Isn’t it strange that about 40% of all internet traffic is not humans? No, we’re not saying your pets are getting intelligent enough to use Google search (but it’s funny to picture).
Traffic bots are useful for services such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Amazon Alexa. However, some bots are malicious and can be used to scrape data, stuff credentials, and cause click fraud.
What is a Traffic Bot?
Any traffic activity on your website or app not related to humans is performed by traffic bots. These bots are developed to perform mundane, repetitive tasks on the internet under automated software. They aren’t necessarily a good or bad thing, it all depends on the purpose of said bots and what they’re created for.
Unfortunately, about 30% of all web traffic comes from bad traffic bots. These bots are designed to steal web content, scalp inventories and pocket user account information. Even when these immoral attacks are unsuccessful, they still fill your web servers and hinder your website’s performance, possibly making it inaccessible to real people.
Good Traffic Bots
There are a few examples of good traffic bots which try to make your website more visible and accessible to users. Unlike bad bots, these bots are designed with good intentions to enhance website performance and search engines.
Search Engine Bots
Some of the most prevalent bots are owned by search engine providers like Google or Bing. They are designed to crawl the massive amount of content on the internet to show human users who search for it. These traffic bots are the best of the bunch: they help you get on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and in front of customers!
Partner “Vendor” Traffic Bots
These bots are used when you or a website agency checks your website’s SEO performance. Good examples are Ahrefs, SEMrush and Moz, which check your traffic, keyword performance and more.
They do offer a variety of useful services. It’s best to limit the number of requests on these websites during any large events that you hope to measure afterwards.
Similar to vendor bots, commercial bots belong to companies that collect online content. These traffic bots may fit into a “neutral” category, as they are not helping or harming your business. The following examples are commercial bots:
- Aggregator Bots: They find relevant content for other sites/platforms (usually without consent). They can boost your content reach however.
- Price Comparison Bots: These are typical with merchandise and are similar to aggregator traffic bots. Any quick price comparison tool for flights or hotels uses these bots.
- Copyright Bots: These traffic bots have good intentions to ensure nobody is illegally claiming copyrighted content. They scan images, videos, and other creative works. These come from reputable sources (Google, Youtube, Bing etc.) and follow site policies.
Bad Traffic Bots
These bots pose as human users with malicious intent. They will perform disruptive and harmful tasks and can permanently damage your website.
Signs of Bad Traffic Bots
There are a few symptoms and signs to observe if your website is attracting traffic bots.
Bounce Rate & Website Traffic
Are you noticing a sudden increase in your website’s bounce rate and traffic numbers? Usually, if it’s at the same time, it’s a sign of bad traffic bots. Traffic increases could mean bad bots coming to your site and the bounce rate would indicate the bot isn’t exploring your other pages' content.
The same can be said with a suspiciously low bounce rate as well. If your bounce rate is too low, it could indicate bots could be scraping and stealing your content.
A Drop in Page Loading Speed
If you haven’t made any big website changes to your website, your page load speed shouldn’t fall. Again, there are plenty of reasons for this, such as image resolution and web host plugins. It could also mean that bad traffic bots are entering your site at the same time.
It’s worth noting down if the page load speed was sudden or gradual, as the former could indicate bad bots.
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is a gradual metric for website owners, but keep an eye on your website's keyword search ranking.
A sudden drop in SEO performance could indicate bad traffic bots duplicating your content. A good way to prevent this is to set up canonical tags on your pages and blog posts so Google knows your articles are canonical.
If customers begin calling or emailing you about being unable to buy your products, it may be scalper bots. These bad traffic bots are designed to make rapid purchases of products online to then scalp later at a higher price to customers.
Conclusion On Using Traffic Bots
So, is it good to use traffic bots? The answer is sometimes. Many traffic bots are already used to help your website, but there are plenty of malicious bots to watch for.
If you’re worried about your site’s analytics or performance, we monitor your website’s analytics regularly at Choquer Creative. This way, we can inform you of any strange activity transpiring on your site.
Curious to learn more? Don’t hesitate to check out what we offer in terms of website packages for you.