Google's John Mueller Addresses Zombie Traffic Phenomenon

Apr 18, 2016 • 8:02 am | comments (30) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Google Zombie Traffic

Last week we covered our continued coverage of the Google Zombie traffic only because there seemed to be a spike in the conversation around that topic in the past week or so. In short, Google Zombie traffic is the phenomenon of users sent by Google to your site have huge drops in the conversion rate that you'd historically see from those users.

So Simon asked the question in the Google Hangout this past Friday on Google+. At the 58:54 mark into the video. Here is the back and forth on that talk, where John really didn't say much but it is good to hear he is aware of it:

Simon: I actually the question which you currently avoided, which was about this thing that people talking about recently called Zombie traffic. A number of sites are experiencing, I think different people associate different things, some people call some things Zombie traffic and some people call other things Zombie traffic. But it's been talked about a lot recently. And I just was wondering if that kind of the symptoms seemed to roughly be that people are saying or some sites that included will see consistent daily traffic volume, so there's nothing remarkable to the daily traffic volume across all organic or paid or digital. But what appears to be happening is the traffic quality there is massively, there might be a sudden switch into poor traffic quality, which could be identified by some dropping conversions, whether that might be an e-commerce site, basket ads, or sign ups or whatever. And then suddenly it would switch back again.

And different people see this in different ways and it was more to try to understand it you might have any explanation of why this might be happening. If you think it's real? If it's a side effect of anything that might be happening at moment? If certain sites might be more susceptible to this kind of thing then other sites?

John Mueller: So this is traffic you're seeing from search or just traffic in general to the site?

Simon: It’s only from search.

John Mueller: I am not aware of anything specific that would cause anything like that to happen. So that the zombie traffic that i've seen talked about a lot recently is more the kind that's kind of an analytics. Where like random analytic spammers will hit the analytics code but not actually go to site.

But I'm not aware of what could be kind of causing the traffic to be lower quality from time to time. Seems kind of hard to track down. But I guess this is something where maybe if you have a specific site where you see this kind of changes you can send me a brief timeline of what your see then I could try to track down what specifically on our side is happening during those periods.

Simon: If I could describe it, feels as much as mismatched traffic. Like at certain points in time, there is a mismatch of traffic switching in and period afterwards it would switch out again…

John Mueller: But at least from my side, I’m not aware of anything that would like cause a site that would kind of jump between different kinds of rankings. But I don’t know. Maybe something quirky is happening that we need to take a look at on our side and maybe it is just kind of fluctuations as usual, as they can sometimes happen in search.

Watch the full video as transcribing this was particularly hard for me:

Here is the video embed:

Forum discussion at Google+.

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