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Google ZOMBIE Traffic Observations

     
1:39 pm on Oct 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Mods Note: Split out of the October 2015 Monthly Observation thread into a separate Zombie Traffic Thread
---------------------------------
Sunday morning, usually banging away, but nothing but slow moving Zombie traffic, one or two at a time and sitting on the same pages for several minutes. Switch is currently OFF.
Still in decline. No sign of any seasonal upswing, which is way overdue.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 7:08 pm (utc) on Oct 19, 2015]

1:02 am on Oct 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle Thanks for the advice. But if it's not Google, how would they know to go directly to 28 of our highest clicked products within Google Shopping? We have 10,000 products in total and no obvious way to know which get the clicks. And GA reports that the product pages were the direct landing pages, i.e. the bot went directly to those pages individually without any site navigation and so must have known the URLs beforehand.
1:12 am on Oct 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Simon_H -- I would bet anything that this is a rogue bot using a Google proxy.

If you want a more detailed discussion, you should take this matter over to the Search Engine Spider and User Agent Identification [webmasterworld.com ]
There are some real experts there who can help you sort it out.
7:43 am on Oct 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle Cheers. Will check out the other WebmasterWorld thread.
10:31 am on Oct 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just saying that a lot of hacking attempts and rogue bots come from the Google Cloud which is NOT the IP range of Google at Mountain View (but it's very similar). I thought it was nice of Google to try to do funky stuff to my site with their sites from their Google Cloud until I noticed all those nice weird URLs the bot was trying were hacking attempts.

Google Cloud is NOT the IP range of Googlebot. Just adding this to those of you reporting the Googlebot doing funny things like adding products to the shopping cart.

Also and I will repeat this again, there are people out there with bots clicking on listed sites thinking CTR from organic results is a ranking factor. There are several big scammers selling these products. There are also services with farms of people in Bangladesh clicking on SERPs and using US and European proxies. Zombie traffic? More like people clicking on your site randomly to try to bring another site higher in the SERPs.
9:27 pm on Oct 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi folks

I have the impression that there wasn't much Zombie traffic during yesterday 7th October and today 8th October. Am I right? :)
11:02 pm on Oct 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@reseller Yes, spot on. Today and yesterday were very good days for conversions. Both organic and paid.
1:38 am on Oct 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@reseller I'll throw some data in:

organic conversion rate (google)

10/1: 11.19%
10/2: 10.16
10/3: 31.28%
10/4: 19.01%
10/5: 10.72%
10/6: 20.05%
10/7: 21.07%
10/8: 20.05%

for what it's worth.
1:49 am on Oct 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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For comparison, Bing organic conversion rate:

10/1: 9.63%
10/2: 10.18%
10/3: 9.87%
10/4: 10.00%
10/5: 9.67%
10/6: 9.86%
10/7: 9.79%
10/8: 9.90%
7:05 am on Oct 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Interesting - since 29th of Sept my average organic conversion rate is stuck in the range of 3.5% to 4.1% regardless of traffic volume. It's like someone ticked on the flat conversion percentage checkpoint on our websites.
5:39 pm on Oct 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Rather than wait for others to say whether Friday is zombie or non-zombie day, I'll go first this time... Wednesday = very good, Thursday = very good, Friday = zombie day. But, like many of us are saying, no discernible differences in traffic volume.
8:59 pm on Oct 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi folks

Maybe we should consider creating a Google Zombie tool

Any of WebmasterWorld member is interested in developing a tool for tracking the daily Google Zombie traffic. A Zombie-metric should be developed in such a way, the higher the Zombie-metric the lower is conversions. I'm thinking of something similar to MozCast and Algoroo.

The benefit of such Google Zombie tool is mainly to allow people to plan their AdWords campaigns in such manner to spend more on high Zombie-metric days and less on low Zombie-metric days.

Any feedback?

[edited by: reseller at 9:06 pm (utc) on Oct 9, 2015]

9:05 pm on Oct 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Simon H - I had a similarly "odd" surge the other day, all to one non existent image. All of a sudden I got 30 hits for that image all direct and all from different IP's. No love, no nothing all week except for record lows and Google Adwords vouchers in the mail. I'm using them for toilet paper since I can't afford to buy it anymore...meanwhile at the Googleplex, your afternoon snack of lobster bisque and Dom Perignon champagne is ready.

Question: Is ANYONE experiencing a seasonal upswing? Many verticals typically see an upswing this time of year, but it appears G (or some other mechanism) is eating the increase as it happens. My stats and sales have been dead flat lined since April 2nd 2015....and ever so slowly dropping.

@reseller...a noble effort, but IMHO it's just an exercise in chasing your tail.
9:17 pm on Oct 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@samwest 30 direct hits on a non-existant image? Did you do a 'host' or 'whois' on the IPs?
2:12 pm on Oct 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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^ yes, and all IP's were unique and from diverse and "clean" sources. Almost as if someone spammed a message with the bad image link...it DID exist several years ago, but has since been moved. However, even a spam message wouldn't produce 30 "instant" direct links to that image. Very, very weird traffic.
3:00 pm on Oct 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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+1 on a Google Zombie Traffic Tool

It never fails that when zombie traffic from Google organics arrives, the same low quality (possibly non-human) traffic applies to Adwords too. I'd love to have a tool that gives me a gauge when to pause all Adwords campaigns. Looking at the rate of zombie traffic I am seeing from Google, I should be pausing Adwords campaigns for four days a week. Having a tool to identify these trends would save me a lot of money.

Google has been sending zombies yesterday (Friday) and today so far. Adwords paused until I see a different trend in organics...
5:36 pm on Oct 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Love the idea of a Google Zombie Traffic Tool in principle. But "Zombaroocast" would require access to everyone's Google Analytics as it's conversion rate, not traffic, that would determine the zombie factor. That would involve using the API where anyone who signs up would have to give permission for a master account to access their analytics and do some set up on their end. That's not too difficult (we do this already) but it may limit the number of people signing up.
5:54 pm on Oct 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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^ Come on guys, while yes having that tool would be of great value, actually having a WORKING tool that could accurately calculate the ON / OFF periods is virtually impossible, and it it were, Google would surely waste no time in making it so. To expect that anyone can exactly predict these outages is being rather naive, as much as thinking you can outguess a slot machine. They change it randomly every few days/weeks.

Example: A few weeks ago I'd get a sale or two around the 7:30 am CST time frame....every day, sometimes even "two bangers" or two in a row, separated by only 5 minutes or less. The next week it moves to early afternoon, sometimes it moves to late night, but regularly repeats for several days before changing again. It's completely random.

If this pattern holds for this week, I'm expecting a sale within the next hours or so...they've all been at around 1 or 2 pm this week. One in the chute right now in fact. I wouldn't place money on any guesses though. It's just one, big, casino.

Sadly, in the past, on natural traffic, it was as reliable as Big Ben.
1:07 am on Oct 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Come on guys, while yes having that tool would be of great value, actually having a WORKING tool that could accurately calculate the ON / OFF periods is virtually impossible, and it it were, Google would surely waste no time in making it so.

Even without a tool, what a day of Google traffic will produce in conversions may be easily determined in the morning. For example, of all the traffic Google sent today, 50% was from outside the USA where my business is located. We don't ship to the majority of the countries Google sent to our website today. Our Adwords spend doubles on Google zombie traffic days and conversions are normally few to none. That's why for me anyway, it is important to determine when Google is sending bad traffic. It's one thing to pay nothing and get nothing in return as is the case in organic search. But when zombie traffic causes Adwords spending to double, with far less conversions than normal (or none), it's even more pressing. It's as if Google is doing this to empty my wallet but will turn on relevant traffic again in 2-3 days to give me hope that I will see stability in sales. I see no stability in organics or Adwords, and I am seeing a negative ROI with Adwords when crunching data over a week.

Those in Adwords should closely monitor their conversions and traffic quality. If you see an influx of foreign and irrelevant traffic like I do, you may want to pause your spending until organics shows signs of a return to relevant traffic. This normally happens in 2-3 days for me. Granted this requires a lot of traffic data monitoring, but if you spend a lot on Adwords then pausing campaigns daily as needed can save you a lot of money.
3:24 pm on Oct 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@glakes

Reagrding Google Zombie Traffic Tool

Thanks for very informative feedback. Highly appreciated.

Our Adwords spend doubles on Google zombie traffic days and conversions are normally few to none.
.....
Those in Adwords should closely monitor their conversions and traffic quality. If you see an influx of foreign and irrelevant traffic like I do, you may want to pause your spending until organics shows signs of a return to relevant traffic. This normally happens in 2-3 days for me. Granted this requires a lot of traffic data monitoring, but if you spend a lot on Adwords then pausing campaigns daily as needed can save you a lot of money.

Agree. AdWords publishers worldwide can save millions of $ that way!
7:38 pm on Oct 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi folks

Would you call following days as Google Zombie traffic days:

- Friday 9th Oct.
- Saturday 10th Oct.
- Sunday 11th Oct.
3:28 pm on Oct 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi folks

Do you think today Monday 12th Oct. is a Google Zombie Traffic day :)
3:32 pm on Oct 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hey All,

Sorry for the lack of response. I'm sure my clients sites are small fry compared to yours but had great conversions until Friday, noonish, October 9, then nothing since. So @reseller, I would say yes, we are still in zombieland. Nowhere near as hilarious as the movie.
3:37 pm on Oct 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Guys, are you suggesting that the serp shuffling is (1) happening on a user-by-user basis in response to repeated searches by an individual, or (2) happening at a global level where *anyone* searching for these terms at a specific time will see them in a revised position?

And are you suggesting it's happening in direct response to users running searches or that Google is just playing around with serps anyway?
4:29 pm on Oct 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@reseller

Yesterday and today look good for me. Google is getting it right for two days in a row (so far).
8:49 pm on Oct 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Re: zombie traffic

You guys are really trying to confuse the situation by not saying where the traffic is coming from.

We get a lot of unrelated traffic that doesn't convert just like many others. The difference is we don't call it some odd ball name because it is clear what google is doing. During "most" updates google turns something off while rolling it out that sends us traffic from the wrong countries or whatever. When this happens someone from say a location in the UK gets sent to a location that is similar from say Canada. A good example would be a visitor from London in the UK being served our page from London Ontario Canada. We get a lot of these and they never convert as we don't sell or service them. I am sure it is the location services being updated that causes traffic levels to remain but conversions to drop.

It is not a phantom zombie, just googles way of rolling out updates that has been this way for a couple years at least.
9:17 pm on Oct 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It is not a phantom zombie


It better not be! That thing sounds scary.
9:58 pm on Oct 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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scary and confusing. people on here like to dream up new names for things that they don't understand
1:28 am on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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^ i stopped calling it names some 3 years ago. I now simply call it what it is, intentional Google rank/placement sabotage

Lets face it folks, even a half brain would get it by now... which part of "they are screwing the web over" we didn't get?
7:11 am on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Godzilla? Take a look at my Werewolf-zombie-vampire-accountant , or just call it Google.
9:02 am on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Kelowna
We get a lot of unrelated traffic that doesn't convert just like many others
Agreed, that's the broad description

sends us traffic from the wrong countries or whatever.
Sure, turning off geo-filters can be part of it. Certainly there are frequent, loud, complaints were that people are getting foreign traffic (and conversely, foreign [read: US] sites are showing up in local searches). However, some of us get non-interacting traffic from within normal geographic sources. It looks a lot more like poor matching of query intention. Fair enough if you don't see this (YMMV) but it's a bit of a leap to say
"I see only this, therefore you see only this too, no other explanation is required"

It is not a phantom zombie, just googles way of rolling out updates that has been this way for a couple years at least
Zombies do not strongly correlate with big updates. You could argue that it happens with small updates, but since small updates are more-or-less daily, that is akin to saying there are no geo-filters ever, which is clearly nonsense.

people on here like to dream up new names for things that they don't understand
Yes. That is how things get names. You notice something that has not been identified, then you can choose make do with a description forever, or give it a name for shorthand.

@goodoldweb
intentional Google rank/placement sabotage

Got any smoking guns there? Cos not a lot of people have actually noticed loss of ranking when the zombies come. That is what makes it so hard to identify, or to convince the non-believers.
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