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Not my usual consumer tech content, but I still thought it was worth writing. Use anything as an excuse to write content.
I make my living (almost) from my website, and like most people in my position, I have a daily habit of checking all the different analytics and advertising services I use.
You have Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, affiliates like Amazon, Mediavine, my display ad network, but for most people it’s Google Adsense.
With our reliance on advertising and affiliate sales, identifying trends and responding quickly is essential. If your traffic drops, you need to find out why and how to fix it. As your traffic increases, look for ways to replicate that success.
My traffic tends to fluctuate based on seasonal trends as well as tech news. Therefore, it is not always possible to immediately understand traffic trends.
Significant increase in traffic from the Czech Republic (Czech Republic) and Seychelles, decreased revenue per thousand (RPM)
Traffic was normal at the beginning of August, and the last few months have been very good. As the days went on, traffic picked up and I was happy. The weather was hot and there was a heat wave in the forecast, which was good for me too.
With the start of a new quarter, revenue per 1,000 page visits (RPM) naturally decreased. However, this kept declining while traffic continued to rise, which prompted us to find out what was going on.
There were no identifiable issues with the landing page. This is what I mostly look at to see what posts are doing well, whether new or old. This new traffic seems to be spread across regular pages, and there’s nothing to be suspicious about as the pages are generating enough traffic.
August 4thEye, Traffic from the Czech Republic jumped to 5.77% and Seychelles to 2.46%. It wasn’t enough traffic to get on my radar at the time.
at 5th It was 11.74% and 4.25%, but the total traffic to the site didn’t exceed what I normally get.
by 6th and 7th In August, I became suspicious. The RPM rate dropped by 25% and we had more traffic than expected considering it was the weekend.
On Sunday, the Czech Republic was my second best winning country, overtaking the US. Looking back on August 1ststthe Czech Republic is 34th.
Additionally, traffic from the Czech Republic and Seychelles has a very high bounce rate (99%), a low number of pages per session (1.02), and very little average session duration (1-2 seconds).
So I wasn’t getting paid for that traffic. Mediavine shows only $4.84 in the Czech Republic and nothing in the Seychelles.
Block traffic from the Czech Republic and Seychelles using Cloudflare
Therefore, I wanted to stop fake traffic. At the very least, it makes it harder to understand real traffic and identify trends. I was also a little paranoid that my ad network might see it as if I was trying to generate fake income (which obviously wasn’t working). .
Fixing the issue is very easy when using Cloudflare.
- Login to Cloudflare and select your domain
- Go to Security and select WAF (Web Application Firewall).
- Create a firewall rule
- Name the rule whatever you like (I created two named Czech and Seychelles).
- Value = desired country. Cloud Flare uses Czech Republic instead of Czech
- You can optionally use an OR statement if you want both countries under one rule.
- In subsequent actions, select Managed Challenge
- Finally, press Deploy Firewall Rules.
I could use one of the blocking or another challenge options, but the managed option seems to work better and lets real users through (rather than the full blocking option).
In a few hours of doing this, Cloudflare only issued a few hundred challenges, but traffic from these locations decreased.
My Seychelles rule reports that the issue has not been resolved, and the Czech Republic currently reports a success rate of 11.59%.
The Seychelles rules also seem to indicate that the number of challenges issued is declining. I suspect this fake traffic-generating bot will eventually stop pinging my girlfriend’s website.
Looking at the WAF analysis, there doesn’t seem to be any easily identifiable common data. IP addresses are mixed, Czech rules seem to use mostly his IP4 address, while Seychelles are all IP6 and have both mixed user-agents and ASNs, no tendencies.
Exclude traffic in Google Analytics
If you don’t use Cloudflare or similar services, you can exclude traffic directly within Google Analytics
This post has some helpful screenshots. How to remove fake traffic from Google Analytics
Basically you just:
- [管理者設定]>[設定の表示]>[フィルター](right column).
- Select “Custom” for filter type
- Select “Exclude”
- in the drop-down menu[国]Choose.
- Enter the countries you want to remove from your analysis
- If selected, make sure you see traffic from that country and how much it shows after filtering (should be blank).
Block spam traffic with WordPress plugins like WordFence
Another alternative option is to use the WordPress plugin (assuming you’re using WordPress).
Wordfence is in the firewall options[国ごとにブロック]General options with settings. Unfortunately, this is limited within premium features and costs $99.00 per year.
I’m not aware of any free plugins that can achieve this.
Why is the traffic coming from the Czech Republic and the Seychelles?
During this time, competing ad networks were trying to lure me into moving to them (or should I say spam the email?).
They promised a 25% RPM increase, but the 20-25% RPM drop seemed like a coincidence.
However, this problem with traffic from the Czech Republic and Seychelles seems to be widespread. My ad network has a Facebook group where many people report this issue. Also reported on Reddit and seroundtable.com.
At the moment there doesn’t seem to be any clear reason for this. Spammers are spammers and they don’t always have a lot of logic in their actions.
New spam traffic source?
Haha… I woke up this morning and traffic to my website is going well.
Traffic from Russia now accounts for 3.58% of my traffic, and the landing pages are spread to include UK-specific pages such as Why is Sky Internet slow, Why is Virgin slow, and UK shipping boxes. Russia typically accounts for about 0.4% of the traffic.
Traffic from the Seychelles also increased to 3.58%, somehow sidestepping Cloudflare’s challenges.
[Original Post: 12th August 2022]
[Updated: 26th August 2022] Added information about removing traffic from Google Analytics, WordPress plugins, and potential new traffic spam information.