If you are a part of the affiliate marketing industry, then you are already aware of the fact that bots are present in almost all traffic sources. This doesn’t have to be a completely negative thing because, for the most part, bots have an important role. They check whether the websites are functioning properly and they are essential for search engines and digital assistants. However, some bots are malicious and present a problem that can be managed easily. So, if your goal is to get rid of them, you have come to the right place. We, at Affiliate Rocket, are going to tell you a bit more about bot traffic, how to identify it, and, more importantly, get rid of it for good.
What exactly is bot traffic?
It is believed that more than 40% of all internet traffic comes from bots. What do you think, is this something that can put your website in jeopardy? Before answering this, we should first explain what are bots and bot traffic. A bot is a computer program that is responsible for automating interactions with web properties over the Internet. Although the term bot carries a negative connotation, there are good and bad, or malicious bots. Whether a bot will be good or bad depends solely on its purpose.
Some bots are necessary for lots of useful services, for example, digital assistants and search engines. These are the so-called “good” bots. These bots perform useful and helpful tasks that can’t harm the user’s experience on the Internet. Actually, they can improve it. Because they are essential for many useful services, most companies welcome them to their websites. There are many types of good boots and those who want to start an online business need to be informed about them. Here are a couple of examples.
- Search engine bots – Responsible for reviewing the content on the Internet and indexing it to show up in search engine results for relevant searches;
- Site monitoring bots – Responsible for monitoring website metrics, such as backlinks or system outages;
- Copyright bots – Responsible for finding content that violates copyright law, such as duplicated music, text, images, etc;
- Chatbots – Responsible for imitating human conversation and giving preprogrammed responses;
- Commercial bots – Responsible for monitoring company news, customer reviews, improving online engagement, etc.
Good Bots vs. Malicious Bots
Malicious and good bots share a lot of similar characteristics. That’s why many people don’t know that good boots even exist! Because they are so similar it is important to plan carefully how you are going to get rid of bot traffic. The main challenge here is figuring out how to block only malicious boots and keep the good ones crawling around.
The thing that makes one bot bad is that it can harm a website in many ways and put the entire business at risk. Malicious bots can be used for launching DDoS attacks, generating click frauds, disrupting site analytics, taking down websites, damaging SEO efforts, and so on. They make a website look less trustworthy and can even make you lose money. Because of this, identifying and eliminating malicious bots is a crucial step for anyone who wants to build a successful business. It needs to be done as soon as you realize your website is under attack. Although this isn’t a simple thing to do, you shouldn’t get stressed because of this. Right on our blog, you will learn how to get rid of bot traffic and also improve your website easily.
Identifying bot traffic
Although it is not that obvious, identifying bot traffic isn’t an impossible mission. You just need to dig a little into your analytics and see if there is any strange activity. Don’t worry, there are lots of different affiliate marketing tools that can help you with identifying and getting rid of bot traffic. Here are some of the red flags you shouldn’t ignore.
- Suspicious traffic on your website – Getting a lot more traffic even though you haven’t run a campaign could be a sign you’re dealing with bots.
- Unknown domains are referring traffic to your website – Do you see a sudden spike in traffic from unexpected locations? If so, those are probably bots.
- Getting a lot more views than actual customers – When you have bots on your website, you’ll see an increase in page views.
- Surprisingly high bounce rate – A suspicious increase in the bounce rate can be the result of bots who are hitting only one page and then leaving.
- The unexpected drop-in session duration – Bots are clicking through the website pages much faster than humans do it.
Eliminating malicious bots
Since bots can be very dangerous, your goal should be to try eliminating them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there is no single solution that will help you do just that. You will need to combine different methods for fighting malicious bots. Here are a couple of effective methods you should consider using in your fight.
- Reverse Lookup – Although identifying the IP address of all bad bots is an impossible mission, there is another thing you can do. With reverse lookup, it is possible to identify non-malicious bots, their IP addresses. Once you identify them, allowlist them, and that’s it.
- Signature-based detection – Bots have unique patterns or signatures and can be identified by them. Although this is a pretty reliable strategy for eliminating bad bots, signature-based detection can’t detect unknown bot traffic.
- Behavior-based detection – This strategy involves looking for suspicious behavior, for example unusually high traffic volumes or attempts to download restricted files. Any irregular activity can be a sign of bots.
- Captcha – Captcha is a simple way of distinguishing human from bot activity. Although adding captcha to your website can’t eliminate all bad bots, it can be of great use.
- Risk scores – Assign risk scores to all of your sessions and use the methods from above to determine whether you should add or subtract risk points. After doing this, you will have to decide what you are going to do with risky clients.
The important thing you will need to understand is that methods for eliminating bots are changing. And not just that. Bots are also evolving. So, if you want to fight the bots, you will need to know which methods are effective and which ones aren’t effective anymore. For example, geofencing was once a great method for eliminating malicious bots traffic. But since today’s bot attacks are more sophisticated and use hundreds of different IP addresses, geofencing isn’t useful anymore for fighting bots. Thus, if you want to get rid of bot traffic successfully, make sure to combine the methods we listed above.