How to Vet Traffic Quality: A Guide for Marketers

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If you are a marketing professional, you know the responsibility for getting quality traffic that converts to qualified leads and sales sits squarely on your shoulders. With effective content production and advertising in place, traffic volume is rarely an issue. It’s traffic quality that’s constantly a cause for concern for smart digital marketers. So, how do you know the eyeballs you’re generating are legitimate leads? How can you ensure your volume has a fair shot at converting? How do you determine that your numbers aren’t inflated due to bots and software?

This blog provides telltale signs of poor traffic and tips for auditing your traffic quality to ensure there are real people behind the numbers (and the keyboard) who can ultimately impact your ROI.

Why Traffic Quality Is Crucial

Before you begin vetting traffic, it is important to fully understand why quality is king. Paying for traffic is common practice on the web, but there’s plenty of suspicious traffic solutions out there designed to drive numbers without real users to back it up. In fact, in 2016 more than 50% of web traffic was bot traffic. While not all bot traffic is considered low-quality, the prevalence of bots is concerning. If traffic being pumped to your site is not of the highest quality, it can be detrimental to your business.

It’s critical you audit your traffic sources regularly. While there are innovative tools out there that can make this process a breeze, it’s also important to take a proactive approach to the many metrics and indicators of traffic quality. Revenue, lead generation, sustainability and audience data are all directly impacted by the quality of your traffic. So, are you keen on quality? Let’s dive deeper as you start asking yourself, “What percentage of my traffic is actually real?”

Common Indicators of Low-Quality Traffic

Now that you understand that traffic quality and bottom line go hand in hand, it’s time for a crash course on the signs of poor traffic. The following are common indicators of low-quality traffic, helping you immediately identify problematic sources.

  • Low Conversion Rates: A drastic decrease in conversions (or ROI) is a major red flag worth investigating. Keep in mind, fake traffic sources, such as bots, can’t convert.
  • Minimal Engagement: Low-quality traffic is not going to engage with your page. If site engagement takes a nosedive, traffic quality may be to blame.
  • High Bounce Rate: Bots are built to do the bare minimum. If you have a strong content strategy, yet traffic is bailing after a single page view, do your due diligence.
  • Geographic Location: Look to Google Analytics to identify traffic without a city / region defined and visitors coming from obscure locations. These likely aren’t real people.  
  • Duplicate Content: Bad bots have the ability to steal your content and recreate it elsewhere. If you find your content duplicated without attribution, investigate your sources. This is particularly concerning as it will drastically impact SEO.
  • Low Session Duration: As mentioned previously, poor traffic sources do the bare minimum, which means time on site is an afterthought.
  • Inconsistent Reporting: If your reports yield wild inconsistencies, consider auditing your traffic sources. Sporadic bot behavior can have a major impact on metrics.

Tips & Tools For Vetting Traffic Quality

While completely eliminating low-quality traffic may not be feasible, identifying and decreasing low-quality sources is a must.

Start by ensuring all antivirus software and security tools are up to date. Whether this means updating plugins or upgrading versions, the juice is worth the squeeze as this minimal time commitment is the foundation for a protected website. With security in place, keep a watchful eye on the data. Analyze your analytics frequently using the indicators mentioned above. Navigating Google Analytics with custom dashboards is the simplest way to start this process. Additionally, try adding heatmaps to your pages to catch odd behavior early on. If you believe your site is infested with low-quality traffic, consider traffic-evaluating tools, such as DataDome, that provide detailed reports on suspicious traffic.

Remember, traffic quality has an impact on everything from ROI to audience insights. Use the aforementioned tips and tools to identify traffic-related issues and win the war against low-quality traffic.

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