How to Find and Filter Bot Traffic in Google Analytics?

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Last updated on March 26th, 2024 at 06:55 am

Do you want to know “What is Bot Traffic in Google Analytics”?

Imagine your website is like a busy street, and there are visitors walking by.

Now, picture some of these visitors being robots instead of people. That’s bot traffic!

Did you know that around 40% of all internet traffic comes from bots?

Some estimate it even higher, at about 51%.

So, it’s like having half the street filled with non-human visitors.

This can affect your website’s performance, and too many bad bots can slow things down.

What exactly is Bot Traffic?

bot traffic in google analytics

Bots are like digital visitors on your website. Some are helpful, like search engine bots that index your pages.

But others can be trouble, causing slow loading times or even messing with your analytics.

Did you know that around 40% of internet traffic comes from bots?

So, it’s crucial to distinguish between good and bad bots to keep your site running smoothly.

Identifying Bot Traffic Patterns

Think of it like a detective game.

Good customers follow a certain pattern – they view products, add to carts, and checkout.

Bots, on the other hand, might do weird things like click on lots of pages in a second.

By looking at these patterns, you can spot and filter out the bots.

It’s like having a bouncer at the entrance of your store, making sure only real customers get in.

Over 20% of website traffic is made up of bad bots, causing mischief, so it’s essential to identify and filter them for a better user experience.

Analyzing User-Agent Strings

Think of the User-Agent string like a guest’s ID at a party.

It tells you what browser and device someone is using to access your website.

Now, just like you’d verify IDs at the entrance, analyzing User-Agent strings helps you understand if the “guest” is a regular visitor or a potential troublemaker.

Around 5% of bad bots fake their User-Agent strings, so paying attention to these details can help filter out unwanted traffic.

Examining IP Addresses

Imagine your website as a city, and each visitor has a unique address.

These addresses are called IP addresses.

Some addresses are from trustworthy neighbourhoods, while others might be from areas known for causing problems.

By examining these IP addresses, you can identify and block suspicious visitors.

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Did you know that around 23% of bad bots share common IP addresses?

So, keeping an eye on these digital addresses is like having a security system for your online city.

Monitoring Behavior Analytics

Consider this as watching how people move around your store.

Genuine customers usually follow a logical path, like browsing products before making a purchase.

Bots, however, might behave erratically, clicking on multiple pages in seconds.

By monitoring these behavioural patterns, you can spot and stop unwanted bot activity.

About 39% of bad bots mimic human behaviour, making it important to use behaviour analytics to distinguish between real visitors and potential troublemakers.

It’s like having security cameras in your store to catch any unusual activity.

Utilizing CAPTCHAs and Challenges

CAPTCHAs are like puzzles for your website visitors.

They help ensure that the user interacting with your site is a real person, not a sneaky bot.

It’s like asking someone at the door to solve a riddle before entering your store.

CAPTCHAs can reduce bot traffic by up to 80%, making it a powerful tool to separate real users from automated bots.

Employing Web Application Firewalls (WAF)

Think of a Web Application Firewall (WAF) as the security guard of your website.

It monitors and filters incoming traffic, blocking malicious activity before it even reaches your site.

WAFs can prevent common online threats, including bot attacks.

Websites with a WAF experience 60% fewer security incidents, showcasing the effectiveness of this digital security guard.

Utilizing Bot Management Tools

Imagine having a manager overseeing your store’s security.

Bot Management Tools act as this manager, continuously monitoring and controlling bot activities.

These tools use advanced algorithms to identify and block malicious bots, ensuring a safe and smooth experience for genuine users.

Approximately 68% of organizations use bot management tools to protect their online assets, emphasizing their role in maintaining a secure digital environment.

Good vs. Bad Bots

Picture your website like a party.

Good bots are like helpful friends, such as search engine crawlers that index your site.

They help your website get discovered.

On the other hand, bad bots are like party crashers.

They might slow down your site, scrape content, or even engage in malicious activities.

Understanding the difference between good and bad bots is crucial for ensuring a positive online experience for your visitors.

Bot Traffic in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is like the CCTV for your website traffic.

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It helps you see who’s coming to your “store” and what they’re doing.

When you check Google Analytics, you can identify patterns in visitor behaviour, distinguishing between real users and bots.

Did you know that, on average, 22.9% of website traffic is made up of bad bots?

By monitoring bot traffic in Google Analytics, you can take steps to filter out the unwanted visitors and optimize your website’s performance for the genuine ones.

Filtering Bot Traffic in Google Analytics

Imagine you have a collection of photos, and you want to keep only the ones with your friends in them while deleting the rest.

Filtering bot traffic is similar. You want to remove the automated visits and focus on real people.

You can set up filters in Google Analytics to tell it to ignore the bot visits, so your data shows a more accurate picture of your website’s actual visitors.

Practical Tip: Use Google Analytics’ built-in bot filtering tools or create custom filters to exclude known bots and spiders from your reports.

1. Login to Google Analytics:

Start by logging into your Google Analytics account associated with your website.

2. Navigate to the Reporting Tab:

Once logged in, go to the “Reporting” tab. This is where you can access all the information about your website’s performance.

3. Check the Overview:

Look at the overview of your website’s traffic. If you see unusually high numbers or spikes that don’t align with your typical audience patterns, there might be bot interference.

4. Go to the “Acquisition” Section:

Click on “Acquisition” on the left sidebar. This section helps you understand where your traffic is coming from.

5. Explore “All Traffic” and “Source/Medium”:

Within “Acquisition,” go to “All Traffic” and then “Source/Medium.” Here, you can see which sources are sending traffic to your site.

6. Look for Suspicious Sources:

Check for sources that seem unfamiliar or suspicious. Legitimate sources are usually well-known websites, search engines, or social media platforms.

7. Use Secondary Dimensions:

Click on the “Secondary Dimension” dropdown and select “Network Domain” or “Hostname.” This will give you more information about the origin of the traffic.

8. Identify Bots in Network Domain:

Look for network domains that seem like they could be bots. Bots often have generic names or don’t match the typical domains of your audience.

9. Set Up Filters:

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To filter out bot traffic, you can create filters. Go to the “Admin” tab, and under the “View” column, click on “Filters.” Then, click on “+Add Filter.”

10. Create a Custom Filter:

Choose “Create new Filter,” give it a name, and select “Custom.” Choose “Exclude” as the filter type.

11. Define Filter Pattern:

In the Filter Field, select either “Hostname” or “Network Domain,” depending on what you identified in step 8. Enter the specific pattern of the bot domain to exclude.

12. Verify and Save the Filter:

Click on “Verify this Filter” to see its effect on historical data. If everything looks good, click “Save.”

13. Consider Using Google’s Bot Filtering:

In the “View Settings” under “Bot Filtering,” enable the option that says “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.”

Identifying, Excluding, and Removing Bot Traffic

Picture your website as a garden, and you want to keep out pests and let in the good stuff.

To deal with bot traffic, first, you need to identify the bots.

Once you know who they are, you can exclude or remove them. This is like using a fence to keep out unwanted creatures from your garden.

Practical Tip: Consider using a security plugin, like Wordfence, to automatically block malicious bot traffic.

I am using Cloudways Bot Protection. (Cloudways is the host I use)

Also, regularly review your website’s access logs to spot unusual activity.

You can also use the Cloudflare Bot Protection feature.

Balancing Bot Traffic for Your Website

Balancing bot traffic is like ensuring that you have the right mix of guests at your party.

You don’t want too many troublemakers, but you also don’t want to keep out the good folks.

It’s essential to strike a balance between allowing helpful bots, like search engines, and keeping the harmful ones at bay.

Wrapping Up – What is Bot Traffic in Google Analytics

It is clear that bot traffic is definitely bad for your website. They will not increase organic traffic or revenue for your business.

To save your website from malicious activities avoid using free bot traffic. They will only add up problems for your website.

You can use Cloudflare CDN to stop bot traffic or you can change your host to Cloudways – they provide a premium bot protection plugin for free in their hosting packages.