Hi Brankica Wow, this is a super-comprehensive list for me to go through one by one and try those I have not even heard of till now :-) As always, some very useful information for those of us serious about our traffic generation and making an impact in our niche. Thanks for sharing your own experiences and I'll let you know how I go when I have implemented some of your suggestions. Patricia Perth Australia
The moral of this story is that everything is contextual. And this applies to everyday happenings and to your online marketing, traffic sources, and conversion rates as well. It happens that what looks like an opportunity to be actually a setback and vice-versa. We all make changes within our sites with the purpose of having tons of traffic. We are in a continuous race for inbound links, domain authority, technical SEO, diagnosing traffic drops, search volume, keyword research and we forget to take a few steps back and see how all of these influence our overall site’s performance. We’ve documented the ranking drop issue in an earlier post as well and you can take a look at it as well to better understand this phenomenon.
If you’re building your website from scratch, create your own templates for new pages and important elements so you don’t have to keep typing out the same code. Also make sure you’re familiar with dynamic web pages so you can edit elements like your website’s header in one place instead of having to make the same changes manually across every page.
Lee Wilson is head of enterprise SEO at Vertical Leap and has been leading digital marketing teams since the early 2000’s. He has headed up the SEO department for a top 10 leading search and digital agency (Vertical Leap) from 2010 to present. In 2016, he had his first solely authored industry book published (Tactical SEO – the theory and practice of search marketing).

Fantastic post Tom! There's a lot of confusion on direct traffic to begin with. These are even more finer nuances that you have explained. I have a client whose top source of traffic is direct, and part of it is maybe due to the fact that they don't do any promotion, and it's mostly shared around internally within their team. But I just noticed that their URL is http and not https so this might be something for me to take back to the team. Thanks!


One of the things that makes social media a bit more attractive than search engine optimization is that you get to maintain a bit more control over your success. You can always find new ways of improving your strategy and you can learn from your mistakes and your wins so that you can improve your traffic in the future. The same can't really be said about SEO - although it's very clear what not to do, it's not always as clear exactly what strategies can help you improve your ranking.
The other way visitors can access your website is by coming from other websites; in this instance, the user lands on your website after following a link from another site. The link that the user clicked on is referred to as a “backlink,” as it links back to your website. This traffic is much more beneficial to the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website as opposed to direct traffic, which has little to no effect. The reason is that Google and other search engines interpret backlinks as little doses of credibility for your website. If other credible websites are linking to your site, that must mean it is comprised of relevant and accurate content, which is exactly what search engines want.

I don't generally think of my own list as a traffic source, because those are people that subscribed and keep coming back, mostly because of good content. This is more tutorial about where to get fresh traffic from in case a person is not using some of these sources already. Where have you guest posted, I haven't seen any, would like to read some of those :)
Organic is what people are looking for; the rest of these simply put things in front of people who may or may not be seeking what you offer. We know that approximately X number of people are looking for Y every day. So if we can get on front of those people, we have a much greater opportunity to create long-term relationships and increase our overall ROI.
We want to see landing pages that came from organic searches, so first we need to add to this dataset the parameter “Medium” which is how Analytics identifies channels. To do this, use the drop down above the table of data and locate the option for “Medium”. The table below should refresh and now you will have a second column of data showing the channel for each landing page.
Great article! SEM Rush's new ranking study of 600,000 search queries showed a positive correlation between direct traffic and top rankings. They indicated that Google prioritizes domains with authority and consequently more direct traffic when ranking websites in its search results. See their study here: https://www.semrush.com/ranking-factors/. So, direct traffic can be viewed as a positive ranking correlation.
You know, a lot of blog posts promise to show you how to grow your blog and bring traffic in. And then they go and copy/paste a bunch of other bloggers, change two or three words, and then publish. Then wonder why no-one read, commented or shared. Somehow I don't think you'll have this problem, Brankica - this is one of the most solid pieces on traffic generation around. Great stuff, miss, and something every blogger can take something away from.
The Featured Snippet section appearing inside the first page of Google is an incredibly important section to have your content placed within. I did a study of over 5,000 keywords where HubSpot.com ranked on page 1 and there was a Featured Snippet being displayed. What I found was that when HubSpot.com was ranking in the Featured Snippet, the average click-through rate to the website increased by over 114%.
I would also advise to continue doing what works. If something you have rolled out generates great traffic and links bring out a new version of the content, for example the 2012 version worked effectively bring out the 2013 version of the content. Another effective strategy is to make the piece of content into an evergreen article which you add to over time so it is always up to date.
Are you currently excluding all known bots and spiders in Google Analytics? If not, you may be experiencing inflated traffic metrics and not even know it. Typically, bots enter through the home page and cascade down throughout your site navigation, mimicking real user behavior. One telltale sign of bot traffic is a highly trafficked page with a high bounce rate, low conversions and a low average time on page.
Another point which you did mention (between the lines: "and updating your backlinks to point to HTTPS URLs") but I actually didn't realize enough is that updating backlinks when your site switches from http to https is very important. Redirecting all http traffic to the https version of your site from the server (301) is necessary, but doesn't solve losing referral data. Only updating backlinks, especially those on httpS-sites, does. I'd like to emphasize that!
Brankica, aloha. Yet another great article. With the in-depth info and resources you have been giving us, I don't know how you have time for anything else. This is another one that will live on my computer. You mention several words/places that I have not seen before. Look forward to exploring. Off to tweet. Will be working on a 51 for you. Take good care, my friend. Aloha. Janet

The main tip about using answer sites is not to link to your blog every time you answer a question. Especially if the post is not closely related to the question. Answer some questions for the sake of answering them. You will always have links in your bio/profile, so if you answer a question like a rock star (without a link),  some traffic will come from people checking out your profile.

Google measures average time on site by first collecting each visitor’s exact time on a particular page. Imagine that a visitor lands on page 1 of your site. Google places a cookie, including a unique code for the visitor and a time stamp. When that visitor clicks through to page 2 of your site, Google again notes the time, and then subtracts the time that the visitor arrived at page 2 from the time that the visitor arrived at page 1. Google then averages each and every page’s time spent to get the average time each visitor spends on the site.
Brankica, Very comprehensive list there. Can't think of anything else :D RT! I think the traffic sources that I hardly use is answering questions. I find that traffic conversion there is poor for me, so I don't focus too much on it. I think of all those in the list, focus on those that gives you the best kind of traffic. Forums can be a particularly useful one especially when people are there asking for help. Answering their questions and giving them a link that benefits their query is one good way of getting the right kind of traffic.

So, you have downloaded your links profiles on a CSV and you now have an extensive list of all your linked domains. If you have been doing SEO for 8+ years like me you can probably just know from analysis which links are bad from a TLD and URL point of view. If you do not know too much you can use tools such as Link Detox: http://www.linkdetox.com/ to complete analysis of your link profile. I would always consult the advice of an expert SEO in this instance because it is easy for these tools to mistake good and bad links.

Lol, start from the middle :) Yeah, Squidoo is doing great and I know they are cleaning out all the time when they see a lousy lens. They have angels over there that report stuff like that (I am an angel myself on Squidoo :) And it is even not that hard to make money over there which I always suggest to beginners that don't have money to invest in blogs and sites.
Google claims their users click (organic) search results more often than ads, essentially rebutting the research cited above. A 2012 Google study found that 81% of ad impressions and 66% of ad clicks happen when there is no associated organic search result on the first page.[2] Research has shown that searchers may have a bias against ads, unless the ads are relevant to the searcher's need or intent [3]
If you’re building your website from scratch, create your own templates for new pages and important elements so you don’t have to keep typing out the same code. Also make sure you’re familiar with dynamic web pages so you can edit elements like your website’s header in one place instead of having to make the same changes manually across every page.
However, this may not be the case for your company or your clients. You may start by looking at keyword rankings, and realize that you’re no longer ranking on the first page for ten of your core keywords. If that’s the case, you quickly discovered your issue, and your game plan should be investing in your core pages to help get them ranking again for these core keywords.
Organic is what people are looking for; the rest of these simply put things in front of people who may or may not be seeking what you offer. We know that approximately X number of people are looking for Y every day. So if we can get on front of those people, we have a much greater opportunity to create long-term relationships and increase our overall ROI.
A great way to break your web traffic without even noticing is through robots.txt. Indeed, the robots.txt file has long been debated among webmasters and it can be a strong tool when it is well written. Yet, the same robots.txt can really be a tool you can shoot yourself in the foot with. We’ve written an in-depth article on the critical mistakes that can ruin your traffic in another post. 

Brankica, aloha. Yet another great article. With the in-depth info and resources you have been giving us, I don't know how you have time for anything else. This is another one that will live on my computer. You mention several words/places that I have not seen before. Look forward to exploring. Off to tweet. Will be working on a 51 for you. Take good care, my friend. Aloha. Janet

I have that problem :) I read all day long sometimes, just to realize at 1 AM that I am supposed to post at 7 AM ( I try to keep the posting schedule) and I have nothing written! Do your blog posts first, if you can write a few in advance that is great, cause that way you can schedule them and feel more relaxed, not being under pressure. Then check out one of these recommended sites. With for example Yahoo answers, you can spend 10-15 minutes every day and answer 3 questions in that time. Out of those 3 one can have a link. Not too much effort but can bring nice results!


It’s content like this that forms the foundation of effective content marketing: a crucial component in modern day integrated marketing campaigns that cohesively drive marketing results. It’s so vital, in fact, that some 22% of those surveyed at Smart Insights said that content marketing would be the digital marketing activity with the greatest commercial impact in 2016.
Traffic data is a great way to take the temperature of your website and marketing initiatives. When you are writing and promoting blog content on a regular basis, you can use traffic data to track results and correlate these efforts to actual ROI. Be sure to look at traffic numbers over long-term intervals to see trends and report on improvement over time.  
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