For more than 10 years, Bot traffic and SEO performance has been a source of controversy in the search engine optimization field.
The frequency of bot traffic or bot spam has significantly increased throughout that time. It doesn’t matter if it happens accidentally as a result of other internet marketing strategies or through black hat SEO tactics that are deliberately harmful or dishonest.
In certain situations, dishonest marketing firms will employ bot traffic to trick their clients into believing that their marketing effort is more successful than it really is. But that’s a story for another day.
We’ll examine how bots affect SEO in this article and determine whether you should be concerned about bots hurting your organic search visibility.
What are Bots?
Let’s first define what we mean by the term “bot” before delving into the subject of whether bot traffic has an impact on SEO. Bots are computer programs that are used to carry out scripted or automated tasks over the internet, gather information, or implement particular tasks like crawling and indexing.
There are two types of bots:
- Good bots that carry out duties that are necessary for the internet to operate as we know it, including crawling websites, indexing pages, and conducting a variety of other background missions.
- Bad bots, the ones that draw the most attention, are employed to carry out unlawful or harmful operations that can harm online web domains and complete jobs far more quickly than a human can. Bots can be utilized to break into a website and steal money or intellectual property.
Examples of Good Bots
- Search engine bots (Google, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo)
- Marketing Tool Bots (Ahrefs, Semrush)
- Social Network Bots (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest)
- Site Monitoring Bots (Pingbacks, Network Monitors)
Examples of Bad Bots
- Click Fraud Bots (Used to manipulate & exhaust CPC spend)
- Spam Bots (Blog comments and general web spam)
- Malicious Bots (DDoS bots that attack websites)
Is Bot Traffic Bad for SEO?
Bot traffic is not always detrimental to SEO. Any non-human visitor who accesses a website directly or through a referral is referred to as a bot. Some bots, like Google’s search bots, are crucial for a website’s usability and search engine prominence. While certain bots, like the Ahrefs or Semrush crawl bot, are made to deliver useful information.
On the other hand, some bot traffic is created with the intention of obtaining important information or to scrape data from websites.
Nearly half of all internet traffic is anticipated to originate from bots in 2022. Malicious bots that are trying to steal important website data make up a sizable amount of it.
What does that entail for SEO then? Well, to answer the query, John Mueller tweeted in response to a user who enquired about the effects of bot traffic and SEO:
Question: We’re seeing a lot of bot traffic arrive and it’s classified as organic visitors. Will this have a negative impact in any way, or will Google disregard this?
Answer from John Mueller: That has no impact on Google Search.
Therefore, it’s fairly easy. Straight from the horse’s mouth, bot traffic has no bearing on SEO effectiveness.
What Are the Symptoms of Bot Traffic?
There are many obvious indicators that the traffic to your website is coming from bots. Some of the simplest ways to figure out if bot activity has impacted your website include:
Unusual high volume of page visits– this typically affects one or more specific pages on your website and is especially noticeable when these pages do rank poorly in organic search.
Low session rates – Bots often always stay on one page for a brief period of time and then leave the website.
High bounce rates – bots are known to view one page on your website and then leave right away. Bot traffic may have an effect on your site’s bounce rate.
Spikes from a single place – Since bots frequently use the same IP address, you might anticipate that all of your visitors will originate from one or a small number of regions. This is especially apparent when visitors are coming from nations other than those you generally target.
Google the traffic source you see in your Google Analytics report is the best way to start if you are unsure about where bot traffic is coming from. Most often, there will be reports from other webmasters who have already run across the same issue in the past. You will be able to determine what steps need to be performed based on their response.
Does bot traffic affect SEO, then?
Bot traffic is not intrinsically harmful or undesirable. John Mueller, the most credible expert on SEO that we have access to, claims that bots have no direct bearing on search engine optimization or your Google keyword rankings.
Non-malicious bots do not have a detrimental effect on how you rank and appear in search results in 2022, despite the fact that some kinds of bots may affect the data you view through reporting tools.
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