In the early days of your website, you might notice there seems to be a lot of traffic you can’t explain. You might also see that you get comments or a lot of entries on your contact form.
Most of the time, these are bots. And while on face value, you might think the bots aren’t harmful or that they won’t impact your website or store – they can be malicious.
Bots are often called non-human traffic, and they make up an astonishing ⅔ of internet traffic globally. It is essential to keep in mind that bot traffic is one of the most critical tools found in digital fraud.
So how can you put an end to bot traffic and preserve your website from malicious attacks?
Bot management can be outsourced, and if you have a more extensive website, financial transactions, or memberships on your website, it is worth investing in.
What are bots?
Non-human traffic or bot traffic is how we describe the traffic that a website gets by an automated program and not a human.
Not all bot traffic is harmful; however, many bots are designed to be malicious and harm your Google Analytics data.
Bots can be used for a range of things like data scraping, DDoS attacks, and credential stuffing.
There are also legitimate bots that will perform specific operations like digital assistants and search engines. It is your job and your analytics to differentiate between the two.
Which bots should you be aware of?
As mentioned above, there is a range of bots, some legitimate and some detrimental to your website or website. Here are some of the bots that you need to be aware of.
Spambots are the ones that most website owners are familiar with; they are designed to leave comments on blogs. Often they will include links, send phishing emails, implement website directs, and more.
Click bots are designed to inflate the number of clicks something gets. This can often impact things like PPC. These bots can be very damaging since they replicate web traffic and eat into advertising budgets without having any positive outcomes for the brand.
Download bots inflate the download count of your content. Usually accessing ebooks, they download them, which gives fake performance figures.
Scraper bots have one primary purpose: to scrape and steal content from other publishers. Scraper bots can pose a danger to a company’s website. They are created by third-party scrapers and are used by business competitors to steal important material, such as product listings and pricing, which are then repurposed and published by competitors’ websites.
Imposter bots can be dangerous since they replicate human behaviors so well.
How can bot traffic negatively impact my website?
It might sound like a great idea to have something out there that will increase your downloads, clicks, and traffic, but bots can cause severe damage to your website.
Bot traffic can damage organizations if they do not learn how to recognize, control, and filter it. Sites that rely on advertising in addition to sites that offer limited-quantity items and merchandise are particularly vulnerable.
Ecommerce stores are at risk in a way that you might not consider. Bots can stack their carts with products (and never checkout). If you run a holding policy of 1 hour on items in a cart, then bots can cause real customers to miss out.
Another issue is that the bot can slow down your website with constant requests. These requests mean that actual visits have a poor experience, and this will impact your standing with search engines.
If you get a lot of bot traffic, you are likely to see the following:
- Longer load times
- High bounce rate
- Decrease in conversions
- Many abandoned carts
- More page views
- Junk email signups
- Spam comments
How you can spot spam traffic on your Google Analytics
It can be a joyous thing to see high traffic on your google analytics, but there are a couple of signs that you can use to identify bot traffic:
- Higher than average bounce rate
- Higher than pageviews
- Unexpected traffic location (noticeable in a spike)
- Increase in abandoned carts
There are a few simple ways to set up your site to screen out bot traffic if you’re using Google Analytics.
- To begin, go to your Google Analytics account and log in.
- Go to the Admin Panel of Google Analytics.
- Then, on the View tab, go to View Settings.
- Navigate towards the Bot Filtering option at the bottom of the page.
- If the checkbox is unchecked, click it to tick it.
- Finally, press the Save button.
Make sure that you don’t ignore bot traffic because, over time, it can cause havoc with your blog, website, or store.