* increase in Guest traffic better explained :
1.When a site joins the motorcycle.com network, a few things happen that help those sites grow really fast. First, we introduce new SEO
terms to the site in the title, headers, welcome messages, homepage posts, etc. These are designed to try and get as many guests looking for content, to find our site.
2. We add the site to our list of links on other related sites. The more sites you have that are similar in content (our motorcycle network as a whole), the more value Google gives to those sites.
3.It is very common when we bring a site on, to see 2-3x more guest visitors (and, as such, an increase in registrations, an increase in spammer attempts, etc) as we suddenly put the 'site on the map', so to speak.
- 'ghost users'
* To the question about 'ghost users' for ads or clicks, we do not, ever, create "ghost" accounts or break any of the Adsense or other network rules. The ad networks are very strict, and monitor all publishers like us very closely. We don't ever even click our own ads, we have tools from those networks to do the troubleshooting we need without even clicking on them. For both ad networks and for vendors, we have to be always truthful with what we serve, the number of people clicking, and it does us no good to have "fake users" clicking.
* Another reason you may notice a difference in the number of guests and members is we always raise the session timeout of users from the previous owner's values. Most sites have very low (15 minute) timeouts, which we find creates a lot of tickets and complaints about logouts. We generally lift that to several hours, which does cause vBulletin and similar software to report higher guest counts, as those guests are considered to be on for longer. If the timeout is 15 minutes, then that guest is seen for 15 minutes - if we raise it to an hour, that guest is on the site for an hour. That's probably part of what you're seeing with higher guest counts.
* The objective with a higher session timeout is, you've logged in, we have your session, if you step away for 30 minutes and come back to your screen, we want to reduce the number of times you login — weighed against making sure that nobody else can access your account.
Hope this clarifies.