Beware of Bot Traffic
It's easy to get excited when you see an increase in traffic to your website. Increased traffic means more people are coming to the website, and in an ideal world, more traffic means more opportunities to make a sale. Unfortunately, all traffic can't be seen as good traffic because some of it might not even be human. The rise of bot traffic can skew a lot of your numbers, and lead you to believe that your website is performing a lot better than it actually is.
So Wait, BOTS?
Bots are used in the tech industry for a number of reasons, some of them good, but malacious bots are common in trying to mimic human behavior on a large scale. The kind that directly affect traffic are known as spamming bots. These are the really annoying bots that you'll see posting SPAM in comments, trying to promote scams, and overall causing a ruckus on the internet. (think WANT TO MAKE $1000 FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR BED, CLICK HERE)
How Are They Affecting My Website?
The majority of bots are just really, really, REALLY, annoying. It's easy to delete the information from the bots, and be proactive and block them entirely from your website. Unfortunately, where bots can wreak the most havoc is in the analytics of your website. Some numbers might be artificially inflated, and can change the course of your business strategy. Bots can also slow down the speed of your site, fill out forms and subscribe to your newsletters. Bloomberg writes, "Fake traffic has become a commodity. There's malware for generating it and brokers who sell it. Some companies pay for it intentionally, some accidentally, and some prefer not to ask where their traffic comes from. It's given rise to an industry of countermeasures, which inspire counter-countermeasures."
So What Can I Do?
When bot traffic begins to affect your bottom line, it's important to get this problem solved immediately. Google has been proactive and worked to prevent SPAMMING techniques from bots from helping prop up bad websites. Digital companies across the board have come to conclusion that SPAM bots are THE ABSOLUTE WORST, and each is doing its part in trying to keep it under control.
For your smaller business website and the analytics attached to it, there are simple steps to take to keep your traffic real, and to make sure you are not wasting money. Setting up appropriate filters in your Analytics can exclude that traffic and keep your website honest. It's also important to keep your security up-to-date, as insurance for any future SPAM bots.
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