Bots & Crawlers: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

In 2019 over 40% of all digital traffic was driven by bots & crawlers. And before you think that you misread anything, that number is rapidly rising, and even more troubling aspects, the more malicious bots are becoming “smarter”. To get a brief rundown on how Bots & Crawlers operate, and how they can be beneficial and detrimental to your organic and paid efforts, read on!

What is a Bot?

A bot is nothing more than a software application that was created to run automated tasks throughout the Internet. More often than not bots will perform tasks that are simple and repetitive. Some examples would be filling out contact forms, spamming forums, comments, parsing/stealing important data, and even clicking paid ads.

What is a Web Crawler?

A Web crawler is a bot that parses & browses the digital landscape, while there are other uses for crawlers the most common use is to crawl websites for relevant information and data that can better serve a users’ search experience. Search engine platforms frequently utilize crawlers as it helps to put the most relevant sites to the top. Learn more about how Google uses bots to serve relevant data.

How Can A Bot Impact my Metrics?

There are a variety of ways that an unscrupulous bot can mess with your metrics and provide false data, this section will highlight how bots can skew data and provide false information, denial of access, data breaches, and more!

  • Content Theft
    • Scraper bots were built to copy and extract original or trademarked data from websites and reuse it—often for competitive purposes—on other websites. Because there are two versions of the content online, this can greatly diminish your site’s search authority which can negatively affect your SEO.
  • DDOS Attacks
    • Bots can be used to facilitate DDoS attacks that can render a website or network unavailable by overloading the server. This can skew marketing data, but also render your site inaccessible to any potential client/user, which can result in lost leads.
  •  Click Fraud
    • Bots can commit click fraud by automatically clicking on one of your paid ads (PPC). This ultimately drives up the costs for keywords that may not have been expensive in the first place. Click fraud is detrimental to any business because your valuable ad spend is wasted. Curious about what click fraud is and how to prevent it from happening to your campaigns? Learn more here!
  • Data Breaches & Loss of Secure Information
    • Bots can steal sensitive information such as user data, pose as your company via phishing scams, while also writing fake product reviews and more. This type of malicious activity will not only frustrate your clients, but can inevitably drive them away from your site.

How to Determine Where Your Traffic Comes From

Noticing something off about traffic but can’t put your finger on it? Utilize these quick examples to see if you might have bots poking around where they shouldn’t be!

  • Uneven or abnormal jump in traffic for site or specific pages
  • Abnormally low time spent on-site/ on a page
  • Increased bounce rates
  • More visits than actual customers
  • Unknown referral traffic to your site

Boston Web Marketing: The SEO, Web Design & Marketing Experts

Boston Web Marketing can work alongside your internal team of Marketing professionals when it comes to optimizing your business and getting your website back in front of the eyes of those you are trying to reach.  Need a site consultation? Contact us for a free audit! If you are interested in growing your digital presence or looking to revamp your entire website, give Boston Web Marketing a call today at 857-526-0096!

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