Not all bots out there are good bots. Trolling your sites are malicious automated machines that can cause a number of problems. These bots inflate analytics data and can be responsible for attacks on your site. They are even handy tools for scraping and copying your content. Before you can properly use analytics to accomplish anything you need to have good analytics data. The old saying “Garbage in, garbage out” is doubly true in this case.
Content traffic data is important in determining how successful your content marketing strategy has been over a period of time. It also allows you to develop new strategies built around improving your content marketing.
These bot visits skew the data so that you can’t trust the numbers to gauge your performance. It’s crazy – the 2014 bot traffic report by Incapsula found that over 50% of all website traffic was due to bots. It was also discovered that if you build your brand and become recognizable, it was likely that you would see more of an influx of bots to your site.
3 Key Ways to Deal with Bots & Win
Sounds like a “lose-lose” situation, doesn’t it? If you improve your visibility and market more and get a wider outreach then bots will also take more notice of you and the chances of a bot attack go up along with your popularity. Luckily, you can control bot visits relatively easily. The idea behind blocking bots is to find out where they come from and stop the source.
This might seem like a complicated piece of internet wizardry, but the reality is as simple as the following steps:
- Locate your Log Files: Servers all have a series of log files that make a record of visits to the website from each user based on their IP location. These logs are usually stored on your server. If you have a hosting company that gives you cPanel as your hosting front-end you can simply access your logs by clicking the link in the main cPanel window (the first window you visit). If you use Apache for your front-end, your logs will be in the /var/log folder. IIS users can configure their logging through the local computer’s control panel. In the control panel, you select administrative tools, then internet services manager, then select website, right click and then select properties, select website in the tabs then available, then on to properties and finally the general properties tab. In typical fashion, the Microsoft logs are the hardest to get your hands on.
- Figuring Out the Most Visits by IP and User Agents: When you get your log files downloaded, it’s a simple matter to consolidate them into a single text file and then import them into Excel (or whatever you prefer to view your log files in). Excel is a very innovative way to manipulate data so that you can make sense out of it. When you import your data into Excel you can select the space delimiter to get the right data into the right columns. With a little cleaning up you’ll have usable data almost immediately.
Utilizing Excel’s Pivot Table Builder, you can create a pivot table to link number of visits to Client IP and then get a feel for the counts of visits from malicious IP’s. Client IP’s determine where your visitors are coming from and can easily give you insight into where most of your visitors are based. Renaming the table headers to Client IP, Hits and finally a User Agent column gives you a setup to determine which IP’s have visited your site the most. The User Agent determines the browser version and the operating system version that your visitor was running. Obviously, bots would have none of these so it’s just a matter of determining which ones are blank to pinpoint the presence of bots.
- Blocking the IP: After you’ve figured out which IP is the bot location, you can now move forward in blocking reference to the bots in your analytics reports. Additionally, if you’re concerned about security, you can also block the bots from accessing the site altogether. Google Analytics gives you the option to block individual IP’s. It also comes with a built in bot-checker that you can enable in the Admin panel under View Settings and by selecting “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.” A handy tool for filtering your analytics to get a more realistic view of your outreach. Omniture gives you a bit more control about your analytics viewing and tabulation by giving you the option to exclude individual IP’s, exclude a set of IP’s (if you have a large number of bot entries) or create a processing rule that ignores certain IP’s and IP ranges.
On the server side of the spectrum, you can limit the availability of your site to certain visitors based on their IP. CPanel includes a handy IP Deny manager which allows you to enter IP’s that you can deny access to. In Apache, you can utilize either the mod_authz_host module or the.htaccess module, but the former is the more preferred method for controlling access. Open IIS Manager allows blocking through its features view, then navigating to the IP4 Address and Domain Restrictions, then to the actions pane and finally adding the IP address of the bot into the Add/Deny Entry list.
The Threat of Bots and How to Combat Them
Even though bots can be a nuisance, being aware that they exist and are an active threat allows you to deal with them. These methods, although they do work, are not 100% effective in determining whether an IP is a bot. Constant traffic monitors via third party solutions can give you a more secure method of streamlining your traffic and keeping bots away from your pages.
Similarly, the introduction of ReCaptchas can stop bots and prove to be a viable measure, although it can be quite annoying if you’re a human to prove your humanness. At the end of the day the security of your site is of the utmost importance. It’s better to prevent bots from accessing your site than having to deal with the fallout of their malicious actions. Prevention will always be better than cure, and when it comes to websites, bots can deliver quite a blow to the viability of your content marketing strategy with very little effort.
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Olaotan Richard Ceo Aims Digital Network Speaks On 5 Powerful Tips To Digital Marketing Success
Digital marketing is unarguably one of the most effective and strategic marketing tools that the internet has brought to our doorstep. Businesses all over the world are churning in millions and even billions in returns each year. Digital Expert Richard Olaotan, the CEO of Aims Digital Network, gives some powerful and winning business tips for digital marketing.
1. Visual Elements
Everyone is attracted first by what they see. Having visual elements in business is key because people can only buy what they see. And on the average, a prospective client has got to see your product or service ad about seven times before they make a purchase. Whether it is your business logo, mascot, color theme or font you are choosing, the whole idea is to catch the attention of the audience, while also maintaining that attention enough for them to remember your brand. When advertising on social media, visual creativity is key. You must, at all times, ensure that whatever it is you are putting out there is as relevant as it is eye-catching. Your digital ads must appeal to the aesthetics of viewers and will be remembered. Using images that have consistent aesthetic and gives your campaign that familiarity every time it pops up is key.
2. Invest wisely
Truth is there are several digital marketing tools and services out there, but not all of them will create the same level of impact you desire for your kind of business. So, take time to analyze your business and the service or product you wish to put out there, the age demographic you are targeting, and the location too. Afterward, you can go through the various digital marketing platforms available and select the ones that will most effectively achieve what you desire.
3. Understand the buyer process
If you can understand the journey of a buyer, you will know what marketing strategy to present at each stage. Through buyer analytics, you can deduce the actions a visitor takes throughout your website, and use this information garnered to make the buying process easier for them. For instance, Google analytics gives user history that can help you better understand where they are in their buying phase.
4. Understand your target audience
Before delving into employing digital marketing tools, it is highly advised that you have a clear understanding of who you are targeting to make your bulk purchasing audience. Everyone is a potential buyer of your product or service; however, an age range or designated people of certain classes are the best benefactors of your product or service. Those are your target audience, and in digital marketing, you engage marketing tools strategically to send unique ads to this audience.
5. Analyze your social media metrics
To see the digital marketing tool that is most effective for your product or service, Olaotan Richard advises that you analyze your data and tie it back to the direct result it produces. The best SEO company in Chicago or anywhere else would first help you find what promotes engagements for your business niche. With their finding, they can easily suggest which tool or ad style is most effective for you.
Social media giants, Facebook urges publishers to leverage creative content for improved revenue
Social media giants, Facebook, has called on publishers to leverage on creative content for better revenue generation.
Facebook’s Strategic Media Partnerships Manager for Sub Sahara Africa, Jocelyn Muhutu-Remy, made the call while speaking at a session tagged ‘Art of monetizing good storytelling through the social media’ hosted by The Guardian during the Social Media Week at Victoria Island, Lagos.
“Propose what is different and unique to you. It is not about the followers you have but the uniqueness of your content. I advise starting by promoting your page using your location to reduce pay.”
Muhutu-Remy cited an example of a publisher on Instagram whose main contents were on natural hair care and maintenance for women and urged social media publishers to follow suit.
She added that brands would only be attracted and convinced to partner and invest in a publisher whose contents is specific and specialized.
Storytelling is about engaging your audience and ensuring they can relate with your content subject,” Mutuhuru-Remy said.
Other speakers at the session moderated by Guardian Life editor, Chidera Muoka, were Instagram publishers, Sisi Yemmie, a food blogger and Comedian Wofai Fada.
Wofai Fada, a comedian, said passion is key for any publisher that wants to thrive in the digital publishing space.
“It comes easy because it’s something I love doing. Passion is necessary to push one further.”
She advised publishers to be consistent and continually renew strategies to communicate with their audience.
Sisi Yemmie, a food blogger, said specialization in Instagram publishing has given her an edge in digital publishing.
She urged other publishers to harness Google analytics tool to examine the interests of their audience, as well as means to grow their platforms.
“Your social media analytics helps you decide what types of contents you should post and what time of the day you should post. You need to be aware of what type of content is to be promoted, but be creative and dynamic too,” Sisi Yemmie said.
Reports of Unstable Google Search Results
SEO expert Barry Schwartz has reported that in his tracking there appears to be some unstableness with the Google search results recently. This would explain why a lot of sites are complaining a bit louder lately about search traffic declines.
“Over the past few days, I’ve been tracking this and it seems like there’s really some unstable search results going on in the Google search results,” Schwartz said. “I’m not sure if it’s an algorithm update or if it’s more of like a penalty affecting a very specific niche or two, or maybe a specific type of tactic, maybe around links, I’m not sure. It seems a little bit more blackhat oriented where the blackhat communities are complaining a little bit more, but I’m not really sure.”
“The algorithm tools that are tracking this stuff really aren’t showing many fluctuations at all, which is interesting,” noted Schwartz. “But there is definitely, within certain types of communities in the SEO industry, a lot of communication going on over the past 3-4 days or so around a bunch of ranking changes for their websites. We’ll keep investigating that but I just wanted to bring that to your attention because it does seem to be somewhat significant for a limited number of segments within our industry.”