The How & Why of Filtering Bot Traffic in Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an essential tool for many businesses to measure website performance and understand web visitors’ behavior. Since making any business or website decisions should be based on good data, it is critical that your Google Analytics reports are providing accurate information.
Bot traffic is one common source of misleading or meaningless data, so you’ll have to tackle this issue to help ensure your data is clean and represents real visitors to your site. Let’s look at how bot traffic may adversely affect your analytics reporting and what you can do about it.
What is Bot Traffic?
When you hear the term bot traffic, it includes not only bots but spiders and crawlers that interact with your website. These software applications run automated tasks across the internet, and while some can be helpful, they don’t represent human-generated traffic, so they should be excluded from your reporting data.
Some bots are good and some are bad: think search engine crawlers versus scrapers that seek to clone your unique content. No matter what type of bots are reaching your website, they’re giving you a false sense of reality — at least when it comes to your site’s legitimate user traffic.
Did you know that bot traffic now accounts for about half of all internet traffic? That’s a lot of false data! This surprising metric illustrates the importance of weeding out bot, spider and crawler traffic to your site, so let’s look at how to do so.
How to Remove Bot Traffic From Google Analytics
Bot filtering is available in Google Analytics, but it’s not the default setting. Therefore, site owners will need to turn on the bot filtering setting manually, but it’s an easy switch.
To remove bot traffic from your Google Analytics data, go into the Admin View settings and check the “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders” option. This list of known bots and spiders is regularly updated as Google finds new traffic sources that fit the bill. By taking this simple step, you’ll be eliminating the majority of bot traffic from your analytics reporting.
Maybe you also want to know how much of your default traffic data comes from bots. One way to get an idea of how much bot traffic hits your site is to set up separate views in Google Analytics and compare the data with and without bot filtering.
It’s also possible to manually filter out some of the remaining unknown crawlers, spiders and bots, but doing so is an intensive task that’s best left to the experts. But remember, excluding all hits from known bots and spiders will go along way in ensuring that you can rely on your Google Analytics reporting!
If you’d like assistance with interpreting your website’s performance and visitor behavior through Google Analytics, the digital marketing specialists at fusionZONE Automotive are here to help! Reach out to our team for more details on filtering bot traffic and other ways to gain insights from your site’s analytics reports.