Website traffic – is more always better?

The dangers of website bots and their impact on your analytics

Website analytics and website bots

A bot, an automated little creature, is a software application that has been developed and programmed to perform particular tasks. These tasks are often repetitive and so a bot, which acts according to its instructions without the need for breaks, saves a person from manually doing a very boring job.

And this is what’s key, bot website traffic, while it may be able to mimic human website traffic, is not human website traffic.

Knowingly or otherwise, iIt’s more than likely you’ve interacted with one.

If you’ve ever taken advantage of the live chat option on a website to ask a question, then you’ve probably interacted with a bot which has been programmed to respond to certain phrases with a set response.

Bots also continuously scan web pages from across the internet for their content, this is how Google, for example, crawls the internet indexing web pages so that they show up in search results.

Overall, just over 40% of internet traffic is made up of bots according to Imperva’s latest report.

While you may find some of the less sophisticated chatbots annoying, neither of the above is anything to be concerned about. However, as Cloudflare sets out, there is a whole host of malicious activity bots can also get up to. Indeed, as Imperva’s report shows there is significantly more bad bot traffic than good, 25.6 to 15.2.

Bots can for instance lead you to click on fake links which install malware on your computer, they can also disrupt your inbox with an influx of spam messages,

Crucially, for any of you managing your own site and planning your sales and marketing in part or in whole around activity on your website, bad bots can mess with your Google Analytics data.

Signs that you have bad bots crawling your site include sudden, unexplained spikes in traffic, sudden changes to your bounce rate – generally becoming extremely high and spikes in visits to one specific page on your site.

The good news is that there is action you can take, you can activate Google’s filter which filters out known bots, you can also, if you can identify the spam domain in your GA report, set up a segment and exclude it from your reporting.

If you’ve been impacted by bots or want to know more about how you can protect your website and your data reporting our trained team is here to help.

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