Bots make up about 40% of all Internet traffic. Some bots are essential for web services, while others are malicious and can cause significant cyber risk. Unauthorized bot traffic can negatively impact your organization by skewing analytics metrics and hindering efforts to improve site performance. It also contaminates your data, leading to better business decisions and customer experience.
What is Bot Traffic?
Bots are automated programs that perform repetitive, time-consuming tasks at a rate human users can’t. They’re omnipresent in the digital world. You’ve probably seen them on Twitter, replacing words in headlines like “blockchain” with “Beyonce” or on Reddit, where they colorize black and white photos. But not all bots are created equal. Some positively impact websites and web applications, while others can cause harm.
Malicious bots eat up your advertising budget and steal sensitive data. They can also skew analytics metrics and interfere with website and application performance.
Bad bot traffic can cause issues with site metrics such as page views, bounce rates, session durations, and the geolocation of users. Unauthorized bots also generate fraudulent ad clicks used for click spamming, thus depriving publishers and site owners of their hard-earned money.
In addition, bad bots can put a strain on servers and slow down websites. They can also cause security breaches by scraping information and creating fake accounts. Bot management solutions can help preserve page load performance, optimize security resources, and stop BOT traffic by blocking unwanted bot traffic at the source. The best way to detect a bad bot is to monitor your analytics metrics for a sudden spike in traffic. It would help if you also looked for many suspicious visits, a long session duration, and a sudden increase in your site’s bounce rate.
What are the Types of Bot Traffic?
Bot traffic has gotten quite the bad rap from webmasters, but it comes in good and bad flavors. Good bots are designed to do useful things like check websites for broken links, collect data, or help with site performance optimization. On the other hand, bad bots can be unleashed to steal content, infiltrate servers, and even launch a denial-of-service attack.
One of the main types of good bot traffic is search engine bots, internet robots that crawl websites to help with SEO performance. These bots are often sent by third-party service providers and are considered good for website owners because they help with organic search rankings. Other good bots include analytics bots designed to analyze site performance and provide valuable information to website owners. These bots can also detect errors in website code or improve user experience. However, it is important to note that these bots can also skew analytics metrics like page views, bounce rate, and session duration. This skewing can impede the effectiveness of analytics-based site improvements like A/B testing and conversion rate optimization. Unsolicited bot traffic is a big problem for digital businesses. It can slow site speeds, strain web servers, and lead to sluggish site performance that frustrates consumers and hurts business growth. Furthermore, it can skew analytics metrics and render them useless for marketing analysis.
How Can I Detect Bot Traffic?
There are a lot of bots out there, but not all are created equal. While some bots are necessary to operate digital services like search engines and personal assistants, others are used for malicious purposes such as price scraping, DDoS attacks, account takeovers, etc.
Unauthorized bot traffic can significantly impact the performance of websites, especially those that rely on ad revenue. It can skew analytics metrics such as bounce rate, conversions, page views, geolocation of users, and session duration, among other things. This can make it difficult to measure website performance and optimize website features for user experience.
Detecting bot traffic can be tricky as most are written to perform repetitive tasks much faster than humans. But certain indicators can help you spot suspicious activity. Some of these include: One of the easiest ways to check for bot activity is by examining page view data in Google Analytics. A sudden and disproportionate increase in page views can indicate that the website is flooded with bot activity.
How Can I Block Bot Traffic?
Bot traffic affects business metrics by skewing analytics reports and stealing revenue. It can also damage site performance, resulting in poor user experiences.
The good news is that it’s not difficult to identify bad bot traffic by looking at key website metrics. For example, a sudden and abnormal increase in bounce rate could indicate that the bot has visited the site only once and then left (the average bot session duration is two seconds). A sudden spike in traffic from a specific location that doesn’t match the business’s target customer base can also indicate bot traffic. Another key indicator is the number of hits from diverse IP addresses on your web server logs. A tool can dig into endless raw server logs to identify unusual IP activity and blacklist the offending address.
Malicious bots are responsible for click fraud, costing advertisers billions annually. Blocking this non-human traffic is an urgent priority for digital publishers, and a reliable bot management solution is essential to combating it. Bot management software can accurately identify the most sophisticated bots and use enforcement challenges to disable them at scale. Its robust and customizable rules can protect a publisher’s platform from malicious bots, allowing them to focus on serving valuable content and advertising to their human audience.