Even though they are not visible, bots are a big part of the internet landscape. For the most part they do mundane tasks and make sure sites are functioning properly. However, some of them can be malicious and negatively affect any site. As affiliate marketing hugely depends on sites functioning at full capacity, bots present a real danger if you don‘t deal with them in time. Affie is here to tell you all you need to know to get rid of bot traffic.
What Is Bot Traffic?
Bot traffic is any traffic a website receives that doesn‘t come from humans but bots instead. Now you may be wondering What are bots exactly? And we have the answer.
They are programming scripts, and most of them perform a single function. Good bots usually crawl the internet and make sure search engines work properly, helping them index new pages. However, they can also help by monitoring website health, gathering different information, etc. Bad bots, on the other hand, can harm a website by spamming them, attacking and taking them down as well as different types of fraud. In other words, they can harm your business in multiple ways. Making a site look less trustworthy or be inaccessible lessens your chances for success.
Another effect of a bot infestation is unreliable data. We can not overstate the importance of analytics in this line of business. However, if your data isn‘t coming from actual users but bots instead, your analytics are bound to be skewed and unhelpful. Additionally, they can even make you lose money as they click your ads but can‘t actually complete a conversion. That is why it is crucial to recognize bots on your site and remove them from your pages as soon as possible.
How to Identify Bot Traffic
Unfortunately, bots are evolving and can act very similar to human visitors. This is true because their developers know how to adapt and implement changes to trick different bot detecting systems and especially manual checks.
Then: Using IP addresses to get rid of bot traffic
Before bots evolved as much as they have now, IP addresses were a great way to determine if a visit is coming from a person or a bot. A webmaster could simply identify IP addresses with suspicious activity and block them from accessing the site. This was possible because bot operators used data center proxies. Yet, bot developers found a way to surpass this type of protection by turning to proxy services that allowed them to access sites from different IP addresses. Additionally, tracking and blocking IP addresses was time-consuming and unreliable, since some human visitors can act in a similar way bots do. Hence, IP focused bot detectors can‘t do their job as well as they used to, and are now basically obsolete.
Now: analyzing user behavior
Since you can‘t identify a bot by its address anymore there had to be another solution. Currently, different behavioral analysis tools are the best option. Fortunately, many affiliate tracking tools can now analyze user behavior in real-time. This way you won‘t have to block suspicious IP addresses, but remove visitors who actually harm your site as they start their attack.
How to Stop Spam Bots
Bots that attack and actively harm your website aren‘t the only danger. Spam is a serious threat as well. Unwanted and misleading visits can seriously damage your SEO efforts and make your analytics unreliable. In the long run, this can mean you will be optimizing and investing in a campaign with no real audience. Investing time, effort, and money into high-converting offers only for them to flop is discouraging to anyone, and can stop a new affiliate from getting into a lucrative business that can possibly even become their main source of income. That is why it is truly important to start blocking bad bot traffic right from the start.
How to Block Bad Bot Traffic
There are two steps in getting rid of bot traffic. Firstly, you will have to identify a campaign element that has the highest percentage of suspicious activity. Bots still aren‘t too sophisticated, and thus, only focus on a single thing. You will be able to find a category with an exceptionally high percentage of invalid traffic. Now it is time to increase the quality of your traffic by blocking bots. You can do this by filtering out the traffic coming from the specific ISPs. Even if you are only starting your career in affiliate marketing, and are using only Google Analytics, you will have the option to remove bot traffic from your data.
Honeypots are a great way to easily detect bad bots. This method means you‘ll set up an invisible link on your page, that can not possibly be accessed by a human. In other words, make the link exceptionally small, or hide it behind another element that can‘t be moved. This method works so well because you will be sure and click on that particular link that comes from a bot, as they don‘t look at the pages themselves, but the source code.
It doesn‘t matter whether you create the trap yourself and block bot traffic manually, use a CDN or a dedicated anti-bot solution. The only important thing is making sure your pages are protected.
In a business that happens online in its entirety, it is crucial for a website to work as well as possible. Unfortunately, there are many bots that can
- Spam your pages
- Scrape your site for content and code
- Find vulnerabilities
- Start DDoS attacks
The problem of bots is a dynamic one, as bot developers implement new technologies very quickly and find new ways to be less detectable. Hence, your defense against bots also needs to improve and find ways to stop attacks. Our recommendation is to keep up with the news. Always be on the lookout for new services that can prevent new types of attacks.