Bots, like the internet, video games, guns, orange juice and chocolate, are not dangerous by themselves. But over-used and in the wrong hands, they can be destructive.
For example, bots can be built to take content, hack a site or spam a page, according to an article posted on the SEO Tools website (not credited but most likely written by its Jayesh Jain who is an SEO professional with experience in Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Optimization, Unnatural Link Removal Services, and Lead Generation).
Full article can be found here: https://seogoogletools.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/negative-seo-bots/
Unleashing such “black hat” and unethical techniques to damage somebody’s ratings within search engines (like Google) is called Negative SEO. And that is worse than poor SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process through which you increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
Again, remember, the bot is not bad the person. But what someone who does not like you can do with it is, according to Jain’s article (please read it for full in-depth details):
- Scrapping. Basically, the bot crawls your site, lifts not just keywords but sections of contents to populate an entire new low-quality page. So? Search engines may think you are the copycat and lower your ranking. Ouch!
- Spamming. Are all those real people or are these responsive bots in your comments section and are there any viruses to be caught engaging with them?
- Hacking. Jain says it’s not just a site crashing. It also refers to bots dropping just enough malicious code into your site that search engines will go “whoa, no way, look out bad stuff here.” Less people will view your site.
So how do you battle these bots?
Full disclosure: You can hire someone like me, who has had training in digital aspects of the internet, specifically bots.
Or… you can try to do it yourself. If you want to try that route, I found this great article from the well-respected and always educational Moz.com: How to Prevent Hackers from Using Bad Bots to Exploit Your Website by Brian Hughes (CEO & Founder at Integrity Marketing & Consulting in Houston, TX)
Again, I suggest you read the full article, but among his responses are:
- To fight scrappers, use a duplicate-content detection service to see if any duplicate content comes up.
- Or, use trackbacks within your own content
- To prevent hacking, make modifications to your .htaccess file
You can access the full article here: https://moz.com/blog/how-to-prevent-hackers-from-using-bad-bots-to-exploit-your-website
As for exactly how and where you do all this, I suggest you read the article, a couple of times over. If you still don’t understand, go back to option #1 and hire me, or someone like me in your area.
My gut feeling is that bots are a powerful, positive addition to the digital landscape. More good can come of them than bad. But, my rose-colored glasses are on the kitchen table.
Brian opened his article with this statement: bots now make more visits than people do to most websites. If you know what to look for and are armed with the proper, effective cleansing devices, then bad bots will be just a momentary nuisance.