The Impact of Invalid Traffic on SEO and Search Engine Rankings

As we know, search engine optimization (SEO) is a key factor in driving organic or paid traffic to a website. It is also the essential driving piece that helps our website to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Overall SEO involves a variety of techniques, such as keyword research, link building, and content creation, that help websites rank higher in SERPs.

However, SEO can be affected by many factors, in particular invalid traffic, also known as ad fraud, click fraud, and IVT (invalid traffic). Invalid traffic is an issue that impacts the performance of marketing campaigns and influences search engine rankings. It is important to understand the impact of invalid traffic on SEO and search engine rankings in order to combat it.

What Is Invalid Traffic?

Invalid traffic (IVT) is a type of fraud that occurs when bots, scripts, or malware generate fake web traffic. It is also known as ad fraud, click fraud, and SIVT (sophisticated invalid traffic). Read more here about IVT and SIVT.

It can also lead to inflated advertising costs, as advertisers are charged for the fraudulent clicks and impressions.

Impact of Invalid Traffic on SEO

Invalid traffic has a negative impact on SEO. Although Google for example won’t necessarily directly penalize your websites for having too much invalid traffic organically it can lead to a decrease in website performance, as resources are being wasted on invalid traffic. It can also lead to the following problems

  1. Bot traffic can impact organic rankings through fake traffic to a website from bots or other low-quality sources. This type of traffic can negatively impact a website's organic search rankings, as search engines may view it as ‘spammy’ or low-quality. In addition, if bots are crawling a website and using up server resources, this can negatively impact site speed, which can also impact organic search rankings.
  2. Ad fraud can also result in low-quality links pointing to a website, which can hurt SEO. For example, if fraudulent links are created on low-quality or spammy websites, this can signal to search engines that the site being linked to is also low-quality or spammy. This can result in a decline in organic search rankings.
  3. Ad fraud can also negatively impact the user experience on a website, which can indirectly impact organic search rankings. For example, if a user clicks on a fraudulent ad and is directed to a site with low-quality content or a poor user experience, they may quickly leave the site. This can increase bounce rates and signal to search engines that the site is not providing a good user experience, which can lead to lower search rankings.

In regards to Paid traffic (PPC) Google can penalize your Ad Sense account for example for having too much invalid traffic such as bots, accidental clicks etc.

(one example of why Google can close your Ad Sense account)

Overall your paid traffic, can be affected in three big ways:

  1. Wasted Ad Spend: When there's ad fraud in paid campaigns, it can really hurt your wallet. You might end up paying for fake clicks or impressions that come from bots instead of real people who could actually become your customers. So basically, you're not getting your money's worth and that's not cool.
  2. Decreased ad performance: Ad fraud can also mess with the performance of your ads. It can be hard to figure out what's actually working and what's not when you're getting fake clicks or impressions. It's like trying to hit a bullseye with a blindfold on.
  3. Damaged brand reputation: And if the above two points weren't bad enough, ad fraud can also make your brand look bad. If people are seeing a bunch of sketchy ads with your brand name on them, it's not going to leave a good impression. They might start to think you're not legit and that's definitely not the vibe you want to give off.

How to Combat Invalid Traffic

In order to combat invalid traffic, it is important to implement fraud detection and monitoring solutions like Spider AF’s Ad Fraud solution. This will allow businesses to detect and block fraudulent traffic before it affects their website’s performance and search engine rankings.

In addition, businesses should use tools such as Google Analytics to track their website’s performance, conversion rates, visitor behavior, and campaign performance to identify any suspicious activity. 


Invalid traffic (IVT) has a negative impact on SEO and search engine rankings. It can lead to a decrease in organic search traffic, loss of revenue for PPC ad campaigns, as well as a decrease in website performance and customer engagement. In order to combat invalid traffic, businesses should implement fraud detection and monitoring solutions, use SEO best practices, and use fraud prevention tools.

Get Rid of Ad Fraud: Start Using Spider AF Today!

Get a taste of our premium features for 14 days or get started right away with our Free Plan.

Ad Fraud
Organic search