Most Internet Traffic Isn’t Actually Coming from Humans

As more people join the digital age by accessing the Internet on a regular basis, the number of non-human Internet users is also growing at an exceptional rate. A new study has found that Internet traffic generated by bots instead of humans is up 21 percent compared with last year.

This increase has placed the total share of non-human traffic at 61 percent, and although a significant proportion of those bots were search engines, 24 percent of them were malicious bots used for hacking and data collection. Luckily, the good kind of bots is growing, whereas malicious bots are no longer as popular as they were in 2011 or 2012.

Not People

To the average Internet user, it does not really matter if the Internet sees the majority of its traffic from bots. However, this sort of information is crucial to Web sites and companies that are trying to accurately monitor how much traffic they receive. Some analytics programs do not count bot visits within their statistics but some of them do, resulting in a massive difference in the amount of traffic a Web site believes it is receiving.

Incapsula, the research firm behind the study, was able to monitor 1.45 billion bot visits over a period of 90 days, and while this may not provide a completely accurate look at how much Internet traffic comes from bots, the information is still useful.

The massive increase in bot use can largely be attributed to search engine optimization tools that are becoming more popular as businesses attempt to automate their SEO research. "For instance, we see newly established SEO-oriented services that crawl a site at a rate of 30-50 daily visits or more," said Incapsula in a recent blog post.

Bad Visitors

As useful as some bots may be, there is a dark side to the...

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