Google Analytics has recently rolled out an update that will hopefully give some clarity to the traffic that your website may or may not be getting. This new update represents the first large scale effort to weed out traffic that may be coming from the most widely known bots and spiders on the web.
The update lets Google pull out data from those bots that are present on the IAB’s International Bots and Spiders list. This list is not available to the public, but it is a well known resource that businesses have used to identify potential sources of illegitimate traffic.
This update is still in the early stages, so not all Analytics accounts will have access to the feature, but it can be found in the view settings. Those who have been updated will see an option to “Exclude hits from known bots and spiders”. Once this option has been enabled, Google will begin gradually filtering out traffic from these known sources.
This is a minor change as far as Analytics go, but it could end up having a huge impact on how you make decisions regarding your website. If you have been experiencing high levels of traffic but low conversion rates and interaction, that could mean your traffic is comprised largely of various bots and spiders, although it could mean you have some other website issues.
This update to Google Analytics will not get rid of all traffic from non-human sources, but it is a good tool to help webmasters get a sense of their true levels of traffic. Much like traffic that comes from employees is not helpful for the bottom line, the bot traffic is an online issue that has resulted in over delivery of “traffic” for many years. This new change may end up making some websites look bad in the short run, but it can help accurately guide web strategy going forward. Good luck and thanks for reading!