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Does Google Analytics Count Bots as Visitors?

December 14, 2011

Hi Jill,
Photo Credit: Sean McMenemy
If I am looking at Google Analytics and it says we received, say, 15 unique visitors on a particular day, does that mean real live people or does that also include Google bots?


++Jill's Response++

Hi Rebecca,

One of the many great things about Google Analytics is that it does NOT include bots. So you can rest assured that the visitors you're seeing are, in fact, real visitors. (This is different from many other stats programs that do show bots as visitors.)


Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings,Jill Whalen an SEO Services company in the Boston, MA area since 1995. Follow her on Twitter @JillWhalen

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Post Comment

 David Radovanovic said:
Jill, Don't some bots do squeak through and therefore are counted as human visitors? What distinguishes a bot from a human visitor especially if they mask/spoof their legitimate identity? Not a challenge but a clarification. Thanks for your valuable input.
 Jill Whalen said:
@David, I suppose they could. I've not really seen evidence of it, but would be interested in learning more if you have some resources that have discussed this.
 Pete Howe said:
Certainly this can happen. The only things Google can go on in order to exclude bots are:

1. The User Agent string (which identifies the browser type.) This is easily spoofed by bots - and often is in order to ensure the site behaves as it would for a real user.

2. IP address. This is less likely to be spoofed but it would be a very complex / flawed thing for google to exclude certain IP addresses from GA stats as IP addresses can be shared by multiple computers - so excluding a known bot might also exclude real people.

Analytics is thus an inexact science.