Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.81.71.68

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Google ZOMBIE Traffic Observations

     
1:39 pm on Oct 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts:1223
votes: 304


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]

9:35 am on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 3, 2015
posts:291
votes: 125


^ exactly. Many of my rankings fluctuated (apart from one huge dip recently) 1-2 spots as usual... but the conversions were non existent. Last night I made some sales which would be day time for US - lets see if it holds over the next few days or if I get zombied again.
10:35 am on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 15, 2015
posts:117
votes: 43


Hey guys my site these couple past few months hasnt changed rankings that much but im seeing non converting dead zombie traffic too.
11:03 am on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 28, 2015
posts: 273
votes: 171


May I propose a possible explanation to what we're seeing.

We traditionally judge Google organic based on page position in serps. But this feels like Google is allocating a traffic quota to a site per day, rather than a set of serp positions. It's like the adwords/shopping model where you give a budget and tell Google to spread it evenly across the day. Except, with organic, Google decides your budget. Google will reduce your quota if, say, you get hit by Panda, hence Google saying that filters like Panda are site-wide (which confuses lots of people). Like with adwords/shopping, Google probably also allocates an overall quality score to your site. That affects the volume of good traffic vs bad traffic your site receives within your traffic quota. ('Bad' traffic is simply search queries that Google is unsure how to match, 'good' is where Google is confident the search result is a good match for the search query.) And, again, sites hit with Panda are likely to have a lower quality score and hence receive a lower percentage of quality traffic. In terms of how Google converts a site's traffic quota and quality score into its serp positions, that's not too difficult, but the serps will be completely dynamic from hour to hour as good and bad traffic are switched in and out within a site's traffic quota.

This would explain why traffic volume never changes but conversions do. Google is ensuring you get your daily traffic quota and within that quota you get no more than your allocated quality traffic.

Wdyt?
2:43 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 3, 2004
posts:317
votes: 34


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"


Now that is a stretch to what I actually said. I was trying to shed some light on this whole zombie thing with some explanation of what is going on.

As far as "normal geographic sources", Jacksonville FL, Jacksonville, NC and say Jacksonville, TX are all USA but no sales come if the wrong one is served up to your visitors.

Zombies do not strongly correlate with big updates.

I disagree, I can not say every update I see the geo filters getting messed, but it a strong signal we look for when ever we see the start of an update.

We run many dozens of websites and the only thing we see on any of them when these poor quality hits start coming in is the geo thing is messed. Now is it just the locations that get messed? Cant say 100% that it is the only thing, but for sure it is what we would say is the MAIN reason for the poor quality traffic.

The good new is that it appears to be slowing down, hopefully, if history prevails, it will be all done within the next couple of weeks.

Google also seems to have made a change to what "they like" to see on page as well so we have a ton of work to do to get all of our sites back in their "good books" once again. You can argue with our findings all you want, but just tweak your onpage to match what they "like" and add links... carry on, business as usual, nothing really groundbreaking again with this latest update.
4:27 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts:1223
votes: 304


In my vertical it looks like most of the changes going back as far as April 2nd have been related to personalization and especially localization, steering searches more toward brick and mortar services. Example: In the past I'd type in a query about "Apple Sauce" and I'd get products and recipes, but now I get local orchards and local restaurants who make apple pie. BTW - my vertical is NOT apples or apple sauce. It seems to be the case across the board in my limited tests.
4:45 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 26, 2013
posts:454
votes: 69


Kelowna, I can't recall any past update by Google where we were able to predict, yes predict, days of non-converting traffic over a period of months. The on and off again periods are so consistent that what Simon_H says about traffic quotas is much more plausible than Google testing something. I would however add that there appears to be a quality quota too.

After two days of halfway descent traffic (quantity and quality) from Google, today traffic is up and sales are way down. Another zombie day, which I anticipated and follows the same zombie traffic trends from Google I've been seeing for well over a month. Some sort of major update that can be pinpointed with such accuracy? I don't think so. Traffic quotas/throttling? Far more likely.
4:59 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:July 19, 2013
posts:113
votes: 35


@Simon H

Wouldn't this also produce a considerable and easy-to-spot reduction in user interaction (time on site/bounce/actions per session etc)? I see no way that a periodical decrease of traffic quality would not result in this. And as far as I'm reading no one is reporting any changes in user experience metrics, or did I miss something?
5:08 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2008
posts:1682
votes: 251


Now that is a stretch to what I actually said. I was trying to shed some light on this whole zombie thing with some explanation of what is going on.

Well, what you actually said was
We get a lot of unrelated traffic that doesn't convert... 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.
and
You guys are really trying to confuse the situation by not saying where the traffic is coming from

This reads a lot like
"I know what is happening, it is geofiltering, and you guys would notice this too if you looked at where it is coming from".
And then when you follow it up with "people on here... don't understand" I do not think it is an especially big stretch to my shorter paraphrasing.

I do not dispute Geo-filters (and a bunch of other quality filters) come off before and during an update. It's just that Zombies, as experienced by many, are not adequately explained by the this general churn. I mean, my site (ecom, UK, not small) can see when the international traffic spikes, and it is entirely different to the zombies we also see between updates.

For me, Zombies are related to the traffic shaping many people report - similar to the description of events offered by Simon_H.

Simon_H - I'm on board with your broad description, but what mechanism do you propose to facilitate this? Dynamic SERPs, sure, but why can no one see the ranking drop?
5:11 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 28, 2015
posts: 273
votes: 171


@mrengine Exactly the same here. Previous days good. Today not at all. I predict tomorrow (Wednesday) will be good as it has been like clockwork the last few weeks.

I agree with the quality quota - I mentioned that too. 'Good' and 'bad' traffic is switched in and out to match your quality quota. Switching seems to happen somewhere between twice per day to once every 2 days. Much like budgets on Google paid, if you end up using a little too much 'good' traffic on one day, you get less the day after.

This theory is obviously guesswork, but it seems to explain everything that people are seeing. It's not a conspiracy theory involving bots, it's just a possible realistic explanation. Google will always have queries that it can more confidently match than others, whether the difficulty is determining geographic intent or anything else. So 'bad' traffic isn't bots, it's just that proportion of search queries that Google isn't as sure what to do with. And it seems sensible to pass more of those to sites with a lower quality score/quota than sites with a high quality score/quota.
5:30 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 28, 2015
posts: 273
votes: 171


@hasek747 Yes, I agree - that's difficult to explain. I've mentioned that point several times too. My real struggle here is that if bad *real* traffic really does result in significantly different user metrics, then the *only* explanation for the metrics being the same is that this is not real traffic. It's fake. And if Google traffic volume is unchanged rather than the fake traffic being added on top, then the *only* explanation is that it's Google generating the fake traffic. Sorry, I can't believe that even if others can. The only explanation I can think of is that bad real traffic doesn't result in as different metrics as we may think. For example, if a customer can't find what they're looking for, they often spend more time on a site trying to find it than a customer that can quickly find it. So it ends up not so different from 'good' traffic.

@Shaddows The reason people can't see the ranking drop is because it's way more complex than monitoring a set of keywords. It may be the long tail keywords that are impacted (that certainly form a huge proportion of our traffic) or all of those new search queries that Google says people are coming up with daily. Or it may be location based, so if you're checking this yourself or using a tool, you'll get one set of rankings but if you try this from somewhere else, you'll get a different set.
5:44 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 26, 2013
posts:454
votes: 69


For me, Zombies are related to the traffic shaping many people report - similar to the description of events offered by Simon_H.

This is indeed something to keep in mind - that we all may have different definitions of zombies. For me, a bot is a bot and zombies are people who do nothing - single page views (no dwell), little time on a page and people who clearly are not interested in the products we sell. This kind of answers hasek747's question as it pertains to user interaction during zombie periods or should I say lack of user interaction.

On good days it is very clear that Google can match users to websites with great accuracy. The question is why is it that they do not want to do it all of them time? Having asked that question, I believe what Google is doing is by design and not the result of testing since it is so easy for many of us to predict. Traffic quotas, traffic shaping, etc. all fall under the umbrella of what has been discussed in this forum many times - intentional manipulation. Is this manipulation for good (spreading a limited pool of quality traffic to many different competing websites) or something no so good? I doubt we will ever find out, but the longer this zombie trend continues the more difficult it is for others to discount it as anything other than manipulation.
5:51 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 3, 2015
posts:291
votes: 125


All very interesting. I seem to be getting "okay" traffic as of today as well (yesterday was also good), so I will keep everyone posted on what happens. Meanwhile, some guy has tried to rip off my website and is currently getting blasted by hundreds of thousands of exact match fiverr links. .. I think we are in for an interesting month as we were promised a Penguin update as we come up to the end of this year.
6:07 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 28, 2015
posts: 273
votes: 171


@mrengine Totally agree. In terms of why Google do not want to match users to websites with great accuracy all the time, I think the answer is that they *do* want to. But the fact is that there will always be a high proportion of search queries that Google isn't confident about matching and it has to show the user *some* results for these. And if that happens to be your site, then that will consume a chunk of your traffic quota. If you mean why can't Google always pass *your* site the good traffic and leave the bad traffic to everyone else, well, I guess that comes down to your quality quota. You get some good stuff and other sites get some good stuff too. The better your site, the more you get.
8:01 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 6, 2005
posts:1858
votes: 106


Hi folks

The more we share.....the more we learn about Google Zombie Traffic.

I'm wondering. Shouldn't Google compensate AdWords customers for their losses due to Zombie traffic?


PS. Thank you @Leosghost . Correction "AdWords customers" :)

[edited by: reseller at 8:56 pm (utc) on Oct 13, 2015]

8:37 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from FR 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 15, 2004
posts:6773
votes: 259


AdWords publishers

?
9:34 pm on Oct 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 26, 2013
posts:454
votes: 69


In terms of why Google do not want to match users to websites with great accuracy all the time, I think the answer is that they *do* want to. But the fact is that there will always be a high proportion of search queries that Google isn't confident about matching and it has to show the user *some* results for these.

If this were the case, then there would be a baseline of sales coming from good traffic. On zombie days sales are next to none. In other words, there is no floor on zombie traffic - Google is in a repeated pattern of either sending good traffic or not, which should not be confused with a certain percentage of overflow traffic that Google can't target.
2:49 am on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 18, 2013
posts:118
votes: 37


If this were the case, then there would be a baseline of sales coming from good traffic. On zombie days sales are next to none. In other words, there is no floor on zombie traffic - Google is in a repeated pattern of either sending good traffic or not, which should not be confused with a certain percentage of overflow traffic that Google can't target.

In other words: Nothing to do with quality and everything to do with an Intentional manipulation of traffic and obstruction of trade. Sooner or later the real Google story will all be plastered over the news just like the Enron/Volkswagen mass fraud stories...

Cutts left because the pile of BS was getting too high...
6:03 am on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 6, 2005
posts:1858
votes: 106


Sooner or later the real Google story will all be plastered over the news just like the Enron/Volkswagen mass fraud stories...


Just wish to mention:
European commission announces antitrust charges against Google (April 2015) [theguardian.com...]
7:02 am on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 18, 2013
posts:118
votes: 37


^ problem is that these allegations are hard to prove in a court of law and Google know it. Its founders know it... most of what they are doing can not be framed as "illegal". Disgusting, questionable or filthy greedy maybe. But not illegal.

It is almost impossible to successfully prove search bias. Go and try to explain to the judge the zombie phenomena. Even we don't get it.

The only thing that can bring Google down is an insider blowing the whistle.
10:09 am on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 6, 2006
posts:1191
votes: 41


problem is that these allegations are hard to prove in a court of law and Google know it. Its founders know it... most of what they are doing can not be framed as "illegal". Disgusting, questionable or filthy greedy maybe. But not illegal.


Maybe not in the USA but much of what Google does is illegal here in Europe. It will go to litigation because Google has to do that, the changes that Europe will demand will go right to the heart of the way they do business.

However; to get back on topic; here in the UK I am seeing not only more brand bias but more brand domain crowding too. Many of the results are scarcely relevant with specialist sites being wiped out very efficiently. Link authority signals seem to have been strengthened.

Meanwhile I found myself unable to use Google yesterday whilst browsing with Chrome. A big popup arrived demanding that I accepted their privacy policy before proceeding. There was a link for 'other options' but nowhere could I find an option to refuse to accept their terms and I kept going back to the original demand. In the end I had to give up and use IE instead.
Most people will of course simply click the 'accept' button without having a clue just what it is they are agreeing to, which means that Google will be able to claim that visitors had really opted-in to having their privacy abused .

The more I see of this deviousness the more I look forward to their come-uppance.
3:58 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 6, 2005
posts:1858
votes: 106


Hi folks

Have yesterday and today been good conversions days?

Maybe the folks at Google are following our current thread and have decided to bless us with few bones in an attempt to stop us talking about Google Zombie Traffic. Who knows :)
4:05 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 3, 2015
posts:291
votes: 125


I suspected that too reseller. Unfortunately, a few drops of decent traffic isn't going to make up for almost a month worth of losses. Very angry at the way we're being treated as of late.
4:13 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 26, 2013
posts:454
votes: 69


Have yesterday and today been good conversions days?

Both have been terrible for me, but there is the second half of today left. I'm thinking Google will flip the switch late today or early tomorrow sometime.
4:18 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Oct 6, 2015
posts: 32
votes: 22


I've seen a possible slight uptick in traffic but almost no conversions since Saturday. The previous week 10/3 to 10/9 were on pace to beat monthly records. Now nothing, not even from AdWords. Facebook seems to out convert Google AND AdWords combined.

Also, my clients think I'm nuts about this whole thing so I've upped my game in goal analytics to show them Googleís ON/OFF button.

I think Iím going to skim for backlinks to be disavowed again, my hands are tied and Iíve stopped stressing about this whole thingÖ Itís to the point where I may even drop this site in question for my own sanity as Iím dumping in many more hours than Iím getting paid for.

This whole thing is like debugging code blind. Itís stabbing in the dark and itís absolutely ridiculous.
4:54 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Oct 6, 2015
posts: 32
votes: 22


Murphyís law, I get two conversions on said site, back-to-back directly after that last post.
4:55 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 26, 2013
posts:454
votes: 69


@wgchris

I would not waste much time in disavowing links because the regular zombie herds Google is sending can't be related to links/penguin. I've got very few backlinks but they are all natural and have been acquired over a long period of time. We have the onpage stuff nailed down pretty good too - no keyword stuffing, mobile friendly, SSL for whole site and more. Which means I don't think these zombies are related to panda either.
5:07 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 28, 2015
posts: 273
votes: 171


Guys, can you advise if the sites where you're seeing the on/off zombie traffic are hit by Panda and/or Penguin? I'll start: Yes to both.
5:10 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 3, 2015
posts:291
votes: 125


Yes to Penguin (note: Also suffered a huge drop in traffic a few weeks back)
5:41 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 26, 2013
posts:454
votes: 69


@Simon

Never harmed by penguins or pandas.
6:02 pm on Oct 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:July 19, 2013
posts:113
votes: 35


What about payment processing platforms (for processing sales transactions), what do you guys use?
This 580 message thread spans 20 pages: 580
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members