Now, there's one more little group that might fall into direct traffic -- it's something you might have heard about as "Dark Social" if you've been staying up to date on, well, dark social as a referral source. Basically, dark social is what some people are calling the social site traffic that most analytics programs can't capture since it lacks referral data, but is coming from things like emails and instant messengers (which, technically, are social mechanisms). Often, this unidentifiable traffic -- anything without a referring URL -- is also bucketed into direct traffic. Now, as BuzzFeed so eloquently puts it, "all 'dark social' traffic is direct traffic, but not all direct traffic is dark social."
In the example below, Google’s organic results generated the most site traffic for the time period shown, but had a bounce rate that was greater than the site average. By contrast direct traffic generated fewer visits, but had a lower than average bounce rate. A page from another website, generated 5,946 visits but had a bounce rate 22.62 percent less than the site average.
So, how can we minimize the amount of dark social traffic which is bucketed under direct? The unfortunate truth is that there is no magic bullet: proper attribution of dark social requires rigorous campaign tracking. The optimal approach will vary greatly based on your industry, audience, proposition, and so on. For many websites, however, a good first step is to provide convenient and properly configured sharing buttons for private platforms like email, WhatsApp, and Slack, thereby ensuring that users share URLs appended with UTM parameters (or vanity/shortened URLs which redirect to the same). This will go some way towards shining a light on part of your dark social traffic.
Organic Search is visitors who reach you by Googling or using another search engine which Google recognizes as a real search engine — mostly Bing and its second string, Yahoo. People using other search engines like DuckDuckGo or sites which are now commonly used as search engines but which have other purposes, like Pinterest, will show up in Referral traffic and in the case of Pinterest, in Social. If you have a good, well-optimized website, Organic Search will usually be your most frequent source. At our lab site, we do nothing to encourage other sources, so Organic Search is absolutely the top.
Before developing this subject further, indulge me to remind you that according to Google a robots.txt file is a file at the root of your site that indicates those parts of your site you don’t want accessed by search engine crawlers. And although there is plenty of documentation on this subject, there are still many ways you can suffer an organic search traffic drop. Below we are going to list two common yet critical mistakes when it comes to robots.txt.
In other words, businesses have much less visibility into which keywords searchers are using to find them, making it much harder to understand which words and terms are or working -- or not working -- in their search engine optimization. Google said this would only affect about 11% of searches, but the truth of the matter is the number is much greater than that, and is only continuing to increase as Google's user base grows. It's important to keep this curveball in mind when evaluating organic search as a traffic and lead generation source.
This section is particularly helpful when looking at organic results from search engines, since it will let you know which search queries resulted in engaged traffic. Below is another example from a site that focuses on electronic components. Overall, the Google organic source was well behind the site average, but some specific search queries were actually performing better than average.
IMDB: This site is #1 when it comes to movies and TV shows. Getting a link from IMDB can be worth a ton of value, but they don’t link out to just anyone. However, that’s not reliable or even plausible for most people. Instead, you need to turn to the one location you’re free to post; the IMDB forums. These forums have a huge audience and narrow topics, and like Reddit or web forums in general, they can be great places to show your expertise, link to your content, and promote deals.
The amount of e-commerce platforms and online stores are growing yearly. But do we really know how the leading retailers become leaders? What efforts need to be made to execute an effective online strategy? How to do first things first and sort everything out in order? SEMrush conducted an e-commerce study to answer these questions, along with many others. We analyzed...
As we mentioned before, when someone finds your site via a link on a social network, they'll be bucketed under social media as a traffic source. This could include someone tweeting out a link, or it could include you posting a link to your Facebook page. If it's you doing the posting, you can also add a tracking token before posting to track those links as part of a larger campaign for you to analyze later!
Hey Roezer, thanks so much for the comment. I have to explain my links, lol. I think you can see I didn't use many and most of them were actually attached cause I forgot to uncheck the ComLuv box. However, for example, in the reply at the very bottom of the page, I replied to Ben from EpicLaunch telling him about the list I included him in, and attached the link so he can see it if he was interested. The SEO 101 link I have included is, what I think a great post I posted last week and I thought people might like to read it. So several links I did attach on purpose, were there for a reason. Again, as I said, there were few attached that I forgot to uncheck, mostly that I had log in problems time or two. I always do something like that with my guest posts and try to avoid using ComLuv a lot, because I don't feel I am entitled in so many links, just like to play fair. But, when it comes to titles you mention, if you want a Com Luv link click, your title has to be great. I am practicing and I can see that practice makes perfect. Although I am far from being the master of titles, I get way more clicks now than I have when I first started blogging.
Hey Brankica, These are some great sources to get more traffic to your sites. I do agree with your arguments about answer sites and forums. Most of us, including myself, don't use these much, nowadays. I clearly don't know the reason. But I can tell you one thing : Some forums ban you if you promote your site (that depends upon what type of forum it is). Anyway, thank you for sharing the great resource ! And Best of luck with the contest :D I think you would probably win the contest :D (because you have useful posts). Jeevan Jacob John
The SEO landscape has changed enormously in the last years. Organic traffic comes and go, the websites’ performance seems to be as volatile as it gets and at the end of the day, you might ask yourself: why did my organic traffic drop? Did Google change its algorithm again? Was a sort of SEO attack on my site or was it something that I did? And while you keep on searching for the reasons your hard-worked ranks and traffic went down the drain, your frustration gets bigger as the solution to your problem seems increasingly far.
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.