Bots are not inherently good or bad, but they can be used with good or bad intent. Working with web engineers and data scientists who can reveal patterns of traffic behaviour on your website will ensure you have a good insight into what good bots look like vs. bad.
Here’s the following identifying characteristics for good bots vs. bad bots:
- Web scrapers, for instance, can be extremely helpful to online businesses and play a vital role in driving highly relevant traffic to the organisation’s website. They helpfully gather large amounts of data from websites, combing through a site’s source code in their hunt for the information they’ve been scripted to locate.
- Search engine spiders are a useful example of a commonly used web scraper with good intent. Search engine spiders crawl websites, pulling together all sorts of relevant information such as copy, headlines, alt tags and product pricing to determine where that site should be indexed in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Without these clever good bots, no one would be able to find your website using words and phrases that are relevant to your product or service.
However, it’s important to remember that unlike bad bots, how these good bots crawl your site and which pages you want indexed can be managed by defining your website’s robots.txt.
Bad bots, on the other hand, cannot be regulated. By their nature, they are programmed to cause harm in one way or another. Which is why it’s important to detect bot traffic and behaviour quickly, determine its intent and mitigate bad bots.
Let’s refer again to web scrapers. These bots can very useful to a business, but they can also be extremely harmful.
For example, a competitor might use scraper bots to look at your prices and lower theirs accordingly and driving your potential customers to their own site.
There a range of bad bot use cases that your business must be aware of.
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