Influency and Statistical Analysis

Last week, a study from web-site protection firm Incapsula popped up, claiming that over 60% of all Internet traffic is now bot-driven. And while Incapsula’s findings sound way overblown, and Incapsula’s objectives are questionable, the idea is worth talking about as we sort through the many items that effect Influency.

The “right” way to measure traffic is not exactly a known.

Incapsula is in the traffic distribution business, so while I believe their estimates to be too high, I also acknowledge that Incapsula knows a thing or two about statistics. And actually, their numbers aren’t that high; Incapsula attributes half of that 61% bot traffic claim to search engines:

Incapsula Bot Traffic Report 2013

We believe the correct searchbot number to be in the low 20% range, so comparing Incapsula’s breakdown to our own anecdotal research on the matter still suggests that the total number for bots is north of 40%. That’s a tremendous amount of traffic being consumed by non-people.

Or, as I’ve pointed out quite a few times, statistics lie.

We once received a comment calling me out for that statement: it isn’t statistics that lie; the people who report statistics and twist them to say whatever works for them have truthfulness issues. Fair enough, and just as Incapsula has an agenda in creating and reporting statistics, we have one here. If we want you to hire us to help build your Influency we need to first get you thinking about the agenda you’re trying to put forward.

WordPress running 20% of all web sites is impressive, but the ramifications of that statistic are more important than the statistic itself. For us, it means that if we want to help our clients achieve Influency we’d better understand a lot about the underpinnings of the world’s dominant Content Management System. For you, on the other hand, it means that whether you hire us to handle your Influency or try to manage Influency on your own, you have a strong incentive to practice that Influency using WordPress.

Optimization matters. Why? Because Google can’t count. And there are lots of ways and lots of tools for creating Influency, but they come and go. Oh: and as lots of people and bots come to your web site, you need to understand how they got there.

So sure: having statistics at your disposal helps. But actually understanding what those statistics mean helps a lot more.

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