How to Differentiate Bots from Real Traffic

As a provider of high-quality marketing and SEO services, AH Marketing Group is always on the lookout for the most-up-to-date techniques to decipher and root out bad bots or robots generating traffic. Bots or botnet controlled traffic is to web traffic what spam is to e-mail marketing and of no value. Let us demonstrate how to identify helpful from hurtful web traffic. Using Google Analytics, follow those easy steps to filter out fake traffic from the genuine .

What are bots?

Remember that all bots are not bad. As a matter of facts, bots are used positively in our daily virtual lives. Bots are machine-generated computer programs that perform tasks such as instant messaging in chat-rooms, and most importantly bots are crawlers sent out from the world’s biggest websites, think Google to index your content. Welcome those.  Then there’s a much darker side to bots, malicious, malware, hackers, the kind that takes over your PC or/and redirects web traffic to your site. AH Marketing Group discovered a service online that shamelessly sells bots generated traffic for a ridiculously low price. It boasts “bot traffic, not real traffic. This traffic will not convert, signups, comment, or posts on your website. The purpose is to simulate real traffic as humanly as possible.” We cannot stress enough that if you are a genuine and legitimate business, it is of no value whatsoever. And it will hurt you. Every year, millions of ad impressions are being served to bots and non-human traffic generating revenues for web publishers but to no benefits to the advertisers. Big names  are well aware of the problem but often turn a blind eye.

We do not mean to scare you. Let’s look at some easy actions that you may take to discover if you have fallen victims to computer generated or bot traffic.

What are the signs that you are getting visitors from bad bots?

There are a few sure tell-signs that you are getting visitors from bad bots. Look for consistent 100% bounce rate, visits lasting less than 10 seconds and one page viewing per visit. These are not the only signs. If your traffic increased by 500% in one hour than fell flat out the following, be suspicious.

browser botsRemember to look out for various technologies and platforms.

Another sign is if all your visitors are using the same technology, for example the same old version of Internet Explorer. With web traffic from real users, you will remark upon a variant of technologies and platforms used while visiting your site, from mobile to desktop, to Safari, Chrome, IE and Firefox, occasionally Linux. Also, beware of traffic in large quantity generated from China and Russia. Unless you have indexed your site on Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine and China’s Baidu, you may ask yourself, why are those countrymen paying you a visit?


Let’s track bad bots and filter them out from your Google Analytics

Segment configurationThat is the easy part. Just go to the Audience > Technology > Browser & OS report and look out for the browser Mozilla Compatible Agent. Be aware that since some traffic coming from Mozilla Compatible Agent is legitimately used, among others by mobile apps, you will need to apply an Advance Segment  to filter visits  where the browser contains Mozilla Compatible Agent.

The principal offenders, are the following service providers:

Microsoft Corp
Google inc.
Yahoo! inc.
Inktomi corporation
stumbleupon inc.

To recap check the bounce rate, the provenance, the technology, the browsers and the number of pages visited during a viewing. Follow those steps and assess your web traffic quality.

Send your questions to AH Marketing Group.

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