Is Zombie Traffic Just Mis-Matched Traffic?

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For what feels like half a year or more, zombie traffic has been plaguing all sorts of websites. A recent thread on WebmasterWorld has users wondering if the zombies are just a new name for an old phenomenon - traffic that is improperly matched to websites outside of its location.

Zombie traffic, if you don't know what that means, is a name for traffic that doesn't convert or do anything positive for a website. Zombie visitors shuffle through a website, visit a few pages, and then leave. For eCommerce websites in particular, this presents a problem because they don't convert. But fast bouncing zombies can bring the bounce rate up on any page of any site - and that has a lot of people upset.

User sqimul lives in Bangladesh. Sqimul shares an experience in the above WMW thread where, when searching for something, he was repeatedly directed to Indian websites. It didn't matter if he searched google.com or google.com.bd (the Bangladesh version of Google). Google always showed sites that were useless to sqimul. So, the idea is that this is what zombies are. Google shows users some websites that cannot possibly satisfy their query - but, from a quick glance, it looks like they might be able to. A visitor goes in, looks around, suddenly realizes they've been bamboozled, and leaves.

"The mis-matching can happen in various ways," writes user aristotle, "such as geographic mis-matches as [sqimul] describe[s], or just poor irrelevant search results in general. I suspect that most websites get a large amount of mis-matched traffic everyday, but it coudl be worse...on some days due to algorithmic testing, or perhaps the switching in and out of different versions of an algorithm."

User Simon_H was able to ask John Mueller about zombie traffic in a recent webmaster hangout. "He's asked for mroe information so I've emailed him and will let you know what he comes back with. He's on leave at the moment. It's probably best to wait for JM to reply properly before commenting," Simon_H writes.

So if you're interested in hearing an answer right from the source, this would be the thread to bookmark.