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Strange rise in website organic Google traffic



10:11 am on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Something strange happened to my website starting few day ago (Monday).

My usual traffic jumped by roughly 50%. My initial thought was that someone is directly targeting my site. After looking at website statistic I conclude that rise in traffic comes from organic Google traffic ... nothing bad in that.

Yesterday things went bad ... at least from my perspective. Organic Google traffic is still high (50% more then usual) but some statistics are way off.

First my Visits/Unique Visitors ratio jumped from 1.1 to 1.3 - 1.4.

Second Pages / Visit fell from average 1.56 to 1.1

Third Avg. Visit Duration fell almost to 0 sec, it is 0:00:03 and it used to be several minutes.

Fourth Bounce Rate went from 73% to 86 % and New Visits went from 75 % to 55 %.

This change in statistic is affecting all my traffic, not only organic Google search results.

I have checked my server (VPS) and everything behaves just fine. Website loads fast. I have even tried to access it from several VPN's and still everything works just fine so it should not be related to website loading time.

Google webmaster tools didn't report any problems.

I would appreciate if someone can share their thought on the issue.


3:57 pm on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Have you looked at your server logs for anything unusual?


4:11 pm on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think many people are experiencing these types of bursts followed in a few days by an equally noticeable decline in traffic. If your traffic sticks, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.


4:15 pm on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

zombie traffic, I would look very hard for possible terms that your website made a jump in to bring in the extra bump.


7:51 pm on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Sounds quite a bit like a search engine web-preview or browser pre-caching -- Have you checked the UAs of visitors to see if there's a spike in one or a SE UA making requests? -- I know the new version of Safari pre-loads the "top-hit" from a search by default.


8:37 pm on Nov 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

This could definitely apply here: Bots as Browsers Using JavaScript [webmasterworld.com]


2:57 pm on Nov 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

It also sounds like an extreme version of something I've observed in the past when Google is sending mismatched traffic to your site in droves. I've only seen this once or twice, usually on new sites, as if Google is liking your site but not sure which users really should be sent to it. I assume it's a form of testing.

However, I never saw fluctuations on the scale you're seeing, so that might not be what's going on in your case.


5:06 pm on Nov 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It might also be something as simple as obscure phrases or names used as crossword puzzle clues. It happens with one of my sites quite often.


11:31 am on Nov 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

First thank you everyone.

I think this problem is related to my blog/server.

I tried moving google analytics javascript through my page. If I put it to the page bottom I start receiving completely different data.

My next step was to upgrade to google universal analytics. It works just fine as long as old google analytics javascript is also included. If I remove old javascript (original google analytics) new one (universal analytics) also starts to misbehave (it start to show detect much more page views).

I will try to dig deeper.

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