The stats on your blogger dashboard for your blogs differ a lot from the stats on your analytics dashboard. The former stats show much higher numbers than the latter. In this post, we will explain to you what the reason behind this is and which of the two is more accurate.

How Blogger and Google Analytics collect stats

Google uses Javascript based tracking while Blogger uses server side analytics. Let us look at them in detail one by one.

Server side analytics used by Blogger

Whenever someone requests a page from a blogger blog, this request gets recorded on Blogger servers. The request could be from anyone – a real human being browsing your blog, a search engine crawling your blog or some other computer program.

The request for a page contains many things like the page URL and HTTP headers which provide more information. Two HTTP headers that we need to look at are User Agent and Referrer.

User Agent

The User Agent specifies the program that has requested the page. If it is a human being browsing your blog using Chrome, then the User-Agent contains a value to indicate that the page was requested by Chrome. If it is Google Search bot that has requested the page, then the User-Agent field will specify the same.

Referrer

When a person visits page B by clicking a link on page A, then the Referrer field in the request for page B will contain the URL of A. If the user has visited the page by typing the URL, then the referrer field will be empty. When search engines request pages, then also the Referrer field will be empty.

When Blogger calculates the number of page views, it excludes visits from search engines and other bots. The User-Agent field helps to achieve this task.

The problem arises when the requesting programs provide false information. This is the case with Referral Spam.

Referral Spam

Referral Spam techniques are used to drive traffic to a website.  There are certain programs which help you to request pages from a server and while doing so, they allow you to set whatever User-Agent and Referrer headers you want. If someone wants to drive traffic to their page P, then they request various blogger pages from the internet randomly and while doing so, the User-Agent field is set to the value of some browser and the Referrer is set to P. An important point to be made here is that the person who owns P doesn’t actually open all the random pages. He has a program which does it. He just needs to click a button and the program keeps requesting pages randomly. All the websites which were opened by the program will record visitors from the page P. The site owners would obviously be tempted to look at what website P is and in what context, those sites have linked to P. The end result is that P gets some visitors to his site.

Referral Spam is the main reason behind inflated stats in Blogger.

JavaScript based analytics used by Google Analytics

A second method to record visitors is using JavaScript which is used by Google Analytics. Whenever someone opens your page in a browser (as opposed to simply requesting it), the details of the visitor get passed on to the server using JavScript. Just as server side analytics can be inflated by bad bots, javascript based analytics can also be inflated by bad bots if they execute the JavaScript with false information regarding User-Agent and Referrer but writing such programs is more difficult than the ones stated previously. So, the chance of JavaScript based analytics getting inflated is much lower.

Google Analytics are better than Blogger stats

The conclusion is that Google Analytics are far more accurate than Blogger stats. And it is more probable that the numbers reported by Google Analytics are lower than those reported by Blogger stats. Just for the sake of people thinking good of your blogger, you shouldn’t quote your Blogger stats. Further if someone quotes some irrationally high numbers for their visitor stats, then don’t get disappointed. Look at the quality of their blog. If you feel that the stats are a bit too high for that quality, they are probably quoting their Blogger stats. Blogger stats at times can also be 50-100 times the stats by Google Analytics

How to stop referral spam

There is very little that you can do to stop referral spam. Measurers taken by Google would be more effective in preventing your stats from getting inflated. But as not everyone is affected by referral spam and it is a tedious process for Google to keep a database of all sites engaging in referral spam, it has not paid much attention to combating it. You as a user of Blogger stats can do your part by not clicking on any links that look like referral spam. Most of these links have your blog name or some cryptic numbers in the URL’s. When every blogger knows about referral spam and stops clicking such links, the returns for those engaging in driving traffic using referral spam would become lower and they would stop it.