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How to Identify Bot Traffic in Google Analytics

 Video Transcript

Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn! 

Have you ever noticed traffic sources in Google Analytics that don’t seem like they should be coming to your website? 

This kind of unknown traffic comes automated program known as a bot. 

Simply put, bot traffic is any online traffic that is not produced by a human, and this type of traffic can be very frustrating to see when trying to study your data to understand how your website is really performing. 

Today, we’re going to discuss how to identify bot traffic in Google Analytics. 

But before you worry too much about bot traffic, it is important to know that pretty much every site gets it.  

There are good bots, such as SEO crawlers and search engine bots; and bad bots, such as web scrapers and spambots. 

The main job of a bot is repetition; whether it be a repeat crawl of your site, or a repeat request for information.  

The biggest bummer about bot traffic is that it can skew your metrics in Google Analytics.  

Thankfully, identifying bot traffic is not very hard. 

Bot traffic is usually bucketed in the “Direct” or “Other” channels, as the source is frequently unknown. 

Sometimes, you’ll even find bot traffic in the “Referralchannel, as sites are hoping you’ll be curious about the referral and give them a click.  

Basically, this can be a black hat tactic to get more site traffic and inflate their session count. 

You’ll rarely see bot traffic in “Paid” or “Organic” channels, but sometimes it does happen. 

After you’ve checked through the various channels bot traffic could be living under, it’s time to look into the actual metrics associated with each source. 

Bot traffic often has a strange source name, a high bounce rate, around one page per session and a session duration of close to zero. 

These things are easy to identify in the channels report. 

Another one of the biggest indicators of bot traffic is that it comes from somewhere far away from your physical location, specifically in another state or country. 

The location of the bot traffic paired with one or more of the other associated metrics is usually enough to help you gauge whether or not a traffic source is legitimate. 

Bot traffic can’t always be removed entirely from your site, but you can at least filter it out of your Google Analytics data to give you cleaner metrics and a better understanding of how your site is performing. 

That’s all the time we have left for today’s workshop. 

As always, if you have questions or comments, leave ‘em down below and we’ll get back to you shortly. 

Thanks for watching. 

We’ll see you next time with another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn. 

Author Kelcey Drapp

Kelcey Drapp is an SEO Manager working at DealerOn since 2015, and in the digital space for nearly a decade. Kelcey enjoys digging deep into SEO research to discover the 'why,' and helping clients realize their potential for success online. In addition to her work in local SEO, Kelcey also likes to volunteer her digital marketing skills for non-profits in need. When Kelcey is not working, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband, son, & three dogs.

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