Detecting invalid traffic (IVT) is one of the most important things you can do to protect your AdSense account. This is because fake clicks increase advertiser costs and skew engagement metrics, devaluing publisher inventory. Furthermore, high levels of IVT can lead to account suspensions from Google.
The good news is that most forms of invalid traffic detection are fairly easy to identify and filter out. The most common is general invalid traffic, or GIVT. This consists of known nonhuman traffic such as bots, spiders, and search engine crawlers that are easily identifiable as such due to their behavior or by their IP addresses coming from data centers. Typically, these can be filtered out of campaigns and metrics through routine filtration using lists of known bots and spiders or via regular parameter checks on your site and ad performance.
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Sophisticated invalid traffic, or SIVT, is more difficult to filter out. This includes competitors clicking on ads, bots scraping your website for pricing information, and malicious users concealing themselves through proxies and VPNs.
To detect SIVT, it’s crucial to check your analytics reports regularly for unusual spikes in traffic or a dramatic change in average session duration. In addition, you should also keep an eye on your search query report and action timestamps. If you see a large number of searches originating from the same IP, it’s likely that this is SIVT. Traffic from legitimate users, on the other hand, is spread out throughout the day and will have different search queries with varying action timestamps.