I had a HUGE spike in direct traffic today from USA (I am based in UK), over 1200 direct visits from 4 main US locations, main one being Boardman which is a known source for spam as it is where AWS is located apparently. I freaked out, spoke to shopify support who told me of a few blocking apps. Installed 3, none of which stopped it. I have done all sorts of research on what the hell is going on and I came to the conclusion that as I could not block the visits, this must be ghost spam and it was just spurious data being posted to Google Analytics via AMP but this doesn't explain why it was appearing on my live view.
So if it is not ghost spam as I couldn't block the visits, what is it, why couldn't I block it and what the hell has it done and what should I worry about? I have seen mentions of scraping sites and DDos attacks, none of which mean much to me. All the documentation I have found has been about filtering this data out of GA but it refers to the now defunct hostname, service provider and IP address attributes which aren't stored in GA any more due to data protection!
I have just started using google shopping via shopify and I don't know if the AI involved accesses GA, I am assuming not but I am struggling to understand the point of this bot and it seems a bit of a coincidence this has happened 2 weeks after starting my first google shopping campaign.
Any help gratefully received as although shopify were as helpful as possible, it wasn't the guy's area of expertise and although he did ask around, the only thing they came back with was the blocking apps which didn't work. I am no expert (obviously) and I am well aware of the dangers of google when you are stressing out!!
It can be a scrapping bot, what your store is about? What kind of products I mean.
I need more information to tell you what might be going on.
It cannot be DDoS, because Shopify servers are very very hard to be DDoSed, and if someone do it, many stores will be affected, not just yours.
P.S: You can stop freaking out, its nothing serious.
Hi - thanks for your response. I sell craft fabric. I have a tiny number of pages that aren't product pages. I don't know what they would be scrapping for as there isn't much content other than products. Also, most of the product pages were hit on average 5 times each. As I said, however, the visits couldn't be blocked so it looks like somebody attacking my GA rather than the site itself, the only thing I can't fathom is why the stats appeared in shopify live view as well as GA. If it was just GA then I would say it was definitely a ghosting. My sales have declined over the weekend also. I haven't had a chance to look at my smart campaign and visitor stats yet. I am not sure that the google ads AI for smart campaigns uses google analytics, would you happen to know? I am guessing not as it wouldn't make sense but none of this is making much sense at the moment!! Thanks, Kelly
It can be a vulnerability scanner bot, they mindlessly go from site to site, trying to hack them.
They obviously couldnt hack yours ( hacking you would like hacking shopify, which is beyond the capability of these bots )
If you have used Google Shopping app to setup smart campaign then you are good.
GA may or may not be used by Google Smart Campaigns.
Whatever the case, this cant affect your Google Ads performance what so ever. You are fine :)
Great, thanks for the reassurance. I am going to keep an eye on my backlinks to check that nobody is trying to do some negative SEO on me but my understanding is that that is usually done manually anyway. It is a pretty horrible thing when you don't know what is happening and why and whether you should be doing something to stop it!
Thanks for your response anyway, have a lovely day!
I am experiencing this as well for couple of days.
It started from few Google Ads display campaigns where my budgets where drained in around 30 minutes.
To test my assumptions I have changed the syntax of the landing page link from campaign so whoever clicked the ad was landing on an 404 page and I recorded the behaviour in hotjar.
It came as no surprise to see countless records where bots from ad links were spending time on 404 pages with basic up/down movement and some random clicks, without trying to find anything on the website.
And Google support found things working as intended ... they are cashing in after all.
As for any website hosted by Shopify, IPs details are not provided, thus I find no alternative in dealing with click bots in Ads campaigns.
I stopped all Google Ads campaigns but I still have visits on those 404 pages, as it seems the bots are still using the old links from Ads campaigns.
Any solution would be highly appreciated.
The same thing for me - every week there is about 2.5- 3k direct views coming from one place in the USA which shows up on Shopify analytics only.
can this affect my SEO?
it's really annoying and Shopify help suggested i use an app to protect myself which takes a percentage of each sale so that's not a possibility