I’m not counting this as part of my blogathon, I just had to share it.

I went to Google Analytics to check up on my blog traffic, and there was a peculiar entry. Apparently, almost 20% of my traffic in the last month came from referrals from a particular domain, which I had never heard of.

Huh, I thought. That’s interesting.

When I looked closer, though, some things stood out. Every single one of those visits came from a new user, which was odd. What’s more, every one of them bounced–hit a page on my site and left without exploring anywhere else. To cap it off, each of them visited for precisely 0 seconds.

This was really weird, so I looked up the site.

It’s a goddamn SEO1SEO stands for “search engine optimization”, and refers to the tactics webmasters take to ensure their content ranks highly in search engine results. company.

I can’t decide whether I love or hate this. On the one hand, it’s really clever advertising; someone who’s checking their website analytics is also likely going to care about SEO. It plays off of human curiosity–you see this unexplained referrer in your analytics and go and check it out. The result feels a bit like a discovery.

It’s clever… but it’s also spam. With 100% new users, 100% bounce rate, and 0-second session lengths, this is entirely unnecessary traffic. It clutters my analytics report. If more businesses start doing this, I’ll have to wade through a bunch of unsolicited advertising just to get a meaningful look at my website analytics. And that’s really damn obnoxious.

So, points for ingenuity, company-whom-I-shall-not-name. Demerits for being obnoxious as hell.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. SEO stands for “search engine optimization”, and refers to the tactics webmasters take to ensure their content ranks highly in search engine results.