Websites In The United States Are Seeing An Increase In Traffic From Russia
Around the end of October 2016, we started to notice an odd spike in traffic to our client's websites. When we further investigated, we found this traffic was coming from Russia. To make things even stranger, the traffic was generating a strange message in the language section of the website's analytics.
In this case, the user agent of whoever was trying to access this website, changed their language code to try to drum up support for a candidate in the United States 2016 Election. To ensure that this message was seen in an analytics account, the hacker had ensured that they would generate a significant amount of traffic per day (as seen in the above screen shot).
How does this affect website analytics?
This bad traffic mainly dilutes your data. You may start seeing bounce rates soar or decline as the bots or hacks stay on your website or immediately leave. In addition, it makes it more difficult to see just how well or how poorly a specific page is performing. Every analysis would have to have Russian traffic filtered out. This would get even more difficult if the website being analyzed was a world wide website that is targeting people around the world VS a business that only serves a specific region that is not Russia.
What can be done about this errant Russian traffic?
Unfortunately, not too much can be done. Yes, you can block a country from seeing your website using a .HTACCESS file, but a true hacker would just change their connection point to another country such as china or anywhere else. The best thing to do is to filter you data (if that is an option) or to check to see if that traffic is not generating any conversion data. So far on all of our clients, we have noticed that this traffic just hits the homepage and doesn't do anything from there. This would leave the bottom line performance still intact. If there is errant conversion data, then the only hope would be to try to block this traffic with a .HTACCESS file.
To check to see if your conversion data is still intact, follow these steps:
- Log into your analytics account
- Locate "Behavior" on the left navigation bar and open it
- Open "Site Content"
- Click on "landing Pages"
- Set your secondary dimension to "country"
- Set conversions to "All Goals"
- Check to see if Russia is generating any conversions
If you are seeing strange behavior in your analytics account, we can take a look - just contact us and we would be happy to help!