Search News: Fake Web Traffic from Czech Republic and Seychelles
August 16th 2022 | By Emma Grant
Have you noticed an increase in spam website traffic coming from the Czech Republic and Seychelles? It’s something we picked up on when looking at traffic analytics for a few clients, and a Google search has indicated that it’s not an isolated incident with countless website owners reporting the issue.
It’s important to keep track of web traffic. If there’s a drop in visitors, we need to work out why and how to repair it. If there are all of a sudden more visitors than usual, we can look for ways to make more of that success.
But on this occasion, the increase in traffic was clearly spam. All the visitors from the Czech Republic and the Seychelles had an extremely high bounce rate. This is the number of visitors who landed on the site, then left without clicking anywhere else.
Most websites will see bounce rates between 26% to 70%, according to a RocketFuel study. 26-40% is considered excellent, and 41-55% average. But this Czech Republic and Seychelles traffic was showing a bounce rate of 99%, as well as low pages per session and a session period of just one or two seconds.
These stats would suggest that the traffic is ‘bot traffic’. Bots are programs that run automated tasks over the internet. They collect data, or carry out roles such as crawling and indexing.
There are good bots, such as those that crawl and index web pages and collect marketing data. And then there are bad bots that run illegal or damaging tasks, sometimes used to hack websites or gain access to personal data.
Why is the bot traffic coming from the Czech Republic and Seychelles?
We’ve not been able to find any straight answer to this question. Seychelles is known for its poor internet access, so it would be strange to think of a bot traffic source being run from there.
There are suggestions that the traffic may actually be coming from a different location, but showing a false IP address from the two locations.
Is bot traffic harmful for a website or SEO?
The good news is that bot traffic from the Czech Republic and Seychelles won’t negatively affect SEO performance.
If the bots were doing something malicious, such as leaving spam comments on blogs, scraping content or hacking, then yes, that would be damaging. But as far as reports go, that’s not what’s been going on. It just looks like an unprecedented influx of bot traffic.
According to John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate and the highest known authority on SEO, bots have no direct impact on Google rankings. So that’s a relief. However, having so much false traffic is never going to be helpful, because it becomes tricky to see what’s really going on with your website analytics.
What to do about fake traffic from the Czech Republic and Seychelles?
If your website has been affected by a flood of bot traffic from the Czech Republic and Seychelles, you have two options to deal with it.
Your first option is to use Cloudflare. This is a global network designed to make everything you connect to the web secure, private, fast, and reliable. You can use it to specifically block traffic from the Czech Republic and Seychelles using its ‘location exclusion feature, although if you rely on traffic from these locations, it’s not going to be beneficial to you.
The alternative is to use the Location Filter in Google Analytics to exclude traffic from these countries. This will not prevent traffic from the Czech Republic and Seychelles accessing your website, but it will exclude them from your Analytics view, so you will get a truer picture of what’s happening with your web traffic.
And that’s it. There’s nothing else you can or need to do. The issue appears to be a global one that could potentially be affecting thousands if not millions of websites. But it’s not causing any malicious damage or affecting search rankings. So, as long as you exclude the countries from your website analytics so as not to get a false picture of your traffic, that’s job done.
If you could use some help in attracting more genuine traffic to your website and keeping track of your web analytics, you are welcome to get in touch with Figment.