Businesses use website traffic to maintain a powerful brand, SEO, and exploring the conversion strategy. By using web traffic, a business can gauge its long-term potential, consistency, and relevance. With over 50% of the internet traffic coming from bots, a business must devise a mechanism to stop bot traffic and bots entirely. Incorporating bot traffic in the website traffic analysis can have a serious implication on the success of a business. Before delving much deeper, let us first understand what bot traffic is.
What is Bot Traffic?
Bot traffic refers to any form of website traffic that emanates from anything other than humans. Automated computer scripts that mimic human behaviors generate this form of web traffic. Although bots have an association with malicious activities, not all bots are malicious. We can classify bot traffic into two; good bot traffic and bad bot traffic.
Types of Bot Traffic
Bad Bot Traffic
Although there are many applications of good bots, there seems to be greater, bad bot traffic. Malicious bots are developed to be destructive and deceptive. They can take content from your website and circulate it elsewhere, reducing the traffic generated by AdWords and keywords. It has the effect of lowering a website’s ranking on the Search Engine Results Page SERP because the traffic generated by your keyword is benefiting some other site. Malicious bot traffic increases the expenses on AdWords while creating false leads, spam, and Ad fraud.
Good Bot traffic
Legitimate bot traffic is usually a result of trusted sources, and hence you can trust such traffic. Chatbots and search engine bots generate good bot traffic. Search engine bots help improve a business website’s ranking on the SERP. This allows human users to generate credible traffic as the site is now visible to them. Therefore, the business can get thousands of views and traffic every hour or day.
Detecting bot traffic
Identifying bot traffic is crucial. This is because you can eliminate it before doing any analysis. Incorporating such traffic in the analysis can have a detrimental effect on a business and lead to incorrect decision-making. Below are ways to identify bot traffic.
An abnormally high bounce rate
Is there an increase in the number of users accessing your website and leaving without clicking on anything? Your site may have fallen victim to bot traffic. We use bounce rates to identify such users. An abnormal increase can be because of bots being redirected or directed to a single page.
A sudden spike in conversions that are phony-looking can also be an indicator of bot traffic. These may include; using gibberish email addresses to create accounts, using fake names and phone numbers. Form filling bots are notorious for this kind of activity.
An unexpected spike in page views
Are you experiencing abnormally high page views you did not expect? It is most likely that you are a victim of bot traffic. Bots may be clicking through your site in a repeated fashion.
Sudden increase or decrease in session duration
We refer to the period that a user stays on a website as session duration. This time should always remain relatively steady. Bots can browse through your site at a low rate which may cause the session time to increase. If the bots browse your website at a rate faster than that of a human user would, an unexpected drop in the session duration occurs.
Having looked at the indicators of bot traffic, how does it harm your business?
Effects of Bot Traffic on your Business
Slowing your website’s load time
Because bots are invasive, they consume a lot of bandwidth. It dramatically lowers the loading time of a website. The effects of this are; dissatisfaction and frustration of customers that leads to a loss or decline of sales. Are you experiencing thousands of ping requests with slow response time? Consider examining your website traffic because you may be a victim of bot traffic.
Blocking Legitimate Users
Bot traffic can block incoming connections to a website. They block the legitimate traffic from getting to your website. Lately, DDoS attacks have been on the news for bringing some most popular websites in the world offline. Using fake web traffic like HTTP header requests that are never completed, bots generate bulk traffic that overwhelms the servers. Botnets have been used widely to generate bot traffic used in DDoS attacks.
Impeding the effectiveness of advertising
The web depends on clicks, and sales online depend on clicks. With bot traffic making up over half of the online ecosystem, knowing if your ads are successful becomes harder. Many people cannot differentiate between bot traffic and legitimate human traffic. Therefore, it hinders the advertising effectiveness because you cannot tell how many people you have reached.
Inhibits analytics and performance evaluation
To evaluate the performance of your business, web traffic is an important metric. Unfortunately, as we have seen, the majority of web traffic today is bot traffic. This skewed traffic has the effect of inflating product metrics, campaign data and skewing the analytics. Therefore, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tracking are inhibited and funnel analysis disrupted. The effect of this is that you cannot rely on the data to make excellent decisions.
Diminished rankings on the SERP
Bot traffic from content scrapping bots is the next generation form of plagiarism. These bots steal your content and repost it on another website. This has the effect of hurting your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), lower your SERP ranking, cause a decline in your website’s visitors, and ultimately cause a drop in your number of sales.
Bot traffic overall is terrible for your business, especially malicious bot traffic. As we have seen, the effects are catastrophic to the extent that through a DDoS attack, bot traffic can bring down your website. Contacting a globally reputed cybersecurity company can help you eliminate bot traffic from your website completely. By investing in bot protection software, bot traffic will be a thing of the past, and you can confidently rely on your data to make crucial decisions.