The dangers of bot web traffic generators
While it’s not illegal to use a web traffic generator it’s something that businesses who want to protect their brand should shy away from.
Web traffic bots are computer programs that can be launched on a network to artificially create traffic on websites and social media. They’ve become more prominent in recent years, but web traffic generators first appeared in the mid 2000s.
Like all actions on the internet, there are good and bad interactions as a result of web traffic generators.
They’re most often used to drive up the number of page views to a website, in theory increasing the site’s ranking on search engines. Traffic bots on social media can drive up likes, potentially enhancing the account’s influence.
However, they can also be used for more nefarious purposes, such as setting up bot click farms to repeatedly click on a competitor’s paid adverts to drain their advertising budget.
Web traffic generators are just a small element of the types of bot traffic which generates non-human visits on business websites however.
With around 70% of all internet traffic believed to be bots, and 40% of that figure malicious ones acting on behalf of criminals and other nefarious purposes, it’s something to keep in mind when considering any “fast track” options for SEO ranking.
While technologies like chatbots or search engine crawlers perform helpful activities, it’s harder to weed out the ones which don’t.
What are web traffic bots?
Traffic bots are a specific kind of bot, designed to emulate human activity to increase internet traffic for web pages and social media accounts.
Traffic bots can also be used for click fraud or ad fraud, where bots repeatedly click on pay-per-click links to drive up revenue. While traffic bots aren’t necessarily illegal, they can increase costs, consume resources, and skew a company’s understanding of legitimate traffic.
According to Google’s John Mueller, who responded in a tweet to a user asking about the implications of bot traffic and SEO:
However, this is related to organic and naturally occurring bot traffic and not that created by a program to deliberately drive up visitor numbers.
While bot traffic is not inherently bad for SEO, using bot web traffic generators for ad clicks is fraught with dangers, not least including Google AdSense shutting down your account for breaching Google’s policies.
Google clearly states that “AdSense Publishers are responsible for the traffic they send to their accounts,” and they are not slow to take action against any site they believe is breaking the rules. The company adds: “There are many services out there that can increase traffic to your site, including pay-per-click solutions to connect advertisers and publishers, as well as search engines and directory sites.
“However, we’ve found that some of these services actually send artificial traffic to websites, despite their appearance. To deliver the traffic levels that their customers expect, these services often generate clicks and impressions using click bots, or by providing users incentives to visit sites or click on ads. For this reason, we strongly urge you to use caution when partnering with third-party traffic services.”
Using a bot web traffic generator, or employing people to do the same, won’t cause your account to be closed unless it’s used to generate ad clicks. Google considers this ad fraud as the “person” clicking on the ad has no intention of purchasing.
This costs Google’s customers money – and in the case of malicious clicks being used to drive up a competitor’s ad costs – it’s fraudulent behaviour and a reduction in the quality of service being provided by the multinational technology company.
Understandably, Google doesn’t like that and the platform has multiple ways of detecting when a website is using a service like this to drive traffic to ads.
How do web traffic bots work?
A bot is a software program designed to perform a specific set of tasks. These automated applications are fast and accurate, allowing them to perform highly repetitive tasks with greater speed and precision than a human being can.
Bots can be loosely divided up into two distinct categories:
- Good bots that perform roles that are essential for the internet to function as we know it – including crawling websites, indexing pages, and performing a range of other tasks in the background.
- Bad bots, the kind that get the most attention, are used to run illegal or damaging tasks that can cause damage to online web properties and perform tasks at a much higher rate than a human can. Bots can be used to hack or crack a website and gain financial or intellectual property.
The challenge comes with mitigating web traffic generators and in preventing malicious bot traffic. Detection engines are fighting a constant battle against the bots and helpful ones can sometimes get caught in the crossfire.
Hindering good bots can impact productivity and compromise online experiences for legitimate users on websites.
To manage and mitigate bad bot traffic without slowing down performance, security teams need sophisticated bot detection technologies that can identify malicious activity with few false positives.
This is where Veracity Trust Network comes in.
About Veracity Trust Network
The Veracity Trust Network safeguards organisations from the threat of bot attacks, through its deep tech machine-learning solutions which address Security, Fraud and Ad Tech.
Using a mixture of AI, machine learning, and other bespoke tools, we check whether it’s really a human visitor or a very clever bot pretending to be human and can ensure a number of benefits, including:
- Detection and prevention of bot attacks using advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect and prevent bot attacks in real-time.
- Reduction of click fraud by detecting and blocking fake clicks generated by bots and other malicious actors, ensuring accurate traffic data and reducing wasted spend on fake clicks.
- Enhanced security by providing additional layers of security to protect against cyber attacks and other forms of malicious activity.
- Improved website performance by preventing bot attacks and click fraud, helping to improve the overall performance of websites with a better user experience.
- Peace of mind for website owners, who can be confident that their websites are protected against the latest threats and are functioning optimally.
Veracity Trust Network is award-winning technology* applicable to any business operating a website and works to block a wide range of bot attacks, preserving website performance, while optimising infrastructure costs and security resources.
Start protecting your business from fake and malicious bot web traffic by booking a call now:
*Digital City Awards 2022: Innovation of the Year, Best Business Awards 2022: Best Innovation, Best Martech Innovation at Prolific North Tech Awards 2021, B2B Marketing Expo Innovation Award for Best Marketing Tool 2021, and the Tech Nation Rising Stars 3.0 Cyber Award 2021, as well as holding Verified by TAG status.