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Scrape Bots Vs. Search Bots: Fighting the Battle

Google and other search engines use bots, spiders, and crawlers to visit websites, download pages, and extract links that can be used to discover additional pages. Search engines crawl web pages periodically to make sure their information is always up to date. When a search engine detects changes to a page since it was crawled the last time, it updates the indexed page.

Scrape bots, on the other hand, extract data from websites. Unlike crawlers that indicate their true purpose, scraper bots often try to trick websites by pretending to be web browsers. Sometimes, scraper bots may take advanced actions such as automatically filling out forms to access a certain website section.

Scrapers usually ignore robots.txt, a file that contains information specifically designed to tell a crawler which sections of a website are off-limits. A scraper is designed to pull specific content and may ignore these instructions.

Web scraping poses a serious threat to websites. Information extracted from a website through scrape bots can be used to influence sales, website conversion rate, and the website’s SEO score.

Here are some tips to prevent scraping from WSI Smart Marketing, a marketing company in Santa Rosa.

Monitor Your Logs and Traffic Patterns

Allow users to perform a limited number of actions at a certain time. If you detect unusual activity such as multiple requests from a specific ID address, block users that you believe are performing suspicious actions. If you do not want to block access, use a Captcha to make it more difficult for scrape bots to navigate your site.

Block Access From Cloud hosting

Sometimes scrapers utilize web hosting services to perform web scraping. To prevent a scraper from using web hosting services to extract data from your website, limit access for requests originating from the IP addresses used by web hosting services and proxy or VPN providers.

Think twice before taking this step as limiting or blocking access will likely affect your website’s user experience.

Use Captchas

Captchas are one of the most effective ways to prevent web scraping. Use captchas only if you are sure that a scraper is trying to perform web scraping. Here are some guidelines for using captchas.

  • Use Google’s reCaptcha instead of implementing your captcha as captchas by reCaptcha are harder to solve than a simple image served from a website
  • A scraper can hire a captcha-solving service that utilizes actual humans to solve captchas in bulk. reCaptcha provides limited time to users to solve captchas, thereby helping reduce this risk
  • Make sure solutions to captchas are not included in markups


Looking for a reliable marketing company near you in Santa Rosa? Look no further than WSI Smart Marketing. Our team will create a customized strategy to supercharge your website. To make an appointment, call (707) 843-3714.


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