk Traffic in Google Analytics. If you’re seeing the language spam in your analytics, hit up Analytics-Toolkit.com for their article on Language Spam – The Latest Google Analytics Spam.

Remember that bad data = bad decisions. We recommend using one of the guides above to help you clean house before you’re visited by the Ghost Spam of Christmas Future! If you need help, give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

Naomi Dhillon
Naomi Dhillon is an Account Executive at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Naomi Dhillon at (915) 351-8440.

The end of SEO? Well that depends.

The end of SEO? Well that depends.

Is SEO dead?Mashable asks, “Are we coming to the end of SEO?”

And we whole heartedly answer, “Yes.” Yes, that is if you consider SEO a way of gaming Google to get your site ranked near the top of the page. Yes, if you consider stuffing your meta tags with keywords as SEO. Yes, if you think keyword density in your copy can trick your way to number one.

It all comes down to what you believe search engine optimization is all about.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines Optimization as: an act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.

So we want a website that is fully perfect, functional or effective as possible. Who makes that determination? Who are you are optimizing the website for? Do you create a beautiful website for people to use, navigate easily though and ultimately come away with the product or information they needed. Or, do you create a website for a machine/spider that tricks the search engine into popping your website high up in the rankings, but that users ultimately hate and run away / bounce from after the first click?

At Stanton Street – we’ve never tried to game the search engines. We always considered SEO a part of the website from the ground up, not just the window dressing. We built websites for people, not for search engines. Our brand of SEO starts with:

  • A solid site architecture and structure that follows the World Wide Web Consortium’s international standards
  • Search engine friendly URLs that have words instead of numbers
  • Website copy that is relevant, informative and original
  • Navigation that is intuitive with no duplicate pages
  • Necessary meta tags are short and to the point
  • Search engines are notified of all relevant pages on the site
  • Search engine webmaster tools are monitored for any issues that might arise
  • Old pages are redirected to the most relevant page on the site
  • Measurement of website effectiveness

We don’t do SEO tricks. We do solid websites. Nice that Google seems to have adopted our philosophy into their algorithm!

If you want Net Results for your website, you know where to find us!

Karen Loper
Karen Loper is the Internet Marketing Specialist at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas website development company.

Contact Karen Loper at (915) 351-8440.

Review Your Website’s Statistics in a Snap

Review Your Website’s Statistics in a Snap

In an effort to keep our website customers more informed about the performance of their site, Stanton Street has added a new extra benefit to go along with our excellent service, good looks and charm: a Monthly Snapshot Report. The Snapshot, includes key performance metrics for your website. If you are a current Stanton Street website customer, watch for an email on the first of every month that will include your custom report. We hope you use this information to identify new opportunities for your business or organization through your website.

Monthly Snapshot Website Traffic Map
Google Analytics™ service, Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.

Key Metrics you will see on your Monthly Snapshot:

  • Visits: (now called Sessions) a visit or session is a period of time a user is actively involved with your site.
  • Bounce Rate: a percentage of single page visits or sessions
  • Time on Site: the average time a user sends on your site.
  • Average Pages / Visit: the average number of pages a user sees in one visit or session
  • Visits by Region: a map of the United States showing the number of visits or sessions by state
  • Visits and % New Visits by Region: a list of the visits or sessions by state and the % of new visits or sessions from each state
  • Unique Visitors: a list of the number of new and returning users to your website
  • Top Keywords: the keywords typed by users into a search engine that result in the most visits to your website
  • Top Pages: the most visited pages on your site by pageview but also includes the number of exits from that page
  • Top Traffic Sources: the most frequent sources and mediums used to get to your website
  • Top Social Sources: the most frequent social media sources used to get to your website

E-commerce sites will also include:

  • Top Traffic Sources with Revenue by Source: the most frequent sources and mediums that drive your e-commerce site revenue

If you would like to discuss your Monthly Snapshot report or learn more about your website’s analytics, feel free to give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

Karen Loper
Karen Loper is the Internet Marketing Specialist at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas website development company.

Contact Karen Loper at (915) 351-8440.

Hot ‘n Fresh and Ready for ROI: We’ve Got Your Google Certification Coming Right Up!

Hot ‘n Fresh and Ready for ROI: We’ve Got Your Google Certification Coming Right Up!

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.

Karen is taking website analytics and SEO by storm on a daily basis. She took a quick break this week for tea and to ace her GAIQ certification renewal. GAIQ stands for “Google Analytics Individual Qualification” and if your current or perspective website developer doesn’t have it or has never heard of it, you may want to take a few steps back and ponder this for a moment:

Website metrics and analytics are Internet gold. This is one of the only ways to determine if your website is returning on your investment. If the company that built your site isn’t applying metrics or is reporting them incorrectly, that means your site may not be performing at its best. That’s why you need someone who is certified.

Luckily Stanton Street is a phone call away for search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), social media and Google Analytics. Give us a shout to get your site on the right track: (915) 351-8440.

Naomi Dhillon
Naomi Dhillon is an Account Executive at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Naomi Dhillon at (915) 351-8440.