Bots are software robots built to perform specific tasks on the internet that are usually repetitive and difficult for humans to perform at great speed.
Bots can be official and legitimate or bad, unofficial and spam-like.
Legitimate bots include: Spider bots (are used by search engines like Google to “crawl” your website and analyze its content so Google knows when to list your website as a potential answer to a user search), Data bots (provide real-time updates on things like weather and news). On the other hand, unofficial ones include: Spam and email bots (spread spam content and collect personal information like phone numbers and email address) and click bots (intentionally engage in your advertising).
Bot traffic is website traffic that is artificially generated from online bots. Distinguishing bot traffic from human traffic isn’t impossible, however it’s often difficult to account for all the bots scouring your website. But it’s important to consider them when viewing metrics from your website, because a large chunk of your traffic isn’t coming from real people.
A study which looked at 17 billion website visits across 100,000 domains found that bots comprise 52% of all website traffic. About 29% of this is comprised of bad bots with the other 23% being good bots.
This doesn’t mean that 50% of your website traffic is bots. The number can vary from one domain to the next. Bots cause huge spikes in traffic, so if you don’t know to look out for them you may assume you drove a bunch of valuable traffic to your website because of an ad you ran or special you promoted. Keep in mind that huge majority of this bot traffic has high bounce rates and low session durations. The only one I know that provides great results is Babylon Traffic. Their sophisticated software is a great solution if you are looking for ways to increase your business visiblity.