What are Bots?
Bots (internet bots) are computer programs created by humans to execute specific tasks repeatedly and more efficiently.
These bots have the capability to communicate with one another or with humans over the internet.
In some cases, bots are designed to mimic human behaviour through a set of specialized instructions.
These instructions might involve tasks that need to be completed frequently or in large volumes.
Additionally, instructions may cover tasks that humans prefer not to perform directly in order to maintain anonymity.
For example, web spiders are the bots responsible for crawling and indexing hundreds of thousands of web pages, a task that would be impossible for an individual to do manually.
Conversely, there are also malware bots, which are utilized for malicious activities.
How do they work?
Bots work through the principle of automation, which means they perform tasks with minimal or no human interference.
Once they are designed for a specific task through a set of special instructions or algorithms, they will start doing their respective task without humans telling them what to do.
The algorithm is the code that functions as a script for the bots to perform specifically assigned tasks.
In addition to automation, it uses computer vision and machine learning to perform the assigned tasks efficiently.
FYI: Computer vision is the ability of the computer to see and understand the data as humans do. It makes the computer analyse information like images and videos that once only humans used to do. Likewise, machine learning is a process of teaching the computer, using algorithms, and making it an expert in that particular area.
So utilising automation, computer vision, and machine learning, a bot performs a task expertly by analysing the data as humans do without human interference.
What are the types of bots?
If we divide bots into two main categories, they will be bad bots and good bots.
These bots are malware programs that hackers design to carry out malicious activities over the internet, e.g. hacking, spamming, or spying.
They may include download bots and click bots that can make the visitor click on the ad or download false data that the visitor was not looking for.
In addition, this category may include spambots, which are very dangerous because they can steal personal data.
They can steal contact information to use it for malicious purposes, e.g., creating fake accounts.
They can operate through:
They can steal your website’s information by visiting your web pages. They can download content and use it without your permission.
DDoS (distributed denial of service) bots work through botnets. A botnet is a network of hacked systems (i.e. computers) that can attack a website to hack it.
The webmaster of the affected website will not be able to access it or use it until the hacker achieves his motives.
These bots can crack passwords and take control of the user account. They usually affect those passwords that are not strong enough.
How to stop bad bots from harming your system?
Downloading antimalware can help you automatically detect and protect your system from malware bots.
Update the software
Your system and apps remind you of the updates from time to time. You must update them whenever you see a notification.
Create strong passwords
Weak passwords make your accounts vulnerable to an attack. Creating strong passwords can make it difficult for bots to guess them.
Install bot manager
A bot manager performs several actions to detect a bot and differs between a human and a bot. Also, it will block bad bots while allowing good bots to access your website.
These bots are helpful and work well for website performance and user experience. The good bots are:
These bots review a webpage's content and help the search engine decide whether the content should be shown in the SERPs or not. In technical terms, they crawl web pages according to particular parameters.
If the content on web pages meets the indexing requirements, the search engine will index these pages.
Chatbots have the fed information according to which they respond to humans. They are used to communicate as humans do.
For instance, if you book a ride or order something using chat, the response generated as a result of it is coming to you through the chatbot. In addition to it, there are many scenarios in which you unknowingly talk to chatbots.
FYI: ChatGPT also falls under the category of AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants. It is designed to engage in natural language conversations with users, providing information, answering questions, and assisting with various tasks.
They are utilized by businesses for various purposes, such as crawling web pages, gathering data, or driving traffic to a website.
For example, copyright bots can compare information found on the internet to the data stored in the owner's database to detect and report copyright infringements.
These bots help streamline processes, improve efficiency, and automate repetitive tasks for businesses.
Monitoring bots are designed to regularly check and report on various aspects of a website based on specific parameters.
For example, they can identify and report server-related issues, ensuring that any problems are promptly detected and addressed.
Aggregator bots are primarily used on social networking sites to gather content that may be of interest to users and incorporate it into their newsfeeds.
These bots analyze user preferences, browsing habits, and interactions to curate and display relevant content from various sources.
Advantages of bots
They work much faster than humans.
They can repeat the same task unlimited times and lessen the workload.
They are available around the clock to serve customers and clients.
They can serve a large number of people at one time.
They improve user experience, which is why they can give your website a good ranking in the search engine.
Disadvantages of bots
Malicious bots can be the most dangerous for one’s website, apps or accounts.
Chatbots cannot answer all the queries rather; they will tell you what they are fed to tell.
They can misinterpret information and be modified, so they are unreliable.
What is bot traffic?
Bot traffic refers to the non-human visitors to your website or app. These non-human visitors are the bots that together can make up good traffic or lousy traffic, depending on the role of the bots.
Researchers assert that almost 40% of the total traffic coming to your website is bot traffic. It may include ‘bad bots’ also, but it contains ‘good bots’ that are useful for your website.
How to detect bot traffic?
You can detect bot traffic coming to your website, app or system, which can either be good or bad.
If your website’s regular traffic seems to go up suddenly or come from a single IP address - a unique address of a hardware device running on a network - it might be the bad bots visiting your website. For instance, if your website is in English, and there is a sudden huge spike in traffic coming from an IP address based in Portugal, chances are it is due to bad bot activity.
Too much traffic can slow down the performance of the app or server. Therefore, slow speed can be an indication of bot traffic.
If you see users from remote locations contributing to your site’s traffic, it can be an indication of bot traffic.
How do bots work for SEO?
Regarding SEO, the most common bots are crawlers (or spiders). They crawl only those web pages of a website that the website owner allows.
They will check the content and index it to rank on the search engine results pages.
Here are the ways to improve good bots/crawlers’ traffic:
Make the good bots reach your website
To attract good bots to your website, it is essential to ensure that your website is well-organized. Focus on creating unique and relevant content while also paying attention to the robots.txt file.
The robots.txt file is crucial, as it informs crawlers which pages you allow or disallow for crawling on your website.
Additionally, using a sitemap file is an effective way to guide crawlers in finding and indexing your web pages. Sitemaps aid in website navigation and help bots discover important pages more easily.
Work on schema structured data
Schema structured data is the microdata that is added to your website’s page HTML for search engines to understand your web pages more effectively.
Adding it to your web pages can attract good bot traffic towards your website and help them better understand your website content.
Create fresh and updated content
You have to update the content from time to time and also try to bring newer information. Doing this can make good bots find your pages and crawl them on a priority basis.
Bots are computer programs designed for specific tasks, communicating with humans or other bots over the internet.
Good bots improve website performance, and bad bots harm it.
To effectively manage bot traffic and improve SEO, ensure your website is well-organized and consistently provides fresh and updated content.