What Is A Bot?

Jake Sheridan
Oct 19, 2021

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Bots, spiders, or web crawlers are heavily used by search engines to figure out how high to display websites in search results.

Bots find new online pages to view or “crawl” by clicking on links. When a new webpage is found, information about the content and its connection to previous material is logged. Bots often frequently return to the same locations to check for changes.

In the case of search engines, this information is compiled into an index. Search engines offer appropriate search results fast by maintaining an up-to-date index of notes on which websites contain relevant information on certain themes.

Understanding how bots work can help businesses improve their search performance and grow their online presence. For instance, seeing how many high-quality websites are linking to your website is one of the many important ranking factors bots can track.

That said, this article delves deeper into what a bot is, why bots are important, what a bot is in SEO and how bots affect SEO.

Let’s go!

What Is a Bot?

A ‘bot,’ short for robot, is a computer program that automates, pre-defined, repetitive tasks.

Bots are designed to mimic or replace human user behavior. They are much faster than human users because they carry out automated tasks. They perform useful functions such as customer service and search engine indexing, but they can also take the form of malware, which is used to gain complete control of a computer. Internet bots are also known as spiders, crawlers, or web robots.

Bots typically operate over a network; bot traffic accounts for more than half of internet traffic, scanning content, interacting with webpages, chatting with users, and searching for attack targets. Some bots, such as search engine bots that index content for search or customer service bots that assist users are – good bots.

Other bots are “bad bots” as they are programmed to perform bot attacks, by breaking into user accounts, scan the web for contact information in order to send spam  – (spambots), or engage in other malicious activities  – (malicious bots).

To carry out these large scale attacks and conceal the source of the attack traffic, bad bots may be distributed in a botnet, by these they are used to carry out any other malicious bot activity. which means that copies of the bot are running on multiple devices, often without the device owners’ knowledge.

Bots can now use artificial intelligence to expand their own databases and learn new functions and terms, allowing them to evolve further.

A bot will have an IP address if it is connected to the internet. Googlebot builds an index based on the restrictions set by webmasters in their robots.txt files.

There are different types of bots, classified as follows:

Web crawlers (Google bots): Bots that crawl the content of websites all over the Internet.

Chatbots: Bots that mimic human conversation by responding to specific phrases with pre-programmed responses.

Social bots: Bots that interact with users on social media sites.

Malicious bots: Bots that scrape content, distribute spam content, perform credential stuffing attacks or malicious attacks.

Below is an illustration of how bots work:

Why Are Bots Important?

Now, let’s have a look at the importance of bots.

  1. Improve User Experience

The most significant benefit that a chatbot can provide is an enhanced user experience. Signals of good user experience and engagement are not only SEO ranking factors, but they also have a direct correlation with conversation rate. Interacting with a bot is simple, not to mention more natural, especially if the interaction takes place on a mobile device.

  1. Improve Dwell Time

Dwell time, or the amount of time visitors spend on your page, is one of Google’s 200+ ranking factors used to determine search engine rankings. And a significant one at that. With people’s attention spans dwindling, Google wants to reward sites where they spend the most time. So, guess what? Chatbots on your website can help you increase dwell time.

  1. Conversations with your users that are real-time and personalized.

Chatbots allow you to have real-time, personalized conversations with your customers. These bots work around the clock to provide you with real-time data. They are designed to make your users feel as if they are speaking with a real person. As a result, people prefer to interact with chatbots over other elements on your website. Unknown to them, 63 % of online users interact with a chatbot.

  1. Assist Users in Finding What They’re Looking For

One of the main purposes of a chatbot is to help users find what they need, provide a quick resolution to their requests or lead them to the right product. Of course, you’d hope that the Google search result they receive, answers their question. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Machine learning will be used by an intellectually independent chatbot to learn from human behavior as well as to search for known keywords.

  1. Gather Information

Chatbots can help SEO indirectly by collecting data from user interactions. You can do a number of things by analyzing a chatbot’s logs.

For example, by reviewing frequently asked questions, you can generate a list of content and keyword ideas that are likely to increase traffic to your website or e-commerce site. For example, if you run a camera blog and someone searches for a specific type of lens that you don’t sell, you can conduct some research to see if you should.

You could also generate content ideas to attract organic traffic and links to your websites.

It is best to use a dedicated bot management solution that provides complete visibility into bot traffic. Some basic bot management feature sets, for example, include IP rate limiting and CAPTCHAs.

Bots FAQ

What is a bot in SEO?

Search engines heavily rely on bots, spiders, or web crawlers to determine how high to rank websites in search results. One of the many important ranking factors bots can track is the number of high-quality websites linking to your website.

Bots find new web pages to visit or “crawl” by following a link. When a new webpage is discovered, information about the content and how it relates to other content is recorded. Bots also frequently return to the same locations to check for updates.

In the case of search engines, this information is compiled into an index. Search engines provide relevant search results quickly by maintaining an up-to-date index of notes on which websites have relevant content on various topics.

There are so many website auditing tools available that can help you get started. They include SiteProfiler, SEMRush, SEO Site Checkup, Moz On-Page Grader, DeepCrawl, Botify, OnCrawl, and Ahrefs Site Audit.

What do Google bots do?

Googlebot gathers documents from the internet to build Google’s search indexing. The software application discovers new pages and updates existing pages by constantly gathering documents. Googlebot has a distributed design that spans many computers, allowing it to grow in tandem with the web.

The web crawler employs algorithms to determine which sites to visit, at what rates to visit, and how many pages to retrieve. Googlebot starts with a list built from previous sessions. This list is then supplemented by webmasters’ sitemaps. The software crawls all linked elements in the web pages it visits, noting new sites, site updates, and broken links. The information gathered is used to update Google’s web index.

Do bots affect SEO?

The SEO ranking of your website is determined by a variety of factors, including content quality, dependable backlinks, fast load time, and so on. On the other hand, bots can crawl your website and cripple its functionality and reliability to the point where your SEO ranking plummets.

Web Scraping: Website scrapers steal website content and re-use it without permission.

All of your unique, high-quality content can be easily stolen by bots and posted elsewhere without your permission or attribution. This can harm your SEO ranking because search engines will flag it as plagiarized content, and your site may be penalized for having duplicate content, even if you are the original author.

Website Overload and Crash: They’re called distributed denial-of-service DDoS attacks, and they can make your website completely inaccessible. They occur when several infected computers band together to attack a single target, exhausting your network connections and server resources, which can cause website outages. Depending on how long your site is down, this can hurt your SEO ranking.

Skewed Analytics: Your site analytics are critical for understanding how much traffic your site receives, how effective your advertising is, and how successful your site is overall. Bot interactions can skew these analytics and provide you with false information.

They Inject Malware Into Your Site’s Code. Hackers/cybercriminals can use bots to inject malware codes or links into the HTML header in your site. It can also be difficult to detect because it may not seem very different from the code on your website. Injected codes may also indicate that bots are allowing hackers to steal your traffic.

Can Googlebot crawl my site?

Googlebot was created to be run concurrently by thousands of machines to improve performance and scale as the web grows. In addition, to reduce bandwidth consumption, Google runs many crawlers on machines located near the sites that they may crawl. As a result, your logs may show visits from multiple machines at google.com, all of which use the Googlebot user agent.

Google’s goal is to crawl as many pages from your site as possible on each visit without exceeding your server’s bandwidth. If your site is having difficulty keeping up with Google’s crawling requests, you can request a crawl rate change. Chatbots, for example, can be found on a variety of messaging apps, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik, Slack, and Telegram.

How many times does Google crawl a site?

Googlebot should not visit your site more than once every few seconds on average for most sites. However, due to delays, the rate may appear to be slightly higher for short periods.

Although it varies, the average crawl time can range from three days to four weeks, depending on a variety of factors.

Google’s algorithm is a program that uses over 200 factors to determine where websites rank in search results. These are pieces of information that Googlebots collect from each site during the process of a ‘Google crawl,’ and they are taken into account when filling in Google’s ‘index.’

Don’t forget: check out the other definitions (over 200) in our growing SEO glossary.

Using Bots to Improve Your SEO

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of bots.

Chatbots are currently one of the fastest-growing business communication channels. While automated conversations are proving to be effective in terms of engagement and customer service, many marketers are beginning to consider the potential chatbot SEO (Search Engine Optimization) effects.

It’s not 2012 anymore, and SEO isn’t as simple as stuffing keywords and getting spammy backlinks from questionable sources. Successful SEO in 2022 is all about complex, ongoing, and diligent technical and content adjustments.

It requires your undivided attention at all times. That is if you want to stay in the game. In addition, a firewall can aid in the prevention of malicious attacks. Chatbots can also help your SEO in addition to increasing user engagement and providing quick support.

Are you finding implementing bots in your website an excruciating experience?

Well, Loganix is here to ease the process and guide you through the implementation process.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Jake Sheridan on October 19, 2021

Founder of Sheets for Marketers, I nerd out on automating parts of my work using Google Sheets. At Loganix I build products, and content marketing. There’s nothing like a well deserved drink after a busy day spreadsheeting.