Users land on this page without tracking code. They click on a link to a deeper page which does have tracking code. From GA’s perspective, the first hit of the session is the second page visited, meaning that the referrer appears as your own website (i.e. a self-referral). If your domain is on the referral exclusion list (as per default configuration), the session is bucketed as direct. This will happen even if the first URL is tagged with UTM campaign parameters.
The good news is, however, indications are that dark social should decrease more and more over time, as social media as a sharing mechanism -- as opposed to email -- only continues to grow. In fact, in the same article we mentioned earlier, BuzzFeed cited a preference with millennials to share over Facebook and Twitter, alongside a longer term downward trend of sharing over email.
One of the reasons for a traffic drop can also be due to your site losing links. You may be seeing a direct loss of that referral traffic, but there could also be indirect effects. When your site loses inbound links, it tells Google that your site isn't as authoritative anymore, which leads to lower search rankings that in turn lead to traffic drops (because fewer people are finding your site if it's not ranked as highly and more).
For our client: We only used a smaller quantity of very high-quality link building each month. So, for example we only built 40 of the best links each month to supplement the work we were doing on the content marketing front. We also invested heavily into tracking competitor backlink profiles, using Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer. We worked out how the competitor's acquired specific backlinks, then by using outreach and content creation we obtained these links.
I have 103 with the trackbacks in the bottom, lol. For now... and I hope to get many more. I think the sources can be useful and hope someone will find good use of them :) I love how people are in the mood to comment. My favorite thing about blogging are all the connections and I try to be really helpful. So I guess that is the reason I get a lot of comments. Not to mention that I even put a post up on my blog asking everyone to help me be one of the winners :) This is my first contest. I am glad you liked it and sorry for popping up everywhere, lol.
Brankica,Oh my gosh girl you have really covered traffic generation. This enough to keep us all busy for awhile.I have been doing some offline advertising that work. I think the best one has been wearing Tshirt that invites people to site. It is a catchy domain name that they have to remember and go home and type in. I am amazed at how many people actually do it.Thanks for the new ideas.
Basically, what I’m talking about here is finding websites that have mentioned your brand name but they haven’t actually linked to you. For example, someone may have mentioned my name in an article they wrote (“Matthew Barby did this…”) but they didn’t link to matthewbarby.com. By checking for websites like this you can find quick opportunities to get them to add a link.
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.
Hey Peppy, I am glad you found this post too :) I wanted to write it in even more details but it was getting so long I thought if I add one more word, no one would read it, lol. I tried all these traffic generation sources, some worked miracles some were so and so. But I can bet everyone can find winners here. Actually all these sources can work miracles, it all depends on what you find more natural to do. I am for example really slow with videos and still not comfortable making them so YouTube doesn't bring thousands of people to my blog. It brings some. But when it comes to answer sites, I had so much success with some of them, that I just have to recommend them. Blog commenting is working better as I learn to write better titles, so people click on my Comment Luv links. Anyway, thanks so much for the great comment and hope to hear some feedback from you, about how there worked out on your blog.
Hi, thanks for your comment. When you refer to incognito browsing, I think it's important to clarify that referrer data *is* passed between sites. Click on a link whilst in incognito, and the referrer header is passed as usual. The exception is if you're browsing normally, and then opt to open a specific link in incognito mode - this won't pass referrer data.
Those two ideas are great. I didn't know you are allowed to post links to you Amazon reviews! That is great to know, I already have some ideas in my head about this :) QR codes are definitely something to start using ASAP, too. With all the new gadgets and technology being developed, the sooner you start using it, the better results we can get :) Thanks for such an awesome comment!
Guest blogging purely for inbound links is a flawed strategy because the value of those links are going down. However, guest blogging for traffic is still an incredibly viable strategy. While that inbound link you get at the end of a guest post doesn’t have as much SEO value as it used to, it still has the value of exposing your content to a new audience.

Direct traffic is defined as visits with no referring website. When a visitor follows a link from one website to another, the site of origin is considered the referrer. These sites can be search engines, social media, blogs, or other websites that have links to other websites. Direct traffic categorizes visits that do not come from a referring URL.
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