February 15

Battle of the Bots – An Overview of Different Facets of Bots


In the digital and virtual world of communication, search has been the most important functionality for any user. As web surfers we are constantly looking up for information on topics, places, people, and business and effectively everything that comes to our mind! What is unknown to us is the backend functionality of this entire search.

Many years ago, while the internet boom, users had heard about the ‘world wide web’. Today the term is more often replaced by the use of various bots in the internet browsing world. It is commonly mentioned that the technicians’ talk of your site’s robots.txt file to be in place, as that plays the integral role of searching all over the internet feed.

To understand more simply, this terminology refers to a kind of crawler, web crawler that navigates through the entire World Wide Web, meaning the URL of the website. Its simple work is to start indexing everything about the URL, its web content, its hyperlinks and site html code. The searched or visited links are sort of registered or indexed as a downloadable data so users can search more efficiently. This helps the visibility of your information for constructive purpose. These are none other than internet bots that facilitate your browsing.

However, the bots are of many kind and different purpose. It’s best to give the work to a technician to understand the difference and identify a good bot from a bad bot.  This exercise helps you to protect information from misuse. This article is to simply overview the different facets of bots and become aware as user.

Good bots act as crawlers that are released from big web to index content for their search engines or search social media platforms. In other words they are good spiders that will visit information on internet, validate its relevance and register it in their navigation map. This is how they store a list of web links they visit and travel through other websites. As part of Search Engine Optimization work, the back end search preparation acts like a trigger for these bots to register everything from meta tag, title tag, comments tag, attribute tag, core tag and content etc. This is registered in the bot and depending on the search engine, it would imply the standards to confirm the relevance of the page.

An important point to note is that a good bot is ultimately going to add value to your information search. It will propagate the information through correct channels. While a bad bot can pull the value down and can lead into misuse of information, such as Cyber Crime, Hacking and Fraud etc.

Different bots have been released by various search engines, which leads them in becoming a huge repository itself. Some of them directly navigate through other search links and show it as their search results. Let us compare a few in the hindsight.

Google bot is Google’s patent web crawling bot. It works by spreading its crawler or spider to the site it visits to register all links, information we discussed above. This helps it to work in an algorithmic manner storing which sites to crawl, frequency of crawl, how many pages to fetch on search etc. As it begins search, it adds information from previous crawl from sitemap. This is updated with all new additions to the existing site, dead links, and removal. Finally it is updated to search master with updated index.

There are some more such as google feedfetcher, facebook external hit, MSN bot and Apple bot amongst many.

Applebot is the web crawler for Apple, which is used by products like Siri and Spotlight suggestions. Siri is their patent ‘intelligent assistant’ that uses voice to search different apps. Apple is an expert in both hardware and software but in the world of search tools, apple has ventured through its own Applebot.

On any Apple device like a desktop iMac or iPhone, the results of search come through spotlight feature on the device and through spotlight suggestions when you browse through web. In Apple’s case, both Siri and Spotlight use a third-party search engine. Microsoft Bing was the search engine behind all results from web on Siri. It is noted that all feeds that come in Siri and Spotlight is provided by use of Applebot. While search if the Applebot is not assisted with robots.txt which is meant for apple crawler, Applebot, and then it follows the google bot instructions to navigate and search.

As Google is established with all the parameters that are recognized well in the search, the navigation done by following google bots makes it easier for other bots to navigate before they get screened by search web. It is also noted that most searches that are made on apple devices are getting stored in Siri, as a directory. It is comparative to the ‘Google my Business’. The fact that Apple is able to give quick search results through its Apple Maps Connect is of concern too. Any website that is visited through Apple device is registered on Apple Maps Connect; that was created in 2014. As the data is stored on this, it fetches all web information (may be critical details of websites that are searched) such as address, contact etc and gradually the operating method that has evolved is that users can browse everything through Apple Maps Connect and the search is no more based through Google or other search engine.

The limitation in Applebot is that all the search results are directives of the result based on other search engines. Many results on Applebot are similar to Google. So Siri’s integration in Apple devices makes it the default browser and as results are crawlers going on Google, but getting stored in an Apple directory, could be a possible concern for many. Therefore for users this could be an area they should assess with their SEO partners too, to decide whether they would like to be listed in Apple Maps searches and therefore claim for your Apple Maps Connect listing.

As far as the strategy of Apple, which is yet not a player in the search engine, is neither disclosed nor clear. It appears Siri could be working in the direction of becoming the largest database of search engine and replace google or the objective of Apple is to create enhanced user experience through its innovative technologies. Hence as users the concern of claiming the Apple Maps connect listing is important if you are concerned about NAP consistency.

author avatar
Sonu Kumar Pandey
Sonu Pandey is an internet marketing strategist and digital marketing enthusiast. He has a passion for digital marketing and likes to coach people on how they can use it in their business. He has always believed that the best way to achieve success was through hard work, which he puts into his professional life as well as his personal life. His favorite hobbies are reading books, watching movies, listening to podcasts and taking long walks with his friends.


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