The phrase bot traffic is usually associated with non-human traffic to a website. Bot traffic has many uses, both positive and negative, for website owners. Business and service providers often use bots as source of attaining data and enhancing the user experience for their websites.
For example, Googlebot is the web crawler software used by Google that collects documents from the web to build a searchable index for the Google Search engine. You will often see crawler bots such as Googlebot in your website analytics.
What are traffic bots?
An internet bot is a piece of software programmed to carry out a certain job or set of tasks. Bots run on a personal machine or on a server and are programmed to do a repetitive activity or to gather large volumes of data in a short period of time.
A robot may give the image of a scuttling insect running here and there on the internet, but in reality, it is only an algorithm. The program executes, does an online search, and returns the specified result typically in a matter of milliseconds.
Heavy Lifting Bots
Traffic bots can be employed for both good and bad, owing to their versatility and speed. They can perform multiple repetitive tasks in the shortest period of time.
Websites may be tested by “good” bots to verify all links are functional, data can be gathered about the site’s functionality, and search engine rankings can be analyzed.
However, “bad” bots may be released to steal information, distribute viruses, or overwhelm systems with denial of service (DDoS) assaults.
Bot traffic is generally not considered a major problem because it does not directly effect the front-end user.
However, bot traffic is essential for site owners for various reasons, including but not limited to facilitating Google’s normal crawling of your site. Additionally, it plays a vital role in improving the reliability of your analytics data, safeguarding the upkeep and functionality of your site, and preventing harmful activity.
It is reported that bot traffic accounts for more than half of all website visits. It is alarming that malicious actors are likely responsible for 29.1% of all traffic. We need to examine the current state of internet traffic in order to grasp the potential dangers of this kind of website bot traffic.
Types of Bot Traffic
There is a wide variety of bots that contribute to internet traffic. However, not all bot visits to a website can be considered equal. There can be good and bad traffic based on good and bad bots.
In today’s era, companies have devised elaborate scripts to gather a wide variety of data. On the other hand, there are simple single- or dual-purpose programs. Then there are the nasty and unpleasant bots that fill out forms with fake information or send spam contact messages.
- Website Monitoring: These bots keep an eye on websites to see if there are any problems like slow load times, server outages, etc.
- Aggregation: These bots perform an activity known as “aggregation,” in which data is collected from several sources and compiled into a single location.
- SEO: Websites are indexed and cataloged by search engine crawler bots, and the data is utilized by search providers like Google.
- Scraping: Both “good” and “evil” bots may be found in the realm of scraping. Information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, is “scraped” or “lifted” by these automated programs from various websites. When done legally, scraping may help with research, but it can also be used to steal data or spam.
- DDoS: In a denial-of-service attack, complex bots are typically employed in a coordinated attempt to bring down a website.
- Spam: The “comments” sections of websites are a common place to see spam bots at work. Likewise, they can also be seen in the form of those phishing emails purportedly from Nigerian princes.
- Malicious software like ransomware: Ransomware attacks, in which devices are encrypted and then “unlocked” in return for a payment, are one example of the chaos that bots may cause.
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The Cost of Bot Traffic
Bot traffic poses a severe risk to the success of your advertising initiatives and your company’s future. In 2021, CHEQ and the University of Baltimore’s economics department found that bots, even the opportunistic kind, will cost firms $35 billion.
Programmable bots can be used to click on your ads, thereby wreaking havoc. For instance, they may act by depleting your AdWords budget, getting your ad rated poorly by Google, preventing it from being displayed while your competitors’ ads are given prominent placement, affecting conversion rates, and rendering your analytics useless.
Bots may be both beneficial and quite harmful to modern digital advertising. The only way to guarantee the security of your advertising campaigns is to take a preventative approach to PPC protection. Ad Managers of today should use third-party software to see how much their traffic is being impacted by bot activity.
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