What are traffic bots & why are they dangerous?

2nd August, 2021

Bot traffic refers to any non-human traffic to a website or an app. They have programmed scripts and can perform a plethora of functions and are used extensively to collect data from the internet and to enhance our user experience. These bots can perform tasks around the clock, and often much quicker than any human ever could. Most bot traffic is safe and normal. This includes search engine crawlers, website monitoring, aggregation and scraping. While there are good bots that can be beneficial for your website, approximately 30 per cent of all traffic comes from bad bots.

Bot traffic can potentially be dangerous or harmful by eating up your hosting plan bandwidth for no legitimate reason, slowing down your website for actual users and clicking on your PPC ads, causing a site owner to directly lose money. Unauthorized bot traffic can impact analytics metrics such as page views, bounce rate, session duration, geolocation of users, and conversations. These deviations in metrics can create a lot of frustration for the site owner as it is very hard to measure the performance of a site that’s being flooded with bot activity.

For sites that serve ads, bots that land on the site and click on various elements of the page can trigger fake ad clicks; this is known as click fraud. While this may initially result in a boost in ad revenue, online advertising networks are very good at detecting bot clicks. If they suspect a website is committing click fraud, they will take action, usually in the form of banning that site and its owner from their network. For this reason, owners of sites that host ads need to be ever-wary of bot click fraud.

Sites with limited inventory can be targeted by inventory hoarding bots. As the name suggests, these bots go to e-commerce sites and dump tons of merchandise into their shopping carts, making that merchandise unavailable for purchase by legitimate shoppers. In some cases, this can also trigger unnecessary restocking of inventory from a supplier or manufacturer. The inventory hoarding bots never make a purchase; they are simply designed to disrupt the availability of inventory.

Sometimes SEO agencies use traffic bots to cheat and simulate results and therefore, it is important to know that your agency is not using traffic bots to provide fraudulent traffic reports. An agency that uses traffic bots to falsify its SEO initiatives is first and foremost just unethical. While traffic bots can look good on paper, they are practically pointless as the bots do not generate any revenue. Bot traffic serves no benefits as it gives the business a false sense of how their website is actually doing.

So how can you tell whether the traffic on your site, is bot traffic?

There are a few tell-tale ways to know whether traffic bots are being used by your agency.

Irregular pageviews:

Having an unexpected and unprecedented high pageview is typically a tell-tale sign that bots are clicking through the site. An SEO agency may try to explain the abnormally high pageview as a result of their services and thus this may be particularly hard to identify.

Irregular bounce rate:

A bounce rate is the number of users that come to a single page and then leave the site before clicking anything on the page. An increase in the bounce rate can be the result of bots being directed to a page.

High or low session duration:

Session duration or the amount of time a user stays on the page should typically be steady. An unexplained increase in session duration may be an indication of bots browsing the site at an unusually slow rate. Contrastingly, an unexpected decrease in session duration could be the result of bots clicking through the pages on the site much faster than a human user would.

Junk conversations:

Form-filling bots or spam bots usually create fake accounts using gibberish email addresses or contact forms submitted with fake names and phone numbers.

Spike in traffic from an unexpected location:

A sudden spike in users from one particular region, particularly a region that’s unlikely to have a large number of people who are fluent in the native language of the site, can be an indication of bot traffic.
Here are some things to consider when looking at a potential SEO agency or even when revisiting an existing contact. These are examples of SEO agencies that typically use traffic bots.

  • If they guarantee or claimed fast results or given any expectation of results in less than three months
  • “SEO packages” with little flexibility or unique addressing of your business needs
  • Public presence, reviews, employee bios or any other accessible information
  • A monthly figure for general “SEO work” without a clear outline of what that entails.
  • “Link building” consists of paid linked, has aggressive anchor texts, is comment or forum spam, or is surrounded by bad link neighbourhoods.
  • No regard for content topics being addressed and is not well thought out with a 500-700 word average.

Alternative ways to gain traffic

At Socialmindr, we use SEO techniques and tools to ensure genuine success for our clients. But what does this look like? Here at Socialmindr, we provide high-quality SEO services and these are a few things that we do to ensure success for clients without using traffic bots.


Really good and thorough research is a key component of what makes good SEO, and what will bring genuine traffic to a website. At Socialmindr we conduct research to examine what people are reading (and talking about), and emulate that kind of content to bring traffic to your website. Furthermore, researching competitors to examine what’s working and not working for them.

On-page SEO:

There are many SEO tactics you can perform on each of your website pages to increase their rank in search engines and get more visitors. This includes producing high-quality content that your audience is searching for and writing concise meta descriptions for your pages. The meta description appears below your URL in search results. Knowing what a page is about and what will result in a click makes users much more likely to do so.

A backlink is a link to your website from another website. Backlinks from complementary businesses or industry influencers will not only get your business in front of a larger audience but will also drive qualified traffic to your website.
In addition, Google picks up on backlinks and will increase its trust in your business if it sees other trusted sites pointing to yours. More trust from Google leads to higher rankings, which leads to more traffic. Get noticed on Google for free with quality backlinks.

Written by

Tianna Chalon