Stop Obsessing Over Your Web Traffic – It’s Not Human
In 2012 bot traffic took over and 51% of web traffic was officially non-human. In 2013 that number jumped to 61.5% as search engine bots, scrapers, hacking tools, spammers, and other impersonators scuttled over your favourite and not-so-favourite sites. In 2014 the proportion of humans will reduce even more. So why are marketers still looking at traffic as a KPI?
This data was based on 1.45 billion visits across 20,000 sites in 249 countries in one of the largest studies of its kind. Search engine crawlers actually make up the majority of bot traffic – at 31% they’re almost at the same level as human visitors. We do want them on our sites, but we don’t want to mistake them for potential leads.
So what should I track?
The good thing is bots aren’t converting or meaningfully engaging with content, so there are plenty of other KPIs you can track while you slowly come to terms with the robot takeover. Conversions are the ultimate signal of success for most sites and show that your site and marketing activities are working well together to attract the right kind of visitor.
Rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, analyse a range of KPIs including your ranking, links, shares, conversions, visits to specific pages, and time on page. While traffic is an easy metric to deal with, it’s also misleading since traffic does not benefit your business if it doesn’t result in conversions. So look at KPIs that will benefit your business in terms of genuine engagement and – ultimately – your bottom line.