Over the last two months, we have seen some very unusual referrer traffic patterns on some of our clients’ sites. Almost across the board we have seen increases in Referred Traffic, but that increase is not real – almost all the traffic originates from one website, Semalt.com.
What is Referred Traffic?
To put it in the most simple terms, referred traffic is website traffic that has reached your website through a link on another website. A lot of the referred traffic you are likely to see is social sites (Facebook, Twitter) and directories like Yellow Pages or Hotfrog. These are places where a link to your website could be posted, and someone could follow that link back to your website.
So What is Semalt Doing?
In all our analytics reports, we are seeing a rise in referred traffic visits from Semalt.com The lower a website’s traffic, the more significant the increase seems. The obvious thing for a webmaster to do when seeing an increase like this is to – you guessed it – visit the website! So basically they are spamming webmasters, trying to get them to visit the site and hopefully, sign up for their services.
Why Would They Do That?
Well, Semalt looks like it is analytics and SEO software. Their target market would be webmasters, so what better way to get to your target market than to poke them in their metrics (so to speak)? It is just another form of spam marketing.
Do I Need To Worry?
Not at all. Apart from messing up your Referred Traffic stats, they also mess up your geographic stats, as all the visits come from Brazil. In most cases you can just ignore the skewed data, but if it is absolutely essential to see real data, you can segment all other traffic not from Semalt into a new segment and only report on that. Mainly it is just highly irritating and unnecessary.
On a personal note, I will never, EVER use Semalt now. I don’t care if they win every SEO award on the planet. They have rudely messed up my clients’ data, and no forgiveness for that!
UPDATE – Now that people are blocking semalt.com, we are now seeing the domain semalt.semalt.com coming up on reports. They found a way to be even more irritating!