Huge increase in direct traffic to our site in the last four days with a high bounce rate

Discussion in 'SEO, PPC and Online Marketing' started by simonswords, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. simonswords

    simonswords UKBF Ace Full Member

    Posts: 1,118 Likes: 35
    We've got some healthy competition around the terms we're trying to rank for, so I'm concerned one of our competitors is doing something to impact our rankings. Before I put my tinfoil hat on...I 'd like a sanity check please!

    A few days ago we shot up to number 3 on google.com for "hr software". Previously we were hovering around 30th for that term. At the same time traffic to our site tripled. I did 2 + 2 and got 4, thinking that we'd been awarded with higher serps by our google overlords, and this explained the traffic.

    The next day our ranking for that keyword went back to normal but the traffic kept flowing in...

    Fast forward four days to today, our rankings for all keywords have dropped across the board but the traffic is still rolling in. On further investigation 82.5% of this traffic is from IE 7.0 and of that traffic 99.73% bounced! It feels to me like we've got some kind of bot (all the visits are from different IP addresses) hitting our site, and leaving immediately, as this would explain the fact that all visits register as IE 7.0 and have almost 100% bounce rate.

    Has anybody seen this before? Happy to share any other stats and Google Analytics info if it helps solve this mystery!
    Posted: Jul 11, 2014 By: simonswords Member since: Jan 7, 2007
    #1
  2. wearewattle

    wearewattle UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 145 Likes: 38
    Are the visits all from Google? Have you looked at the referring sources? If it is from Google look at a site called ahrefs and see if any new inbound links have been created that might have caused the jump.
    Posted: Jul 11, 2014 By: wearewattle Member since: Jun 1, 2014
    #2
  3. simonswords

    simonswords UKBF Ace Full Member

    Posts: 1,118 Likes: 35
    Hey @wearewattle the visits are registering as direct traffic, or in other words, not searches or referred from another website.
    Posted: Jul 11, 2014 By: simonswords Member since: Jan 7, 2007
    #3
  4. wearewattle

    wearewattle UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 145 Likes: 38
    "direct" traffic can still be a referral, google is getting worse on this front - check ahrefs for recent inbound links - it can also be as a result of a link within an email, what country is the traffic from?
    Posted: Jul 11, 2014 By: wearewattle Member since: Jun 1, 2014
    #4
  5. directmarketingadvice

    directmarketingadvice UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 10,790 Likes: 3,452
    Do you have a wordpress site?
    Posted: Jul 12, 2014 By: directmarketingadvice Member since: Aug 2, 2005
    #5
  6. simonswords

    simonswords UKBF Ace Full Member

    Posts: 1,118 Likes: 35
    All of the traffic is IE 7.0, on various operating systems, and showing as coming from the US but different networks/IPs in the US.
    Posted: Jul 12, 2014 By: simonswords Member since: Jan 7, 2007
    #6
  7. simonswords

    simonswords UKBF Ace Full Member

    Posts: 1,118 Likes: 35
    Our blog is wordpress (www.staffsquared.com/blog) and the marketing site is static.
    Posted: Jul 12, 2014 By: simonswords Member since: Jan 7, 2007
    #7
  8. Bill1954

    Bill1954 UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 406 Likes: 57
    We are experiencing the same thing. I first noticed on Google analytics that there seemed to be a lot of USA visitors on the site. My web dev checked the Woopra account and it shows the same thing, massive direct traffic from the states, hitting the home page and bouncing straight off again.
    Will this high bounce rate affect our rankings ?
    Our site is built on Magento
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: Bill1954 Member since: May 24, 2010
    #8
  9. simonswords

    simonswords UKBF Ace Full Member

    Posts: 1,118 Likes: 35
    Are all of your hits showing as Internet Explorer 7.0 too? If so you've got exactly the same issue as we're experiencing.

    I've spent a bit of time on this, and here's my understanding to date:
    • Google use hundreds (potentially thousands) of factors to rank a site, bounce rate may be one of them, but definitely isn't the be all and end all
    • For wordpress there's a plugin called Brute Force (Not sure if there's a Magento equivilent)
    • I ran the IP addresses of the hits we're getting through NMAP. The common port that was open was 49152 on 27 different machines. That was it. muTorrent uses that port so again... this leads me to think that the owners installed something and clicked too many buttons and installed something.
    Check to make sure your Google webmaster tools aren't showing any errors or problems. Also check to make sure your site still performs well on a speed test because that is a serious ranking factor.

    Ultimately this thing is more annoying than troublesome, and nothing to write home about.
    his type of stuff happens all the time. Nothing to write home about.
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: simonswords Member since: Jan 7, 2007
    #9
  10. ZeroDouble

    ZeroDouble UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 157 Likes: 47
    If the traffic is bouncing back to the SERPs then it could actually be more of a serious problem than you think, as such a metric can (supposedly) trigger a panda penalty.

    Is there no way that you cant just block their IP ranges in .htaccess?

    Also, the anchor text ratios of your IBLs are way over-optimised for the main term that you're targeting - you should probably look at doing something about that? :)
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: ZeroDouble Member since: Oct 4, 2013
    #10
  11. simonswords

    simonswords UKBF Ace Full Member

    Posts: 1,118 Likes: 35
    The traffic is generated by malware that people have inadvertently installed on their machines (think IE toolbars and the like). As a result there's no one range, the traffic is from all over the US.

    What makes you say that about our IBLs?
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: simonswords Member since: Jan 7, 2007
    #11
  12. ZeroDouble

    ZeroDouble UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 157 Likes: 47
    Fair enough, probably impossible to block them using .htaccess then - was just an idea.

    I mentioned your IBLs because you've got an extremely high percentage of them with your main term as an anchor.
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: ZeroDouble Member since: Oct 4, 2013
    #12
  13. simonswords

    simonswords UKBF Ace Full Member

    Posts: 1,118 Likes: 35
    All ideas gratefully received! As it stands, I'm currently in the process of hunting down the network that's behind this traffic Liam Neeson style. When I found out who it is, they'll feel some wrath :)
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: simonswords Member since: Jan 7, 2007
    #13
  14. simonswords

    simonswords UKBF Ace Full Member

    Posts: 1,118 Likes: 35
    It is definitely automated visits...that much we do know. The IPs are from various network service providers all over the US. The only common denominator about the visitors is that they all bounce, and they all purport to use IE 7.
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: simonswords Member since: Jan 7, 2007
    #14
  15. ZeroDouble

    ZeroDouble UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 157 Likes: 47
    lol, fair enough mate - happy hunting!

    As a parting gift - it also might be an idea if you included your main keyword in the first paragraph of your page (at the moment it doesn't appear once in your entire body copy).

    Anyway, good luck.
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: ZeroDouble Member since: Oct 4, 2013
    #15
  16. simonswords

    simonswords UKBF Ace Full Member

    Posts: 1,118 Likes: 35
    Thanks :) I'll check that out. We also need to sort out our Text/HTML ratio on the home page as it's currently too low so I'll combine your feedback with that change
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: simonswords Member since: Jan 7, 2007
    #16
  17. Bill1954

    Bill1954 UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 406 Likes: 57
    It almost looks like some kind of botnet but I just don't see why someone in the US would target a small Uk bathroom company
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: Bill1954 Member since: May 24, 2010
    #17
  18. altonroot

    altonroot UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 83 Likes: 5
    Hey, bounce rate is not a ranking factor as Matt Cutts has said is so many times. So don't worry on that part. There is simple reason behind the logic is if someone is looking to find birthday of David Beckham, he/she doesn't look any page if they got on result page itself. And that doesn't prove it the website is bad.
    You are getting many direct or referral visits. This has happened to me. After analysis of back-links in webmaster I found that there is problem from server side. By mistake of technical issue, few websites resides on the same server 302 redirecting to my website. So those who are looking for those website accidentally falling on my website. So bounce rate increase is also justifiable. This has happened to me. You can check for the same.
    Posted: Jul 17, 2014 By: altonroot Member since: Feb 26, 2014
    #18
  19. vandenhoek

    vandenhoek UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 2 Likes: 0
    Thank you for this topic! I have been searching for hours to find out what is going on with my website and you seemed to have described it exactly as it is happeing to me.

    Huge amount of traffic from different ip-addresses with no referral what so ever and a 100% bounce rate.

    Submitted a ticket with Google Adwords/Analytics, but they could not find anything yet.

    If anyone knows what to do I would be very much obliged.

    Regards and have a great day!
    Posted: Jul 22, 2014 By: vandenhoek Member since: Jul 22, 2014
    #19
  20. Bill1954

    Bill1954 UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 406 Likes: 57
    Hmm, while this was happening this morning I checked the IP's of online customers in Magento. Strangely enough, while GA has them being in the states, Magento was giving them all an IP address in the Netherlands, in fact it was the IP of our hosting company. This is getting weird but a quick Google told me that there are hundreds of sites experiencing the same thing
    Posted: Jul 22, 2014 By: Bill1954 Member since: May 24, 2010
    #20