Bot Traffic

Bot traffic is any non-human arrival of traffic on your website. The term is usually considered negative, but the fact is that not all bot traffic is bad traffic, as it is always dependent on the bot’s purpose.

Bots like Siri and Alexa are pretty useful for services like digital assistants and search engines. So, most companies or organizations welcome these bots on their sites.

However, some bots can be malicious, such as those used for data scraping, launching DDoS attacks, and credential stuffing. They harm users by stealing data, launching cyberattacks, or skewing website analytics. That’s why it is essential to understand the source and purpose of these bots to determine their true impact on your online rankings.

What Is Bot Traffic?

Bot traffic refers to any non-human traffic visiting a website or app. You may describe it as any activity generated by automated software programs or “bots” instead of actual people. Whether you have a large or a small portion of bot traffic coming your way, it will visit you at some point.

Bots can have both positive and negative impacts on your website. That’s right! Want to know how? Well, you will understand after reading this article. Do you have your own website? If you do, then it’s possible that you were visited by a bot. As per research, bot traffic accounts for over 40% of today’s web traffic. However, some bots have specified tasks like copying, commenting, ad clicking, commenting, and other malvertising activities.

Many company owners purposely buy fake traffic. These organizations usually buy traffic from a third party whose job is to automate this process to raise the value of a website, social media channel, or blog to get monetization or sell it at a good price. However, you should know that artificially generated traffic is not as valuable as organic traffic.

Bot Types

An automated software application or bot traffic has two active types on the Internet: good or legitimate bots and bad or malicious bots. Both depend on their impact on mobile applications, APIs, and/or websites, as well as the things they’re programmed to do. Here are the details of both bots with their examples:

Good Bots

Good bots complete their job or tasks without causing any distraction or harm to your server, applications, or website. They will let you know what they will be doing on your website as they announce their presence.

The good bots are known as search engine crawlers. Unless they visit your site to find content, search engines cannot learn anything about you. Due to this reason, they’re believed to be good bots. Here are some good traffic bots you might find visiting your site:

SEO crawlers: Do you have an SEO strategy in place yet? You must have used popular tools like Ahrefs or Semrush to gain insight into your competitor’s strategies or do keyword research. As much as these tools share the required data with you, they also send out bots to search the Internet and collect data about the site’s performance.

Commercial bots: Good bots are quite helpful for commercial organizations as they send these bots to crawl the website and collect the required information. For example, multiple research companies use good bot traffic to monitor ad networks. This way, they monitor and optimize display ads and coupon websites to find discount codes and sales programs to benefit users on their websites.

Site-monitoring bots: The site-monitoring bots can also help you track your website’s uptime and other vital metrics. They periodically monitor everything and report details, such as your server status and uptime duration. This information helps you take necessary action when something is wrong with your website.

Feed/aggregator bots: Their job is to collect and combine newsworthy content to deliver to your website visitors or email subscribers.

Bad Bots

Bad bot traffic is composed of bots that are generated with malicious intentions in mind. If you have a website or are randomly scrolling through a web page, then you will notice that they are probably seen as bots that spam your site with ridiculous comments, brutal advertisements, and irrelevant backlinks.

Have you ever heard of bots that take individual spots in online or digital raffles and bots that purchase good concert seats? Well, these incidents happen due to malicious bots earning a wrong or malicious reputation. Sadly, these bad bots dominate the Internet nowadays. Here are some bots that you would never want to see on your website.

Email scrapers: The email scrapers gather the email addresses of Internet users and then send spam emails to these individuals.

Comment spam bots: These bots are so malicious that they spam your website with comments and links that redirect people to inappropriate sites. The worst thing about them is that they usually spam your website to promote something or to try to get backlinks to their websites.

Scraper bots: These bots are quite unethical and inappropriate as they visit your website and download everything, such as text, images, HTML files, and even videos. They also reuse your personal content without getting your permission.

Bots for brute-force attacks: These bots try to get access to your personal website and steal sensitive information. They are pretty similar to scrapers bots, but they pretend to be genuine Internet users.

The botnet (zombie computers): These are the bot traffics that are attacked or infected by distributed denial-of-service or DDoS. In a DDoS attack, the attacker uses malicious devices that can flood a website with bot traffic. This act can overwhelm your web servers with so many requests, making your site temporarily slow or unavailable.

Inventory and ticket bots: These bots visit any entertainment or other website to buy tickets in bulk and then sell those tickets at higher rates to make profits.

Should you block bot traffic on your site?

Getting too much bot traffic on a website can be triggering, and if a bot is requesting details from your website regularly, this would mean it might cause it to slow down. The more bot traffic you get, the bigger the damage to your website. These bots end up disturbing your website performance, being risky for your website’s security, and affecting the overall ambience for genuine users.

How to identify bad bots?

Identifying bad bot traffic involves a combination of monitoring web analytics and using specific bot detection techniques. You can identify bad bots with traffic analysis, behavior analysis, and advanced techniques.

Any unusual traffic patterns, short session durations, suspicious locations, inhuman activity, non-existent user interaction, and gibberish user data can indicate that your website has been infested with bad bots. However, if you ever face this type of situation, consider seeking help from web security specialists or using bot detection tools for a more comprehensive approach.

Key Takeaways: Bot Traffic

  • Bot traffic makes up over half of all traffic on the Internet worldwide.
  • Bot traffic increased from 33.4% of online traffic in 2022 to 39.6% in 2023.
  • ATO, or account takeover, is an initiative to prevent unauthorized access and takeover of user accounts using bots.
  • Bots were responsible for 30% of API attacks in 2023.
  • Malicious bot traffic now originates from residential ISPs.

FAQ

What is good bot traffic?

A good or legitimate bot is a type of bot that performs helpful tasks for your company or site visitors.

Is bot traffic bad for SEO?

Not every bot is bad for SEO, but inappropriate traffic, like bots, scrapers, and click fraud, can have a bad impact on organic and paid search efforts.

How do I stop bot traffic?

You can stop bot traffic by utilizing a robots.txt file, implementing CAPTCHAs, limiting and throttling, and monitoring your website.