As companies become more dependent on the internet, it is essential to know the effect that bot traffic has on businesses.
What exactly is bot traffic?
Bot traffic is the term used to describe non-human visitors who visit your website, comprising 42.3 percent of all Internet web traffic.
“Bots are designed to crawl the internet and gather information regarding websites,” stated Dan Casey, GeoDigital Media’s search engine optimization (SEO) manager.
Though some bots may be completely innocuous, others could negatively impact the performance of your site and its security
Learn about website bots, learn to distinguish the difference between a legitimate and uninformed traffic bot and find out how to keep track of the bot activity on your site in this guide on bot traffic.
The Best Website Traffic Bots
The Good Bots, also referred to as web robots, similar to Google Web crawlers, are programs that are automated that crawl websites and aid search engines index websites.
They are vital to the way the internet functions and to make search results more effective and precise. Making sure your site has been optimized to work with these powerful bots is essential.
Casey claimed that the bots will have a more successful time navigating your website when you optimize your web design, content, and user experience.
Web traffic bots with good quality can also collect data from websites that webmasters can utilize to understand their audience and evaluate the performance of their website.
Bots with good intentions can be useful in a variety of ways, including helping to improve search engine ranking collecting information for analytics, enhancing customer experience, evaluating web performance, and making sure that it is that the website is up and running as well as security conformity.
For instance, technical SEO agencies employ SEMRush or Ahrefs to find out the keywords your site is ranked for, or Google Webmaster Tools to check the website’s traffic. All of these services rely on some form of bot activity to operate.
The Bots on the Bad Website Traffic
Bad bots, on the contrary, are malignant software that is created to scrape data or slow down a website’s performance.
They range from basic scripts to complex hacker tools based on AI that employ sophisticated techniques such as credential stuffing and brute force attacks or click fraud.
A bot that is not properly used on a website can result in significant harm to an organization in a variety of ways, such as:
* Taking personal information
* Distributing malware
* Hijacking accounts
* Destruction of websites
* DDOS attacking websites to shut them down
Apart from the obvious damage, an unprofessional traffic bot could create for your company, They also create fake traffic to websites, which can alter analytics data and lead to incorrect conclusions about your customer behaviour on your website.
This could, in turn impact the “website’s speed and safety.” Casey cites an example of a bot taking up a significant portion of your website’s bandwidth and causing a slowdown to the speed of your server.
“Slow speeds indicate a poor user experience and a poor user experience implies that Google is likely to lower your rank in the SERP,” Casey said.
Poor website bot traffic is of particular concern to eCommerce websites with a high SEO rank since they’re more prone to being targeted by malicious bots because of the importance of their customer data.
Additionally, websites that rely heavily on revenue from advertising for their content, like news sites could be at the risk of having their ad performance impacted by bots that are not performing as they should.
In essence, good bots offer valuable information, whereas poor traffic bots can affect your site’s performance and security.
GeoDigital Media’s agency for technical SEO assists businesses to avoid negative bots by implementing security features to their site which we’ll discuss more in our blog.
Incoming! How to identify bots coming to Your Website
Bot traffic is a regular phenomenon, and identifying the person a visitor to your website can be a challenge. After you have a better understanding of the meaning of bot traffic and what it is, let’s take examine a few methods to identify the bad and good bots that are visiting your website.
1. Check the patterns of traffic on websites.
One of the best ways to begin identifying bots is to look at the patterns of web traffic of your users.
If you observe an unusually large amount of traffic coming from a particular source, or if you notice that a lot of requests are coming by an IP address over the time frame, most likely, you’re possibly bots.
Ask yourself questions like:
* Do I receive many visits but only a few page views?
* Do my users spend long periods of time on my website, or are they leaving fast?
• How frequently do guests return following having made their initial visit?
The answers to these questions could provide clues about whether or not a portion of your traffic comes from bots.
Be aware of all changes to the behaviour of these bots over time.
For instance, if you observe an increase in a specific bot during the time frame, it may indicate that something unusual occurs.
2. Examine the behaviour of users and interactions
Additionally, you can use information from interactions and user behaviour on your site to identify bot traffic.
Pay attention to visitors’ actions once they visit your website, for example, the amount of time they spend on your site, the pages they browse and if they sign-up for emails or download content.
Links that users click while browsing your website could be a sign of bots that are exhibiting harmful behaviour.
If you see a huge number of clicks coming from a particular source, this could be a sign of bot activity that is automated.
If you’ve observed any unusual requests or unusual shifts in behaviour of users which don’t correspond with human-like behaviour this could be a sign bots have been at work on your site.
3. Use the IP Address Tracking Tools
These tools track IP addresses exactly as they are: tools which help you find and track IP addresses used by your site’s visitors.
These tools are utilized by technical SEO agencies, and they can be useful when trying to find out if bots are involved since they allow you to block bots that are malicious as well as blacklisting certain IP addresses when they are believed for being malicious.
It is also possible to use these tools to track the activities of particular IP addresses throughout time and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
4. Verify Website Traffic and unusual Sign-ins or Bot Signatures
Unusual logins and signatures of bots are different ways to determine the bad and good bots that are able to access your site.
Find suspicious logins trying to penetrate your system. You should also look for typical bot signatures, such as strings of user-agents. Ask yourself, what bots are doing on that particular part of your site.
If you are able to recognize one of the login requests or user agents, it’s possible they’re part of a malicious bot. Eliminate them immediately.
5. Keep track of Web Crawlers and spiders that visit your Website
While most search engine spiders are generally harmless (like Google crawlers on the web), There are criminal ones on the market (like spider bots) that’s sole goal is taking content from other websites without authorization.
Therefore, it’s crucial to know which web crawlers are visiting your website so that you can guard yourself from any possible threats.
6. Monitor Server Loads to detect abnormal Activity
Additionally, noticing sudden spikes in traffic may be an indication that bots with malicious intent attempt to gain access to your website.
In the same way, if you aren’t getting the same amount of organic traffic from search engines as you’d expect, It could indicate that a bot that isn’t working properly is overflowing your site using fake traffic.
Bot Patrol Control Effectively Bot Traffic on Your Website
If you’ve learned how to identify bot traffic on your site, the next step is to control it in a way that is effective.
There are a variety of tools and methods to minimize the impact of bots on your website. Let’s take a look at some of them.
1. Create Your Robots.txt File
Casey first mentions the robots.txt file as the primary option to defend yourself against bad bots.
The robots.txt file acts as a wall between your website and the crawlers.
It includes instructions for crawlers to know what pages should be indexed and which ones should remain private
The text file is located within your site’s root directory and includes instructions for bots, crawlers, and site crawlers on what content should be crawled or indexed by these engines.
By creating the robots.txt file, in essence, you’re giving bots a list of directories and files they’re allowed access to, and those that should be excluded from being crawled, or indexed.
This means that when a bot that is malicious does enter your site, you will be able to prevent bots that are malicious from accessing sensitive information as well as areas where they could be harmful.
2. Use the appropriate filters and Blocking Rules
Once you’ve set up your robots.txt file, The following step will be to design some blocking and filtering rules to block certain types of traffic coming from various sources.
For example, if see an influx of visitors being directed to certain areas or countries that aren’t relevant to your company, It is possible to create filters to block bots that are malicious to block this type of traffic from coming into your site.
These filters can help stop unwanted visitors from entering your site while also allowing legitimate users to access your content with no difficulty or disruption.
3. IP-Based Solutions
Another method to spot bots prior to them entering your website is to use an IP-based system like Cloudflare Access Rules or Akamai Network Address Translation (NAT).
According to Casey, Blocking IP addresses that are associated with bad bots could “minimize the quantity of bot-related traffic that is a threat to your site.”
These tools let you control who is able to access certain sections of your website according to their IP address. This includes blocking traffic from bad bots before it even reaches the gateway!
This kind of security is particularly important for eCommerce sites, where customers require secure access to purchase online securely and safely.
4. Utilize the power of a Web Application Firewall
If you are looking for an additional security layer to protect yourself from bots with malicious intent, you should consider using a Web Application Firewall (WAF).
A WAF is an additional security measure, checking the traffic that is coming in for malicious code, and stopping it from reaching the server, where it can cause harm.
It’s important to keep in mind that WAFs are able to detect only known threats. If something is brand new like an exploit that is zero-day, the WAF cannot block it until it’s discovered by the databases of known threat types.
But, WAFs are able to defend against the majority of cyberattacks. They are definitely worth looking into when you are considering ways to safeguard yourself from malicious bot traffic.
5. Install CAPTCHAs
You’ve probably come across one of these. The Captchas are also known as Tests that are completely automated that help you tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHAs).
Based on Casey, CAPTCHAs are used to ensure that a user isn’t a bot, by providing them with a kind of challenge, for example:
* Typing letters in from an image
* Solving math problems
* Choosing images that are in line with an appropriate description
This makes it more difficult that malicious robots to slip through and gain access to sensitive information since Captchas require human brains to figure them out.
Guard your website’s search performance from the harm of GeoDigital Media
From crawling from crawling to IP blocking, and more bots can be both an advantage and a drawback for webmasters.
It is essential to think about the ways to ensure your site is secure from any harm bots can cause. You can safeguard yourself from dangers by knowing and managing bot traffic correctly.
So, get ready yourself for the web-based bots’ wild world!If you feel that all this is too much then don’t be afraid. Contact GeoDigital Media for help with technical SEO as well as the Google Analytics. As a top SEO company we’ll make sure that your site stands out from the competitors like a professional-bot.