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Strange traffic - attempt to negatively influence rankings?

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3713886 posted 4:20 pm on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

In the last couple of weeks I've noticed on Google Analytics that I'm getting about two dozen visits per day coming through Google with the search term [online widgeting lessons] -- but on every occasion these visitors leave after spending 0:00 minutes on the site. Traffic that comes through the term [widgeting] alone tends to view several pages and stay for, on average, a few minutes.

The bouncing traffic started on July 13 with just four queries, but visits through that three-word term have been building steadily. All of these "visitors" come to the home page only.

The only thing I can think is that this bouncing traffic is someone's attempt to influence my site's rank in Google. Is that a likely explanation? Has anyone here else noticed anything similar?



WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3713886 posted 4:28 pm on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sounds like automated traffic of some kind. No telling what some of that traffic is all about. Might this be the kind of "pre-fetch" behavior we're discussing in another thread?

Site registers a hit each time it's in search results - even with no click [webmasterworld.com]

You could check for user-agent and IP address -- and also see whether that page request is followed by requests for related files, such as images, css, favicon, external javascript.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3713886 posted 5:39 pm on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the link to that discussion. I doubt if it's prefetch because until the sudden rise in that three-word phrase it would only crop up a couple of times a month, followed by a visit that might last for 5 to 15 minutes. Given that my site ranks number 1 for that term and is highly relevant, you'd expect at least some of the people generating a prefetch by Googling that term to visit the site and follow the link on the home page that's most relevant to that term.

Sadly I lack the tech-savvy to check the IP address and user agent. I use Google analytics and also have another stats package that my webhost offers. I wouldn't even know where to look to find the raw logs. But I'll ask my webshost and see what they can tell me.

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