In today’s world, having a brand’s online existence has become a prerequisite to attract, target, and derive action from the maximum number of customers. In order to develop a robust web presence, it is essential to closely monitor factors that can negatively impact the ranking of the website and ultimately lead to a low user base. One of the critical factors to be considered is bot traffic as it plays a vital role in the life of a website.
What is Bot Traffic and What Are Its Categories
Bots, a shortened term for robots, are online visitors to your website that come to collect information. They are also known as bot traffic. Note that not all the traffic that reaches your site is human. In fact, more than 40% of traffic that lands on your website is generated by bots. It is crucial to identify if the bot traffic is doing favor or harm to your online presence. Bots can be good or bad for the website’s health depending on their intent. This is why it is essential to understand bot traffic and implement a proper strategy for managing it to ensure that your website remains robust. Mainly there are two types of traffic bots: Good Bots and Bad Bots.
A good bot performs valuable and effective tasks without adversely affecting the experience of the user. When taking measures to prevent bad bots from accessing your website, ensure that you do not accidentally block the good bots. The following bots are examples of good bots traffic:
Chatbots can mimic the way humans interact with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. They can promptly answer the questions of the visitors, serving as customer support agents. Super-smart chatbots can imitate natural, human-like conversations and are also referred to as ‘knowledge bots’.
Search engine bots are among the most significant types of good bots traffic. These web bots crawl, visit, and assist in indexing web pages on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. With these crawlers, search engines can deliver high-quality search experiences for the netizens by pulling out content that is most relevant and authentic.
Web scraping bots act as internet detectives that seek and collect specific information from websites. They extract a substantial amount of data from websites and then save it for various purposes. Web scraping is typically accomplished with the assistance of tools like ProWebScraper, Webscraper.io, etc. Its applications are usually found in retail marketing and equity search. For instance, online stores employ scraper bots to monitor product prices across different shops while Marketers use scrapers to figure out how people feel about things on social media platforms.
Shopping bots are a valuable tool for customers to find the best products at suitable prices and uncover deals that match their preferences. It also gives individual suggestions to users on applications to enhance customer satisfaction and overall experience.
Monitoring bots help keep your systems protected by daily checking for malware like bugs and bad software. They also analyze human activity on the internet and website usage patterns whenever unusual occurrences are detected on your website, these monitoring bots promptly notify you. Some monitoring bots collaborate with other bots, like chatbots, to ensure seamless and efficient operations.
Transaction bots function as digital cashiers for online stores. They verify your payment and personal details to ensure that customers have followed secure and right procedures during their purchase. These bots are helpful in keeping your money-related details secure from potential scammers.
Protecting your images online from copyright breaches can be challenging when done independently. It is where copyright bots come in to simplify the process by monitoring websites to make sure no one is using your original image without permission.
Bad bots, also called malware bots, engage in malicious activities that can disrupt the operation of the companies. They can interfere with the system’s functionality, create unfair advantages, flood inboxes with spam, or attempt to breach confidential information. Here are some types of these bad bots that are often seen:
Spambots search for email addresses on the internet. They gather these addresses and store such data. Then, they send lots of irritating spam emails to a lot of people at once. These spambots can also make fake accounts and write messages on websites and social media. They deceive to entice people into clicking on sites that are harmful or downloading unwanted data often leading to security risks and privacy breaches..
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) bots affect the functioning of a website or application through a DDoS attack. Huge traffic in the form of large requests or messages has been sent to the website that overwhelms it, making it unavailable for real users to use.
Fraud bots imitate human-like actions to carry out fraudulent activity on ads. Fraud bots click on ads to amplify the revenue of advertisers and raise the cost for marketers, all without delivering any genuine leads or customers.
Social Media Bots
Social media bots conduct false practices on social media like creating fake accounts and generating fake follows, likes, and comments. These actions are carried out with the intent to gain fame and disseminate misinformation to the audience.
How to Detect Bot Traffic
Marketers can assess how their website is being used by examining the requests coming to their site, and pinpointing the activity that suggests it’s bot traffic. Additionally, they can make their work easy by using special tools like Google Analytics or Heap to identify any potential malicious activity that might be occurring.
The following behaviors predict that your website has bot traffic:
Unusual Spike in Pageviews
If you experience an abnormal and sudden peak of traffic on your website, it is most likely that bots are performing actions.
Unusual Increase in Bounce Rate
One of the indicators of a fake traffic bot is that the bounce accelerates. Visits on a single webpage without a click-through rate reflect bot traffic.
Extremely High or Low Session Time
The average time span that users spend on a website usually remains the same. If you encounter a hype or drastic decrease in the session time, then this might be due to bots browsing your website.
Witnessing a lot of leads with fake email addresses, gibberish names, and non-existent phone numbers, demonstrates that the bots are filling the forms.
How to Prevent Bot Traffic and Protect Your Online Visibility
To halt unwanted bot traffic on a website, the first step is to create a file called “robots.txt.” This file instructs bots what they’re allowed to do on the site. However, it’s important to know that only good bots follow these standards; it won’t stop bad, malicious bots from causing havoc.
There are a couple of ways to handle bad bot traffic. One way is to restrict the number of requests coming from one internet address, but this won’t catch all the bad bots. Another method is for a network expert to examine the website’s traffic and spot suspicious requests, then block the problematic IP addresses using a filtering tool. However, the easiest and most effective way to stop bad bot traffic is to use a special bot management system. This system uses smart technology and behavior analysis to stop bad bots before they even get to the website. For instance, Cloudflare Bot Management uses data from lots of websites and machine learning to find and stop bad bots.
Bots can be fruitful or detrimental to the website. Getting effective bot traffic to your site that would benefit the owner while stopping the bad bots from fooling will lead you to a web presence that’s secure and safeguarded. Ensure the soundness of your website by becoming aware of bot traffic and how to tackle it smartly.