Simple URLs plugin counts non-existing clicks??!

Community Forums Forums General Discussion Simple URLs plugin counts non-existing clicks??!

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Ron Rennick 9 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #48745

    Fabio
    Participant
    Post count: 176

    Hi there,
    I’ve installed the Simple URLs plugin but I don’t know what’s going on since it seems to count clicks that don’t actually happen.

    For instance it says one aff link has been clicked 79 times, but actually only 3 people have yet visited that page and on the affiliate analytics they say 0 clicks.

    This problem is happening on two different websites I’m working on and on dozens of links so that I can’t figure out if

    1) Simple URLs is not tracking properly

    2) My analytics software is not tracking properly

    3) My affiliate analytics is not tracking clicks

    Could anyone please help me figure out what’s going on?

    Thanks!

    http://letstalksex.net
    #48747

    Bill Murray
    Participant
    Post count: 572

    You need to get access to your server logs to see how many visits to the URL actually happened.

    Simple URLs might be counting all visits from all sources. Analytics software typically relies on javascript, and crawlers operate in non-javascript mode, so their visits are never counted in analytics software.

    Analytics software takes a short time for the javascript to load, so if a visitor hit the page but left before the script executed, analytics might miss it.

    Therefore, it’s possible you have a URL that has been visited 79 times by all sources, but only 3 times by visitors who tripped your analytics software. That would be unusually low, but not impossible.

    You may also have your analtyics software configured to ignore logged in or admin users, whereas Simple URLs might count them.

    Your server logs will tell the real truth. It’s entirely possible that all numbers are accurate but they are just measuring different things. With your log in hand, examine visits by IP. Check your own IP or other admins. Check the settings on your analytics software. And then determine, based on those settings, what each result should be.


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    #48804

    Fabio
    Participant
    Post count: 176

    Hey Bill thanks a lot for your thorough reply.
    So,
    I’ve checked my server logs and found only 2 clicks, so at least I know the aff analytics is not ripping me off.

    But I still wonder what those 90 (yesterday were 79) clicks SImpleURLs is registering are?

    I don’t know if I should trust this plugin to mask my aff links or if I should find an alternative?

    Thanks!

    #48818

    Bill Murray
    Participant
    Post count: 572

    Here are some further thoughts:

    1) Have you checked to see if your Simple URL affiliate links are elsewhere on the web? Has Google or another search engine indexed them? If so, then it seems like it would be possible for Simple URLs to record the link being clicked without a visitor ever reaching the page on which YOU used the link.

    2) Have you only used the Simple URLs link ink 1 place on your site? The data that Simple URLs reports is an aggregate of all uses of that link, wherever they come form.

    3) You’re likely to get better responses to your question in the support forum for the plugin on the WP repo.

    4) You can also try to read the code and make sense of what it’s counting. In my experience, ignoring bugs, these differences are explained by differences in WHAT is being counted. I suspect that the # of clicks reported by Simple URLs is accurate and includes all clicks from any source, but you haven’t tracked down all sources yet.

    5) There are other redirection plugins for you to try and most of the ones I recall come with some type of counter. But I think you’d experience the same “what is being counted” issue that you’re experiencing with Simple URLs.


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    We do managed WordPress hosting.

    #48950

    Fabio
    Participant
    Post count: 176

    Hi Billy,
    thanks for your reply. I really don’t know what’s counting.

    Google shouldn’t be indexing these links because I’m using disallow /go/ in my robots.txt and in the yoast plugin I also selected no index – no follow – no sitemap.

    Yesterday I posted a new post and according to Simple URLs, my links have been clicked 10 times for each person that read the post, which is crazy I think.

    I’m gonna try and post the question on the Simple URls forum but it looks pretty abandoned. I’ve also seen Andrea from studiopress saying to post questions about Simple URLs in the studiopress forum.

    To be honest it’s not that big of a deal if Simple URLS plugin doesn’t count properly, I just want to make sure I’m not losing affiliate sales maybe because the 301 redirect of the plugin strips away the affiliate code?
    This is actually the thing I’m afraid of.

    What do you think?
    Is that possible?

    Thanks

    #48959

    Bill Murray
    Participant
    Post count: 572

    1) I don’t think the WP repo for the plugin looks abandoned. Ron Rennick posted there a week ago. He works for SP. The light activity there is probably more a reflection of the light use of the plugin. You might also try making a post in the WP forums and then raising a ticket with SP and pointing them to your post. If you ask nicely in your ticket, maybe that will prompt someone to take a look.

    2) I did a very quick test of Simple URLs and the click counts in my test were accurate. For each click to EITHER the link to be redirected or the permalink shown by Simple URLs, the click count went up by 1.

    3) Do a google search for either your Simple URL title (your affiliate link) and your Simple URL permalink. Just because YOU noindexed something, that does not prevent me from putting that link on a page where it might be indexed. Clicks to that link will increase your click counter too.

    4) As for stripping your affiliate code, that’s easy enough for you to test. In my test, I didn’t see any stripping, but your setup might produce different results.


    Web: http://wpperform.com or Twitter: @wpperform

    We do managed WordPress hosting.

    #49828

    Fabio
    Participant
    Post count: 176

    Hi Billy,
    I’m sorry to keep bothering you with this issue but you seem the only person willing to help. I’ve posted the question on the WP plugin forum but no one replied and am still trying to figure out what’s happening.

    I’ve done a google search for my links (both masked and “pure”) but I’ve found nothing.

    What would you suggest me to do?

    On a new article just published the links appeared to be clicked 120 times, which is a lot considering that 7 people visited that article so far. I’ve also noticed a lowering of my ranking since I started using this plugin and the /go/ redirects and I’m wondering if it’s a coincidence of if something else (black hat) is going on beyond my awareness.

    Thanks for your help!

    #49920

    Bill Murray
    Participant
    Post count: 572

    1) It looks like you only posted on the WP forum recently (< 1 wee ago as of today), so I’d be patient. It’s free software, after all.

    2) What you need to do is to start with your server logs and get accurate info for the visits to the URL’s in question. For example, you say 7 people visited an article but Simple URLs reports 120 visits. Are you getting the 7 from your web log of from Google Analytics, Clicky, or some similar analytics package? Those packages don’t count crawler visits; Simple URLs probably counts EVERYTHING. The “everything” will show up in your server logs. If I had to guess, I would guess that the difference between the 120 and 7 is the crawler visits.

    3) With respect to rank, let’s keep in mind that sites do not rank, only pages (URL’s) rank. There are many factors that go into fluctuations in rank, including changes to Google’s algorithm and what your competitors are doing. Therefore, you could have a URL that dropped in rank but the cause was nothing you did at all.

    4) Cloaking affiliate links isn’t “black hat” SEO. See this from Google, and scroll down to the paragraph that starts “Note that PPC”… It’s a legitimate and common practice. Forget the word “cloaking” and instead think of “managing”. When you use a plugin like Simple URLs to manage your affiliate links, changes from 1 affiliate link to another are easy. We have a client who has 200+ affiliate links on a site, but he didn’t use Simple URLs. All of the affiliate links recently changed, and that required editing them manually on hundreds of pages. With Simple URLs, the changes would have been in 1 place and far fewer in number.


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    We do managed WordPress hosting.

    #50477

    Ron Rennick
    Keymaster
    Post count: 50

    I’m gonna try and post the question on the Simple URls forum but it looks pretty abandoned.

    I was on vacation. The advice that Bill provided above is the way to determine how you analytics is not matching up.


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