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Websites Affected By Zombie Traffic - Observations & Analysis

     
9:52 pm on Jan 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I wish this thread to focus on latest observations and analysis of WebmasterWorld members who do believe that their website(s) are negatively affected by the so called Zombie Traffic.

A friendly remark: If you want to talk about PPC issues please head over to Google Adwords forum [webmasterworld.com...]
If you want to talk about Google business decisions please head over to the Google Business & Finance forum [webmasterworld.com...]
If you want to vent some frustration then head over to Foo [webmasterworld.com...]
1:53 am on Mar 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google bought spider.io three years ago, most likely to incorporate their anti click fraud technology into adwords. I'm not saying that anti click fraud technology does not suffer when Google gobbles these companies up, but there is nothing new here and certainly no smoking gun.
3:02 pm on Mar 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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z guys back since feb 25. 3-4 weeks back all great. real customers jumping from site to site (it was great feeling to see that), conversions. thought - finally! then suddenly on sat feb 25 all stopped; conversions flat, from current customers mainly
its very frustrating. since 2007 every year i got good amount of conversions during this period of time (feb - jun)
anyone gettng the same?
8:11 pm on Mar 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yeah,

Zombies are back coming on different hours now and different products as well, this all the change it happened after all disclosure on this forum
9:58 am on Mar 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For anyone sympathetic to the idea of traffic ceilings (as I am) - how many of you are ranking well despite what may be perceived as a weak link profile?

I'm particularly thinking of niche-y ecoms where pure natural links do not exist, or are very rare.
11:53 am on Mar 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For anyone sympathetic to the idea of traffic ceilings (as I am) - how many of you are ranking well despite what may be perceived as a weak link profile?

That would describe my site, and I also serve a narrow (small) segment of buyers being both B2B and B2C.

On another note my site was experiencing speed problems as of late, and I quickly moved to a new host where stable speed has returned. I will also make some incremental minor changes to the site with zombies in mind. We'll see if any of these changes make a difference. I know the latest Google update everyone is talking about has not changed the poor traffic quality I see coming from Google.
2:03 pm on Mar 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Shaddows

same here, ecom site with quality links ranks well but we cannot legitimize half of the site's users maybe we should do like amazon prompt a captcha on suspicious users
2:17 pm on Mar 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@mosxu that would be a good idea. It would stop the bots. It would also stop any user that is not really interested in your site. They would probably bounce when confronted with the captcha. The only downside is the risk that actual paying customer would run into the captcha at which point you may start losing legitimate users.
2:25 pm on Mar 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@nick
I agree there is no technology on the market yet to be able to accurately distinguish between bots and real humans
9:04 pm on Mar 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Run by more zombies than usual in the last two days, wonder if you guys have experienced same thing !

It looks like AI is passing the oxygen mask around and it does not understand the meaning of the word equal, no one expects a robot to have feelings but basic maths should distribute the productive traffic equally...
10:12 am on Mar 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For a few weeks I was doing fine. Conversions weren't back where they should be, but it was doing something. The last week or so, I've had nothing but zombies... funny how it coincides perfectly with Google taking a huge hit from major advertisers.
11:39 am on Mar 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@masterjoe

That is exactly my theory, if the big boys do not make money and do not spend the rest of us will see zombies
12:09 pm on Mar 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@moxsu. Another thing I've noticed is that after I added a very comprehensive FAQ to one of my pages, it now shows a "people also ask" box for one of my main search terms, except none of them link back to my site. They only link to the sources I provide. I spent almost a week curating resources and this is what I get.

All the "questions" in the box are answers that I provide on this specific page of content. Google is the biggest content thief on the planet.
12:48 pm on Mar 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@masterjoe

I feel your pain. You want someone to click onto the search result of your site and eventually make a sale that is main reason why you create useful content.
10:18 am on Apr 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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interesting
[seomike.com...]
10:15 pm on Apr 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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interesting

It's nice that a SEO blog has taken up the topic, but I think SEO Mike is wrong on so many levels that dissecting and disputing his statements would take quite a bit of time. But I'll chime in on some of his comments...

the only way RankBrain can actually learn is to make comparisons and send potentially bad traffic on PURPOSE. Thatís right; RankBrain sends zombies on PURPOSE. RankBrain is NOT the algorithmís core, itís a way of adding refinement by interpretation of the results returned by the core (the core: Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin, EMD, Payday, etc.), and trying to deliver better results. RankBrain will continue to get better as time goes by, the number of zombie visits it sends will decrease (never to zero), and the quality of traffic you receive will be better than it ever could be without RankBrain.

That's a bold statement to make and it needed to be backed up by with something. I've had zombie traffic from Google since September 2015 and it has not improved. I wonder how many years SEO Mike thinks it will take for RankBrain to learn and give me better quality traffic than I ever could without RankBrain? Also, zombie traffic affects organic and paid traffic, yet SEO Mike made not mention of how RankBrain is able to do that.

If your site is getting a lot of zombie traffic itís probably because your messaging is very unclear or very bad. Itís highly likely that RankBrain is using your site as an example of a site that a user does NOT want to visit.

Let's see, messaging is unclear for an ecommerce site.... Full SSL, account login, cart page, checkout page, tracking page, etc. Product pages have SKUs, UPC, pricing, schema, images, add to cart button, etc.

Then SEO Mike goes on to give us advice about making sure our content is unique, which for some may apply. My content is 100% unique and the products I sell are patented/patent pending by my company - meaning our products are just as unique as our content. SEO Mike also says to build strong links, which implies we should go blackhat.

I thank SEO Mike for giving some of his time to the issue of zombies, but it's clear his concepts of zombies and remedies are based not on actual data but pure speculation. I refuse to build websites for a search engine as my focus has and will always be on users. I manufacture products and not links to help overcome problems in Google Search. If RankBrain is too stupid to figure out it is sending crap traffic to a website after a year and a half, maybe someone should pull the plug on it.

Thanks for pointing out the blog post ionguy. Though SEO Mike's post is almost a year old, I think he should update it and remove some of the many assumptions he made.
5:44 am on Apr 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Zombies have been around since Chrome, if Rankbrain sends so called "users" who do not want to be on your site than they will bounce and will bounce FAST, zombies do not bounce.

Seo Mike needs to start with some AB tests on users to learn a bit more before he starts educating others
1:15 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following message was cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4777180.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 12:50 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (PDT -8)


Kicking this topic again to report that Zombies, having been almost a non event in the past few months have returned on Easter weekend with a vengeance. The "yeah, that's because it's Easter" line does not hold water. Previous years show Easter weekends just as or more active than non Easter weekends, Something substantial has kicked in....again. Seeing common reports all over the place.


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:10 pm (utc) on Apr 17, 2017]
[edit reason] Closed old Zombie Traffic thread - moved this post to new discussion [/edit]

9:11 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Mod's note: We're closing the old zombie thread, which has gotten almost too large to manage, and has gotten superseded by this one.

Here's a link to the last page of the old thread... and to some comments I made regarding discussion around the end of January 2017 and into February on that thread, which I thought worth noting so it doesn't get lost. It has some numbers and precise observation about zombies and traffic shaping, about discriminating between bot traffic and human visitors, etc...

"ZOMBIE TRAFFIC" Separating fact from fiction & emotion
Nov 2015 - April 2017
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4777180-14-30.htm [webmasterworld.com]

8:35 am on Apr 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed that since the launch of Fred Update (March 8th 2107) there hasn't been much talk about Zombie Traffic. Should that be understood as there has been a reduction in Zombie Traffic as a result of Fred Update?
10:34 am on Apr 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Should that be understood as there has been a reduction in Zombie Traffic as a result of Fred Update?

I still have the same level of zombies as before Fred, but far less interest in Google overall.
12:50 pm on May 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In the first two days of May, zombies virtually disappeared, but then returned in full force on the 3rd. Just like the old updates, there seems to be a surge in buyers on ecomms right before a new sort (or update, who knows?)...not that they sort anymore as it's all done dynamically....or is it? This felt like the old days of pre-re-indexing or pre-algo-update release. Nothing natural about this. It's now back to the FUBAR "normal" state.
3:42 pm on May 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Tire kickers at an all time high. I couldn't give away gold bars with this traffic. We occasionally get sudden windows of multiple sales within minutes of each other, then days of nothing. Lovely.
8:08 am on May 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Seeing the same here. Same traffic numbers, no conversions. I may get one or 2, but they will be for minimal transactions -- another thing that we all noticed during these ridiculous periods of crap traffic.
6:56 am on May 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed two WebmasterWorld members have posted today on the thread of "Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2017" that the Zombies are back [webmasterworld.com...]

Any body else who have noticed the return of the Zombies :)
7:50 am on May 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There's a new thread for May: [webmasterworld.com...]
9:01 pm on May 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Kickin the zombie thread again because they are back worse than ever....now down to DAYS of zero conversions on actually HIGHER traffic levels. Been pretty much this way since May 11th post with occasional days of lucid traffic and conversions. No stability whatsoever. How about you?
9:23 pm on May 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

z guys have definitely recharged during this update and came back stronger, we need to speak with these zombies I think...
1:01 pm on May 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@mosxu - believe me, I've tried...used live chat, pop up surveys, single click call to action techniques, but in true zombie fashion, they just won't respond. Figured these are mobile users, so focused on how to get a mobile user to respond...nothing seems to work. Gotta be bots that show up as live users...any other explanations?

One notable thing about mobile users is that they can visit your site, then rather than leave, they open another browser window or app, leaving that page open. So how does GA treat that situation? A closed window should be an immediate bounce, but it appears it just sits there until the window is closed or some timeout occurs. That likely explain a percentage of zombies, but not all.
8:44 pm on May 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I figured with such low background noise, now would be a great time to examine PPC traffic, so I re-enabled my Adwords account (it's been many months) to see if I get any "live ones" and how they behave on site. Sure enough, as I'm monitoring traffic from CPC sources, they behave in a normal manner, traversing multiple pages and even one conversion today. Organic traffic continues to exhibit zombie like behavior...except for small "leaks" in the system that allow an occasional "human" through (and of course my return customers who behave "naturally"). This simple test gives a little more weight to the overall zombie theory.

Another interesting thing is that most of my low bid PPC results are on page two or three, yet I'm getting proportionally more traffic from those than my page 1, above the fold results. That is very odd and concerning. What is blocking that well positioned organic traffic?
10:00 pm on May 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sam,

Yes there is a reason why zombies do not respond but if you get their profiles somehow...
This 171 message thread spans 6 pages: 171