How Do I Fix Bot Traffic in My Google Analytics Report?

Whether you manage your own digital marketing strategy or you work for an agency, understanding metrics is vital. There is nothing more important in SEO than accurate data. Data should inform all of your SEO strategies when it comes to landing pages, service area pages, and other strategies. Knowing how to use tools like Google Analytics towards your advantage goes a long way in forming an effective digital plan. Analytics can also help improve your UI/UX of your website by showing you which pages have high bounce rates and the path that your visitors take. Bot traffic can ruin good analytics.

What Is Bot Traffic & Why Does It Exist?

Bot traffic describes a specific segment of traffic. The internet has many bots that are constantly crawling websites. Both Bing and Google use bots to crawl and index a website. You can even request that indexing by utilizing Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. But aside from search engine bots that help improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), there are many other bots. Some of these bots are designed to locate and fill out contact forms with spam. Other bots are designed to increase the sessions/traffic of a website to artificially “improve” a report. Regardless of their nature, bots represent unhelpful traffic that cannot meaningfully lead to new business.

Is Bot Traffic Good/Bad For Your Website?

There is a common misconception that bot traffic is valuable. Some bot traffic providers sell traffic and argue that increasing traffic is good. It is pitched similarly to that “all news is good news”. It is actually true, that traffic that doesn’t necessarily convert can still help a website. That is why many websites create blogs that bring in traffic but do not bring in customers. Increased traffic on a website can increase a page’s ranking, but only when that traffic is human. Search engine algorithms are built to withstand black hat SEO techniques. Buying fake traffic from a bot is not going to improve your ranking. In fact, it has a higher chance of hurting your ranking. But generally, bot traffic is neither beneficial or detrimental, it is just a waste that skews your reports.

How Do You Know if You Have Bot Traffic?

Because bot traffic causes problems with reporting, you should get rid of it. So the first step is to look for bot traffic. In Google Analytics there are a few ways to do this. Bot traffic will most likely show up in sources as direct traffic or referral traffic. If you notice a surge in referral, check the referral traffic report. Look through all of the destinations and see if any of them are outliers. Good referral traffic should come from similar websites in your industry, and reputable websites where you link exists. In some cases, a bot site will have an obvious name like “automated traffic”. Another trick is to look for strange bounce rates. If there are a lot of sessions and an unnaturally high bounce rate, there is either an issue with your tracking set up or with the traffic itself. You should also check the geolocation report. This report will show if you are getting a lot of traffic from outside of the country or your service area.

How To Filter Bot Traffic in Google Analytics

If you have discovered bot traffic, you may want to filter it out. The first thing you will want to do is to create a new view. Google Analytics always suggests that you have a few different views. One view should always be a master view. This means that in Google Analytics there is a view that contains all of the traffic to your website and filters out nothing. If you create a filtered view and you do not have a master view, you will lose the data that is filtered out. Once you create a filtered view you can work on filtering out traffic by locations, IP addresses, websites, and more. We recommend that when possible you filter out traffic from specific websites. If you discovered a website that is bringing in spam traffic in your referral report, you can filter that specific website out. You could also create a view that only shows you the traffic that came from your country. Be aware, that you will still want to include (not set) results in your report. If you create a view that only shows traffic from your country, you may unintentionally remove traffic that came from devices that are not sharing their location. That is why it is always better to filter out known spam sources than to create a limited view that only shows known reliable sources.

For More Information Contact Boston Web Marketing

The above method is designed to limit how traffic shows up in your Google Analytics reports. However, you may still have issues with spam emails and contact forms. To deal with these, we recommend installing security measures into your website to limit the spam you receive. For more information on analytics and website improvement, contact Boston Web Marketing to get a completely free website audit.

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