Why does a certain YouTube video appear to be visiting my blog?

Why does a certain YouTube video appear to be visiting my blog? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes all the way from South Africa, where AK asks, why does a certain YouTube video appear to be visiting my blogspot blog? Take this video, for example. It keeps appearing in my Blogger Dashboard as a referral. Great question, AK. So we went and we looked at this video. And if you go and read the comments, there are multiple people complaining, saying this particular video spammed my blog. So let’s walk through what’s happening. This is an instance of what we call referrer spam. A referrer is just a simple HTTP header that is passed along when a browser goes from one page to another page. And it normally is used to indicate where the user is coming from. Now, people can use that and change the referrer to be anything they want. They can make it empty. Or there are some people who will set the referrer to be a page they want to promote. And then they will just visit tons of pages around the web. All the people who look at the referrers see that and say, oh, maybe I should go and check that out. And whenever there’s a referrer, it doesn’t mean that there was necessarily a link, because you can make that referrer anything you want. So there are some people who try to drive traffic by visiting a ton of websites, even with an automated script, and setting the referrer to be the URL that they want to promote. Now, what’s interesting is that some of the other comments say that this is a very well known YouTuber. And he has no reason or inclination to go and do referrer spam. So the thing to know is there’s no authentication with referrer. Anybody can make a browser and set the referrer. And so it might not be this guy that was doing the referrer spam. It could be some completely different person. So you can’t automatically assume that it was the owner of that URL if you see something showing up in your dashboard. It basically just means– for my part, I would just ignore it, because somebody is trying to do some hijinks. You don’t know whether it’s this video’s owner or whether it’s someone else who doesn’t like him. But basically, someone is probably monkeying around with the referrer header. And that’s the cause of what you’re seeing in your dashboard.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


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