Search engines rely heavily on automated software to seek content on the internet. These automated software agents have many different names: spiders, crawlers, and bots.
A search engine bot will discover and scan websites by following links through web pages. Googlebot is one of the most popular web crawlers in the world, covering roughly 65 to 70 percent of the market share.
Bots exist to help search engines learn about websites, navigate those websites, and get information about the content hosted on those websites. The collected data accumulates in an index, which helps deliver better search results to those who use Google as a search engine.
Other bots that perform good functions online include commercial crawlers, feed fetchers, and monitoring bots. Commercial crawlers identify the prices of various goods and services, feed fetchers retrieve data for Facebook and Twitter feeds, and monitor bots assess to web performance through different parts of the world and devices.
Reasons to Monitor Search Engine Bots
1. Identify Pages Bots Cannot Access
When accessing a website’s bot data, users may find that certain pages are generating a lot of bot traffic – while others are ignored. Monitoring search engine bots will help spot those ignored web pages. The issue may lie with broken links, a lack of follow links, server issues, sitemap errors, site architecture issues, or outdated flash content.
Crawl budget is not an issue for most websites, as Googlebot is programmed to crawl in a productive way. But bigger sites, or sites that auto-generate pages through URL parameters, may find issues with how Googlebot is crawling their site.
Ideally, site owners want all their pages crawled by Googlebot. It is also beneficial when the web pages that drive SEO traffic and generate ad revenue are a crawl priority. One way that site owners can ensure optimal crawling is by improving the load speed for all pages. When a website loads quicker, the crawl rate increases.
2. Large “Bad Bot” Traffic Impacts Site Performance
Not all bots perform positive functions online. Bad bots, such as click bots, download bots, and imposter bots can negatively impact a site’s performance. If certain pages on a website are being slammed by bots during specific hours, the end user experience is degraded significantly.
Click bots fraudulently click on ads, delivering bad data to advertisers. Download bots fraudulently game download count data, and imposter bots are disguised as friendly bots, so they can escape online security measures. By analyzing bot traffic, site owners can identify these bad bots and instruct their IT teams to take the necessary precautions against them.
3. Site Slow-Down Can Impact Business Revenue
When a website loads slower than usual, potential customers may look elsewhere for the information, product or service they desire. Whether the website is an informational blog, e-commerce store, or a site for a physical store, slow-down directly impacts business revenue.
4. Find Internal Link Opportunities
A well-organized site is always going to perform better where search engine optimization is concerned. Site owners need their most important content easily accessible from their home page. The most useful and important site pages should be no more than two clicks away from the end user or bots. Bot traffic analysis will help site owners identify important pages that need better internal links.
Monitoring search engine bot activity helps to prevent issues and provides insights that search engines are accessing the right priority pages. Continue reading on how search engine bot activity helps to improve your sites' search performance.