What is Bot Traffic and What Do Bots Do?
Are you seeing a huge spike in the number of users and pageviews on your website seemingly out of nowhere? It could mean that your new marketing campaigns have just kicked in and are giving you improved results. However, if you’re seeing large increases in bounce rate and decreases in average session time, you could be experiencing an increase in bot traffic.
What is bot traffic? Bot traffic is almost any traffic on your website that is not caused by humans. It is caused by software programs that are designed to have specific tasks they perform while scouring the internet. Bots can complete tasks extremely fast and in a manner that is much more efficient than humans can perform the same task.
There are many different types of bots crawling the internet that are designed for different tasks. Some bots are good and other bots are bad.
Good bots are helpful to your website and can perform several different tasks such as:
- Monitor website security
- Improve SEO by checking incoming URL’s
- Gather data to keep current information available to users
- Index website pages to make them accessible for search engines like Google
Bad bots are designed with malevolent purposes such as:
- Stealing content from websites
- Inserting spam or unsought advertisements and links
- Making large purchase orders with the intent of reselling at many times the original cost when items are no longer available
How do you know that you’re getting bot traffic? There are certain website metrics you can look at to determine whether or not it is from bot traffic. Bot traffic is largely caused by direct visits to your website rather than being caused by organic or social media visits. Bounce rates showing nearly 100%, average pages per session being close to 1, or average session duration being around 0 seconds are all clear indicators that your website is getting bot traffic. Bots can also show up as users from many different states or countries that you may not operate in.
Unfortunately, thousands of new bots are created daily which makes it nearly impossible to filter their activity in your website analytics results. Even if you go through the trouble of filtering current bots your website is getting, new ones are constantly being deployed and you will have to spend endless hours each day attempting to stop them all.
The good news is that you are able to use analytic information to help you determine the difference between bot visits and human visits. One of the best metrics to pay attention to is the organic traffic your website receives. This traffic will nearly always be coming from humans that are using search engines like Google to find your business. Organic traffic is largely made up of new users that likely have never been to your website before and are typically the ones you will want to find your website which can bring in new clients to your business.
By looking into the details of website metrics through your reporting dashboard, you will be able to get the most out of the data collected and not have to worry about skewed results from bots!