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Understanding Google Tools and Ghost Traffic

1/9/2017  

Tracking the success of your website is just as important as tracking all your other marketing efforts. Google has two free tools for you to track your success.

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Google Search Console will show you all the traffic Google is sending to your website. Once you have registered your site, for example by adding a special metatag to your home page, Google will recognize that you are the owner of the site and begin to collect traffic information for your website.

Google Search Console will show you how many times your website appears in Google listings, how many times Google users click on your site, and what was the average position of your site in the listings. For example, in the Search Analytics section, check the boxes Clicks, Impressions, and Position. In the options below that, choose Pages. You will see, for each page in your site, the number of times Google displayed that page in a search (impressions) , the number of times it was clicked on (clicks), and its average position in the search (postion). Change the option to Queries and you will get the number of times a page in your site appeared sorted by the search text that was typed into Google. And so on.

Google Analytics is the second free tool. After you register your site at https://analytics.google.com. Google will give you a snippet of code that you include in every page you wish to track. Then, every time anyone accesses your web page, this code will notify Google and allow it to accumulate traffic information for you.

These are two different tools. Google Search Console shows you your success in getting listed by Google in searches and Google Analytics shows you detailed information about who used your website and how they used it, once they have found your site. Google Analytics can help you know your customers, but beware ghost traffic.

Ghost traffic is spam. It's fake traffic. Instead of showing you a real hit to your website, you are seeing fake hits. The spammers have never really visited your site, but are able to automate fake hits in Google Analytics using a random number generator to simulate Google Analytics identifiers. For example, when you see referrals from sites that you have never heard of and that you know are not linking to your site, that is a fake hit. Why are the spammers doing this? Perhaps it is to get you, the Analytics user, to click on the referrer. If you do, they have just increased their own real hit rate, by fooling you and possibly selling you a service or product - or even to pass on a virus.

You can control ghost traffic, by setting up filtered views on Google Analytics so that you are viewing just the real hits. Contact us for help with Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and any other needs you have for your website.