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!
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.
Content is one of the 3 main Google ranking factors. As a matter of fact, having a blog can help you get your content indexed faster. An active blog – relying on qualitative and insightful content, and backed by authoritative links – will help you improve your rankings and thus your organic traffic. Also, long-form copies (above 1200 words) tend to rank higher and be crawled more often.
The "Direct Session" dimension, not to be confused with the default channel grouping or source dimension, is something different. It can tell you if a session was genuinely from its reported campaign (reported as No), or if it was simply bucketed there due to the last non-direct click attribution model (reported as Yes). I didn't mention this dimension in the article because it has some flaws which can cause brain bending complexities, plus it goes a little beyond the scope of this article, which I tried to gear more towards marketers and non-expert GA users. It's certainly an interesting one, though.
Hey James, I LOLed at your comment. In a good way of course. What do you mean you knew about 3 things!? You better get to work then. Just kiddin'. Glad you liked the list and hope you will put it to use. And if you do, I really hope to hear some feedback on how it worked for you. These tips are awesome for websites like those, I have some of those. You should definitely give this list a go, I first tested all these on my main niche site and then on my blog. I can tell you that these sources can make miracles if they are used right.
For example, sometimes this could include social media websites, sometimes it might not -- in HubSpot's software , social media websites are not included in referral traffic because they're included in a separate "social media" bucket. Another instance of variance is whether subdomains are included -- HubSpot software, for example, includes subdomains (like academy.hubspot.com) as a traffic source under Referrals. And sometimes it's not that tricky -- you'll always see third-party domains, like mashable.com, for instance -- right under here. This is particularly helpful if you're trying to ascertain which web properties are great for co-marketing, SEO partnerships, and guest blogging opportunities.

Unfortunately, this particular client was fairly new, so as a result, their Moz campaign data wasn’t around during the high organic traffic times in 2015. However, if it was, a good place to start would be looking at the search visibility metric (as long as the primary keywords have stayed the same). If this metric has changed drastically over the years, it’s a good indicator that your organic rankings have slipped quite a bit.
Another big benefit to using social media is that it can help you gain more influence, as well as grow your business across board. And although social media has little direct influence over your search engine ranking, it can help your SEO, albeit indirectly. By helping to grow your business and your website, gaining more traffic, more backlinks and so on, this will improve your website's domain authority, and thus, its search engine ranking by extension.
Relying too much on one source of traffic is a risky strategy. A particular channel or strategy can be fantastic for generating traffic today, but it doesn’t mean it will stay the same tomorrow. Some sites lost out when Penguin started penalizing on certain SEO linking practices. Others lost out when Facebook decided to massively restrict organic reach. If your site relies exclusively on only one source of traffic, then algorithm changes can create some serious trouble for you. So be aware of the importance of diversifying and know the options available from different traffic sources.
Hey Patricia, glad you liked the post and found more things to do... Like you are not overwhelmed with stuff lately anyway, lol. Please, don't try all at once. One traffic source every few days. For two reasons: not to get overwhelmed and to be able to track some results. I think if a blogger would master only 3 to 5 of these sources, it would bring incredible amounts of traffic. By master I mean just that - be a master, not just do it in some spare time ;)
Keywords research is a very important process for search engine optimization as it can tell you the exact phrases people are using to search on Google. Whenever you write a new blog post, you have to check the most popular keywords, but don’t be obsessed by the search volume. Sometimes, long tail keywords are more valuable, and you can rank for them more easily.
Let’s say that you are selling dog food. And most likely you will want the best traffic possible on the keyword “dog food”. Creating/building/earning all of your links with the same anchor text will get you in trouble. If you are having 600 links from which 400 use the anchor “dog food”, you might be facing a problem; it will surely raise a red flag to the search engines. And we all know what search engines do when they are getting these kinds of alarms: they begin applying penalties and move your websites so far from reach of the user that you will not be even listed in top 100. 
Hi Brankica, wow what an extensive list. As a one-month old blogger this list is overwhelming so there were four things I have noted and will look into further are stumbleupon, digg, roundups and vark. I hope to implement them soon and will keep track of the results. As for the other sources, I will come back to this post to see what other sources to use next. I am curious to know from your experience, what are the Top 10 most effective traffic sources?
Wonderful little article, lovely detailing and the possible sources of direct traffic which could lead to various positives and negatives to your overall SEO strategies. Direct traffic could be the prime conversion getter for your eCommerce website or could be a flaw in your website as a whole which looks like direct traffic has a correlation with organic traffic as well. As organic traffic increases, your overall direct traffic increases along with it. Does some type of bot activities lead to direct traffic as well?s
Understanding where your site visitors come from is an integral part of any marketing strategy. Your website is the heart of your digital marketing practices, with traffic acting as the blood. No traffic means your website can’t do anything for your business; knowing the different kinds of traffic and how they play into your website gives you the power to make educated decisions on how to improve your marketing practices. 

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Woah Brankica. I came over to support you because you are a good friend and you deserve it, but now that I am here, I am supporting you because this post is friggin insane!!! Fark, so glad I am NOT in this contest now, how could I compete with this?!?! Honestly Brankica, this post deserves to win because its genuinely one of the most thorough and easy to digest posts on traffic generation that I have EVER read. Respect
In most cases, the largest amount of traffic to your site will be comprised of direct and organic traffic. If you have a partnership with an industry association or manufacturer, you may see referral traffic from their website. If you decide to do paid advertising such as pay-per-click marketing, you might see traffic coming in from ad campaigns as well.
Thanks for the comment, I would not say it is impossible to create high quality backlinks from scratch without content, you just need to do a review on competitor backlinks and see if their are any easy targets. We have had some good luck in the education space acquiring links on the same pages as competitor from PR5+ edu sites. It all revolves around the outreach strategy in which you put in place.

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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!
Another special mention is Quora. The question and answer site is like a high class, actually-useful version of the defunct Yahoo Answers. Experts find questions in their industry to answer and provide detailed answers, either in the form of a moderately lengthy post, or in a post that links out to their websites. You, too, can take advantage of industry questions by answering them the best you can. Users can vote on the most useful answer, and it floats to the top, so the more useful you can be, the more exposure your link will get.
Well, yes and no. Sure, you can get hit with an algorithm change or penalty that destroys all your traffic. However, if you have good people who know what they are doing, this is not likely to happen, and if it does, it is easy (in most cases) to get your visits back. Panda and Penguin are another story, but if you get hit by those it is typically not accidental.
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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