frankleeceo - 12:44 am on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)
It's something that I have been thinking lately about the idea behind Zombie Traffic or traffic that converts.
One thing that I have noticed is that Google does keep track of personalized search or personalized profile for each of its users. Based on that personalized profile, Google provides different search results. Based on the website content, linguistics, and link profile, and user history / association. Each website attracts specific type of users. Because of this, this may explain why different niche sites under same owner often exhibit similar behaviors.(May be because of wording, coding, or design layout).
It seems like that websites are categorized and associated with different data sets (or user bases). For example, two different sites are categorized as
Site A: Good for 18 year old who loves cars
Site B: Good for 20~30 year olds who loves cars
Site A and Site B sell similar items or have information about - cars
If based on content, analysis and what not, somehow if your site gets thrown into the Site A. Your site gets increasingly associated strongly with the certain user / age groups (more links from social sites frequented by 18 year olds). Or linguistic comment / content profile that fits a 18 year old. You may end up with tons of page views and 0 conversion. Because 18 year olds have less money to spend but more time to "surf"?, they end up just "browsing" and never buying. Where as if your site gets bucketed with 20~30, you will in turn get more sales.
However, it is to my understanding that Google continuously throws different user bases or tests into individual websites as control and testing groups, to test their behaviors on certain sites. That could be the result of certain period resulting in higher sales because of user base turn "on or off". This means that Site A may still get 20~30 year olds that convert occasionally, and Site B will sometimes receive test 18 year olds that do not convert. I think the thought is that if a site sucks for certain user bases, the "suitable" visitors will do the work for Google and help them comb through the SERP. Such as Site A a 18 year old focused site will put off 20 year olds, and Site B will put off 18 year olds.
@TheMadScientist idea that our real human visitors do act in a sales cycle in the "real world". We can definitely conclude why we see odd patterns of traffic and conversion turning on and off without much of a logic. We lack the data of when and how Google is directing specific visitor sets to our websites.
Maybe, "Zombies" are simply human beings that do not have the money, but somehow Google thinks "Zombie" traffic is what your website is worthy of (or suitable for the better word). This thought makes sense when combined with Google's coded message "make your site based on your users". It really means, make a website for users with money who will buy. If you do not, Google will throw your site with the less important user affinity.
With this in mind, traffic shaping and throttling makes sense as well. The total search volume from specific user group is limited. And when you break out of one user group and advance into the next, you may see very little change in your overall traffic. Or you can actually lose traffic, but gain additional conversion rate. Throttling exist, not in a conspiracy theory, but maybe a by product of Google's main purpose in serving the right content to specific user groups.