Tag Archives: Bot Traffic

How to Identify Those Pesky Bots

Tell me if you’ve heard this one…

You see a major spike in traffic.

You get excited.

You congratulate yourself for putting together such an effective marketing campaign and/or having such a great brand. You feel like the most popular kid in school. There is an extra strut in your step.

Then…

There are no corresponding conversions. Bounce rate is through the roof. All this exciting new incremental traffic is from St. Petersburg, Russia.

You have a bot problem.

Here are some tips on where you can look in your data to confirm:

Data PointWhat to Look For
Operating SystemLinux or "not set"
Browser“not set” or “unknown”
Browser Versionmany versions prior to the most current version
Locationcoming from the same city
ISPcoming from the same ISP
New vs Returningall new users
Pageviews per Visitif almost all the suspect traffic has only 1 pageview per visit and a 100% bounce rate

OR

if almost all the suspect traffic has an inordinately high number of pageviews per visit
Landing Pagethis isn't necessarily an indicator in and of itself, but seeing where this suspect traffic is entering the site can give you some hints

Example: if a lot of the landing pages are a search results page with a keyword of a specific SKU, it’s probably a crawler making a database of products.
Pagesnon-bounced traffic is consistently hitting the same pages in the same sequence
User Agent Stringthis is not available by default in Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics reporting, but you can easily copy to a custom dimension or eVar for further investigation

If it is a bot, you can:

  • use view filters in Google Analytics to exclude it from your reporting view. (This will only exclude it from that date going forward.)
  • adjust your segment definition in Adobe Analytics to exclude it from your virtual report suite. (Depending on the scope of your segment, this may or may not exclude it from that date going forward.)
  • invest in a bot detection tool like White Ops to proactively identify and block bots before they can even muck up your data.