So I was going to wait for later to write this but I wanted to try and put the collective brains of the internet to work on trying to figure out what the heck is going on. In terms of traffic, ZoKnowsGaming does pretty well on average and when we write really unique post or reviews we can generate even larger amounts of traffic. If you ask any site owner they will tell you that they love when days like that happen because not only does it mean that folks like what you are putting out, it probably also means you are making a decent amount of money if your site is monetized. But when that traffic starts to appear out of the ordinary, almost every site owner starts to worry.
The issue started on February 21st, our site traffic went from its normal range to almost three times that. On February 22nd, our site traffic jumped to almost 4 times it normal range and today is on pace to beat yesterday. Now normally this would be great, but there’s a problem. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Google Analytics, it’s a tracking tool that let’s site owners monitor and track who’s coming to their site and what they are looking at. You can see where your users are from, what browser they are using and tons of other great info. It’s good for us because we can see what you like and give you more of it while optimizing for the ways most users like to consume content. In terms of traffic, it can come from a lot of places, but for most sites the majority of their traffic is from what is known as “referrer” traffic or search engines. You already know how search engine traffic works and referrer traffic is when another sites “leads” the user to your site from their site. Major referrers are sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit and the like. When you get a big bump from these sites it’s normally very easy to identify where the traffic is coming from and therefore you are not alarmed.
In this case, all this “direct” traffic is going straight to the homepage and nowhere else. I have been searching all over the Internet for answers and have surprisingly found very little info about it. It seems that several people are or have experienced the issue in the last few months, but I have yet to find anyone with a specific reason for what is happening. I have combed through tons of logs and used every method that I can think of and there is nothing that sticks out about it like an IP address or particular area that shows up too much or a bot.it just doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to support that. I thought this could be some kind of new bot network, but Lots of people would be like that’s not a problem but trust me when you own a site its very important to know where your site’s traffic is coming from. If anyone has figured out what is going on and can share I would love to know and I’m sure there are tons of others that would like to know too. Any insights would be helpful. Here is a link to the Google forums where folks have been discussing this issue for a few years.
Note: We didn’t make any changes to anything, this just started out of the blue.