Bot traffic makes up more than 50% of all internet traffic. That’s roughly one in every two traffic generated online, which is a lot by every standard. Businesses and website owners that are serious about growing their online presence and ranking their websites must see bot traffic as an indispensable opportunity.
We will be remiss if we do not acknowledge the notorious reputation assumed about bots on the internet as well as the traffic they produce. From how they exploit website vulnerabilities and spam your site’s web page and tank its search engine ranking. This is only true for some types of bots, which we will teach you to avoid and prevent in this blog post.
This blog post is a comprehensive guide to bot traffic and in it, you will learn about:
- What bot traffic is.
- How it works.
- Some interesting facts.
- The two types of bot traffic with extensive examples.
- How to spot a bot activity.
- Advantages and disadvantages of bot traffic.
Also, we will provide answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs).
If you are ready, let’s begin.
What is Bot Traffic?
To answer this question, we will go back to the basics and remind you of what the two words that make up the term, “bot traffic” means.
A bot, also known as an online bot, is short for robot. Generally, a bot is an autonomous program or software on the internet or another network that can interact with both systems and users. They function to automate tasks that might otherwise be difficult or impossible for humans.
Website traffic describes internet users who visit your website. It is measured in visits or sessions. This is a meter for determining if your website is attracting enough audience.
Bot traffic refers to all non-human traffic your website receives. As you probably already know, it is very common on the internet. So common, in fact, your website has most likely been visited by bots. For context, more than 40 % of the total internet traffic in 2022 was generated from non-human interaction.
The gag, however, is that bot traffic can either be beneficial for your website or detrimental. You will see this in detail later in this article.
If done appropriately, it is difficult to differentiate bot traffic from human traffic, which can improve your website’s organic traffic. Furthermore, this can go on to have a positive impact on the SEO of your site.
When most website owners want to rank their websites high on Google and position them for actual organic traffic, they employ appropriate traffic bots. ClickSEO is a perfect traffic bot you can use to drive traffic on your site.
How Bot Traffic Works
Before you decide to use bots to generate traffic for your, it is important to know how it interacts with your website.
Traffic bots, like any other bot, are simply programmed scripts that drive human-like traffic to your website. They crawl through the internet and fetch your web address from Google or other search engines. Then these bots click on your website and open a couple more web pages.
The great thing about these traffic bots is that they mimic human users, which means their traffic can pass as organic traffic. So, naturally Google and other search deems your website valuable and therefore boost your ranking on SERPs. That’s not all, this ranking positions your website to receive actual organic traffic.
The general perception of traffic bots on the internet is that they are useless at best and harmful at worst. This paints a pretty scary picture of bots on the internet. This, of course, is with good reason as a lot of bots on the internet are malicious.
There are lots of terrible people on the internet and sometimes they create malicious bots that prowl the web looking for sites to harm. That said, there are also beneficial online bots.
In the next section, we will explore the two types of bots on the internet and give examples.
Types of Bots
Any website owner who is serious about driving user traffic to their site and ranking on search engines understands the importance of bots to these goals. Beyond basic understanding, however, you must also know that by design, some bots are good while some are bad.
A good bot is any online bot that helps you perform useful tasks without harming your website and negatively impacting users' experiences. Good bots are, by design, programmed to be helpful to your website while improving user interaction.
But because good bots share some fundamental similarities with bad bots, it can become difficult to differentiate one from the other, especially when you institute bot management measures to block malicious bots.
To help understand the difference, the following are examples of good bot traffic.
As much as businesses would like to be there for their customers 24/7, they might not have the resources to make it happen. But a chatbot can fill in for human representatives when they are unavailable. This is what makes chatbots one of the most useful bots features in every website and app in modern-day marketing. It simulates a conversation with human users on behalf of a business.
One of the foremost examples of chatbots is ELIZA, a program that acted like a psychotherapist and responded to questions. Like most chatbots today, it ran a straightforward question-and-response script that automatically generated responses to questions, all the while mimicking psychotherapist style.
The primary goal of every website owner is to attract as much traffic as they can handle. To achieve this, they first have to successfully index their web page and make it easier for internet users to find. Sometimes, even after doing all the right things, it can be a tough job to get your website to the number one position on SERPs. SEO crawlers ensure that your website ranks.
SEO crawlers prowl the web to gather relevant data that they can use to index your website in Google and other search engines, drive organic traffic to your website, and boost its search engine rankings. For people in the SEO space, this is one of the important online bots.
In this era where a huge chunk of the world’s transactions is done online, this list will be incomplete without transactional bots. Seeing as bots can interact with any endpoint that has an API, transactional bots have the potential to automate several custom solutions.
Transactional bots are square pegs in square holes in the world of robotic business process automation (BPA), which has grown from $180 million in 2013 and is expected to reach $10.01 billion in 2022. $5B by 2020. The projection puts the market at $43.52 billion by 2029. This makes transactional bots one of the most useful, valuable bots on the market.
Informational or feed or aggregator bots
Imagine having to go through the internet, going from one website after another, searching for relevant information and updates to keep users and subscribers abreast. It is tasking to do this every time. Informational bots are specifically designed to automate this process and save you the trouble.
Informational bots cover everything about thorough content fetching, which includes collecting useful information from multiple websites to keep users or subscribers updated about the news, events, and blog posts. They also cover aspects of language censoring in chat rooms, comment sections, and groups.
Analyzing trades and watching them 24/7 like a hawk takes a lot of human effort which may not always be available. Trader bots can help to automate several of these processes. Let’s say, for instance, that you would like to buy a particular stock if it hits a set low figure or sells another if it reaches an all-time high number. If you rely strictly on your senses, you might miss the window. But with these bots, you can make the trade without being present.
Examples can be seen in nearly every cryptocurrency app or website at the moment.
These bots are a major feature in commercial companies where they help them to crawl the Internet for relevant market information, such as competitor’s coupon (discount) codes. Commercial bots also cover sales bots that function to serve humans on the internet.
Marketing research companies could also use commercial bots to monitor market news reports and customer reviews. For digital marketing agencies, these bots might be instrumental in picking out the optimal spot to place ads.
There is an awful lot of intellectual property theft going on daily on the internet, mostly with impunity. But with copyright bots, you can protect your properties online. These bots crawl the internet thoroughly scanning to ensure no one is illegally using any copyrighted material without express permission. These bots can easily fish out duplicated text, music, images, or even videos.
Often, these bots are under the control of individuals or companies who want to protect their copyrighted content.
These bots serve the function of self-preservation for websites. As a website owner, the safety and responsiveness of your site are paramount. They monitor the overall health of your website, evaluate its accessibility, and send updates about page load times and downtime duration. In all, monitoring your website is done to ensure it stays healthy and responsive. Monitoring bots also keep tabs on website metrics, including user traffic, backlinks, etc.
The bot will notify you immediately if there’s a malfunction.
Bad bots are designed with malicious intent in mind. There tend to be more bad bots on the internet, so much so that the stats are staggering. Bad bots now make up more than 20 percent of web traffic. In 2022, bad bot traffic is projected to account for 27.7 % of internet traffic.
As the name implies, bad bots are bad and produce only bad bot traffic, which will only harm your website's search engine ranking. It is because of bots like these that bot traffic gets such a bad reputation in today’s internet market.
The following are some bots you don’t want on your website:
Botnets are a string or network of infected devices programmed to carry out DDoS (distributed denial of service). DDoS attacks use these networks of devices to overwhelm websites with useless bot traffic. This eventually bogs down your website, causing it to be slow and unresponsive. This will impact your organic traffic as users typically stay away from such websites.
Spammer bots, otherwise called spambots, are an internet nuisance. They are created to post irrelevant, low-quality promotional content all over the internet to drive traffic to spammers’ websites. Spambots fill out contact forms on websites with bogus details and spam website owners with invasive promotional messages.
The way they do this is through the use of malware and black-hat SEO techniques which could cause such websites from getting blacklisted by Google and other search engines.
These bots are particularly designed to steal users’ personal information, such as emails, phone numbers, professions, genders, etc., from your websites, and apps. Scraped information can include text, images, HTML files, and even videos, which they will reuse without permission. Scraper bots have no benefit to the general internet populace. Only the scraper benefits.
A peculiar variation of scraper bots is email scrapers. While a general scraper bot can steal all sorts of information, email scrapers collect only email addresses and proceed to send malicious emails to them.
An example of this bot is propaganda bots, which are designed to mimic human behavior on the internet while they sway political opinion, often by drowning dissenting opinions. They are quite common during election years.
Hacker bots are designed for credential stuffing and brute force attacks. The way they work is to try and gain access to your website by logging in like a real user so they can steal sensitive information.
As the name implies, they visit vendor websites to buy up massive entertainment events tickets of A-list celebrities or purchase bulk of newly released products of popular brands. Brokers all over the world use them to resell tickets or products at a much higher price to turn a profit.
How to Spot Bot Activity
Google Analytics is the most straightforward technique for detecting bot traffic. In there, you can see all your essential website metrics, including bounce rate, average time on page, page views, and other such analytics data. From this comprehensively presented information, you will be able to tell if your website has been impacted by bot traffic and to what degree.
The following website metrics will help you differentiate bots from humans.
Bounce rate describes the rate at which visitors come to your page and close it on the first page without as much as clicking anything. It is calculated as the number of single-page sessions divided by all sessions or the percentage of all sessions on your website in which visitors viewed just one single page.
As a rule, a high bounce rate means that users do not like your website, so they leave in a hurry. A low bounce rate, on the other hand, implies great website likeability. But it could also mean bot activity.
Humans presumably visit your website from an engine result query, for example, then click through your pages to explore your offerings. An average human visitor might visit a couple of pages on your website before leaving. But if you suddenly experience a hike in traffic up to the tune of say 50 to 60 pages being viewed, you can almost be sure it is a bot activity.
Average Session Duration
A session is a time a user spends on a website per visit. Really short sessions can mean one of two things. One, your content is so low-quality that your users couldn’t wait to leave. Or two, bots are responsible. Once you are confident about the quality and relevance of your web content, then it’s probably bot activities.
Test for Content Duplication
Content is the core of every website. And when bots invade, that’s usually one of the first things that come under attack. Monitor the internet for duplicates of your content to ensure scraper bots haven’t stolen your content and reused it somewhere. You can use tools and platforms like Steiner, Duplichecker, and CopyScape.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bot Traffic
Seeing as there are good and bad bots, using for bots to perform any function on your website will have advantages and disadvantages. They can help you with research, load testing, and promotions. They can also be the reason website collapse or spam users. We will evaluate both options in this section.
- Bot traffic increases your overall website traffic. This is by far the most common reason website even opt for bots is because of the traffic. The good ones will make the traffic look organic.
- Bot traffic can be a real and effective way to grow your website if you pick the right bots to do. You get enough traffic and Google (as well as other search engines) will rank you high and position you to have real human traffic.
- It gives you more control over the quantity of traffic you want your website to have daily.
- The good ones are simple and easy to use. There is also no ambiguity as to what to expect.
- Bot traffic is great because it is proof that there is a quicker way to things, faster than humans at repetitive tasks. Bots save you time and money, and quite frankly, your website’s reputation.
- Bot traffic is just that, traffic from bots. It doesn’t lead to active subscribers to your newsletter or become customers, buyers, or clients. Bot traffics won’t build you an engaging community of leads or build you follower base you could leverage.
- You will require human management to oversee bots' activities, especially to make sure that they stick to their scripts.
- Bot traffic can result in serious penalties for your website from Google and other search engines. Google, for instance, has a term of use that bots would most likely breach, thereby exposing your website to penalties, up to getting blacklisted on search engines.
This section will attempt to answer some frequently asked questions about bot traffic.
Are Bots Legal?
Yes, bots are legal. Bots are not the problem, it is what some of them are programmed to do that is illegal. For example, you can use chatbots in states like New York and California, but bots capturing event ticket information are illegal in these areas. So, it is what you ultimately do with bots that make it illegal or not.
Who Can Use Bots Traffic?
Literally, anyone or businesses that want to automate organic traffic. The hack is to both stay away and protect your website from bad bots.
Why Should You Care About Bot Traffic?
Buying bot traffic is one of the fastest ways to rank on Google and other search engines, which position to receive actual traffic. It goes without saying, bot traffic should be complementary and not the sole strategy for your website. Find out more on why you need bot traffic in this article. You can also see the advantages of traffic bots in this article.
Bot traffic is now an important part of web traffic and it is counterintuitive to underestimate it. If you run a website, it is because you expect users to visit. But it is not easy to get people to visit your site out of the million other similar and probably even more sophisticated ones. This is why bot traffic is vital. By using bots to drive traffic to your website and rank on search engines, you even have the playing field.
If you decide to go the way of bot traffic, note these two things. First, use only good bots and stay away from bad traffic. Second, use good bots that are great at making bot traffic look like human traffic.