A study from Barracuda found that bots account for 64% of all traffic on the internet. That’s bad news for all companies using website visitor tracking data to inform their sales strategy.
It means that as much as 64% of your company’s web traffic could be non-human – which means 64% of the data you collect to feed your sales pipeline and find sales prospects could be worthless.
So what should you do about it? Keep reading to find out.
Why are there so many bots on the internet?
The study illuminates the somewhat-surprising fact that most of the traffic on the internet doesn’t come from humans. So where does it come from?
About 25% of internet traffic comes from ‘good bots.’ These bots are helpful because they do things like:
- Index your site and its pages for search engines
- Help you show up on social media websites
- Provide data useful for users who like using Alexa and Siri
But 39% of traffic comes from so-called ‘bad bots.’ These use web scrapers and attack scripts to perform malicious activities, such as:
- Data scraping to gain a competitive advantage
- Credential stuffing
- DDoS attacks
- Stealing user information
How artificial traffic clouds your sales data and influences your sales strategy
If you haven’t had any problems with bots before, why should you care now?
Bots make your website visitor data less accurate by filling your sales pipeline with sales prospects that aren’t human.
When that happens, you could target a bunch of IP addresses for advertising that you have no chance of converting. This leads to bad data about the success rate of different marketing campaigns, which could inaccurately influence how you make decisions about your sales strategy in the future.
Bots can also impact data feeds like
- Bounce rate
- Geolocation of users
- Conversion percentage
Sending a lot of bot traffic to a website is one of the main ways malicious actors carry out DDoS attacks. These overload the website’s origin server and make that site inaccessible for regular users.
Plus, when you have a lot of traffic on your website, performance often goes down. If there are lots of bots on your site, then legitimate users may not be able to use it as speedily as they want to.
That’s a big problem since research shows that 40% of people will leave a web page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
Identifying bot traffic
Now that we know how bot traffic can negatively impact sales strategy and website performance, the next step is figuring out how to spot it. There are a few signs you can look at.
Spike from traffic in unexpected locations
People who create and deploy bots will often use VPNs that mask the true location of the bots. This can lead to situations where bots come from a country you would never expect visits from.
For example, let’s say you run a website for an American company that sells farming gear, and you’re not active in any other country. You wouldn’t expect to get a significant spike in traffic from the Czech Republic.
When you see spikes from unfamiliar locations like this, it’s often a sign that bots are starting to visit your website in more significant numbers.
Abnormally high page views or bounce rates
It’s a bit easier to spot sudden influxes of bots when you’ve been tracking your website data.
Let’s say your average bounce rate is 40%, and it suddenly goes up to 70% without you having made any changes. That’s another good indication bots are visiting your web page.
Junk conversions refer to conversions that don’t appear to be legitimate or from humans. You might see a spike in email addresses that are totally nonsensical and just random strings of numbers and letters. Or you might notice a large number of form completions with obviously fake names and phone numbers.
The best strategies for filtering bot traffic out of your sales pipeline
The bottom line is that if you want to make reliable decisions with data from your website, you need to make sure that bot traffic is excluded from that data. There are a few different ways to do this.
Filter bots out of Google Analytics results
This is the most straightforward way to solve your bot problem. Google Analytics has an option that lets you automatically exclude all data from known bots and spiders. You can select this option by visiting the settings tab on your Google Analytics page.
Taking this step will do a lot to preserve the integrity of your website analytics. But it’s only going to be effective on known bots.
That means you could still have bots accessing your website and interfering with your data even after you turn this setting on. So it’s worth using some of the other strategies covered in this list.
Monitor your visitor data for irregularities
If you use a tool like LeadLander, it’s easy to keep tabs on many different aspects of your website visitor data. When you analyze that data over time, it becomes clear when irregularities pop up.
You can separate these from your main data set when you see irregularities. That way, you can ensure they’re not influencing your sales strategy.
Limit the number of failed login attempts possible
If you have a website that users sign into, you should also create a strategy for limiting the number of failed login attempts. Bots will often try to access the gated parts of your site with fake login details.
The key is setting a global threshold for failed login attempts and locking a user out for a certain amount of time if they exceed it. Once you have this threshold established, you can watch for any spikes or anomalies in failed logins to spot bots.
Add a CAPTCHA to your website for certain users
Many bots rely on scripts built with outdated versions of web browsers in mind. But most browsers force auto-updates on their users so they always have one of the most current versions of the browsers.
That means you can add CAPTCHAs to your website for users who try to access it with an extremely outdated browser, discouraging bots from accessing your website.
Protect every access point
It’s important to note; bad bots can access your website in various ways. Many will look for entry points in APIs and mobile apps that often don’t get as much attention from a security standpoint.
That’s why it’s essential to make sure you’re taking action to limit bot interference in every access point that they can use to connect to your website and pull data.
Sign up for a bot management solution
There are also companies that sell dedicated bot management solutions. Investing in one of these could be a good option if you can’t get a handle on your bot problem with any of the solutions covered above.
LeadLander can help you get more accurate data from your website to strengthen your sales pipeline
If left unchecked, bot traffic can seriously impact the data you collect from your website. That’s why it’s essential to make sure you’re analyzing your website traffic for anomalies and excluding that data from your analyses.
This is much easier to do when you have a tool that gives you a straightforward, simple way to track, manage and analyze your website visitor data. That’s why you should consider checking out LeadLander.
Our website visitor tracking software presents all of your web data through an intuitive interface that makes sense. With it, you can easily spot and exclude bot data from your traffic to make smarter decisions while developing your marketing and sales strategies.
You can check out a free demo of LeadLader today to explore the benefits of using it directly.