When a user follows a link on a secure (HTTPS) page to a non-secure (HTTP) page, no referrer data is passed, meaning the session appears as direct traffic instead of as a referral. Note that this is intended behavior. It’s part of how the secure protocol was designed, and it does not affect other scenarios: HTTP to HTTP, HTTPS to HTTPS, and even HTTP to HTTPS all pass referrer data.
I've started a fairly new blog, aimed at fairly new bloggers, by a fairly new blogger! I've had another blog up and running for about four months and it's building up quite well, but I've learned a lot from you here, and am looking forward to trying all the ideas that are new to me. You've been so thorough that I can't suggest a 51, but perhaps a 50a - I use Tweetadder with my Twitter accounts; it's a brilliant tool for automating tasks and driving traffic. I won't spam the comment with a link here, but there is one on my blog for anyone who is interested. Thanks again for all those ideas, cheers, Brent
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.
So we’re confident that the high social traffic in the sixth example above reflects the highly successful social media campaigns the organization is working on. We could also see this pattern for a site which has decided that they can’t succeed with search and has, as Google suggests for such websites, chosen to work on social media success instead. The difference is, one site would have good Search and Direct traffic and really good social media, while the other might have dismal Search and rely heavily on social media, which is very time consuming and often has a low ROI. This second pattern is one we’ve seen with microbusinesses where the business owner is spending hours each day on social media and making very little progress in the business. Making the investment in a better website would probably pay off better in the long run, even if it seems like an expensive choice.

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?
OMG and for the love of God, this is truly one amazing post! Not because of the content, because I have already commented on that somewhere in this mass of 200+ comments. the content is great...the fact that I continue to get emails from each and every comment ever made on this post since I commented is telling me that I need to remember to shut off the subscriptions eventually. You did one hell of a job on this post though...this really is a kick-ass list.
Search engine optimisation is tricky for any business, but you’ve got a real challenge on your hands as a startup. You need to make an impact fast, get things moving and start building traction before those limited funds run out. Which is probably why a lot of startups take shortcuts with SEO, hoping to cut a few corners and speed their way to search ranking glory.
For a small business, it is better to start with Organic SEO because aside from it is a low-cost investment, it will build your internet presence gradually and eventually have a solid foundation in your own niche – provided that you are doing the right way. It is not bad to invest in non-organic. You just have to make sure that you are investing on the right campaigns and not on the overly artificial ways to gain traffic and rank. Avoid investing too much on paid advertising and instead invest on creating relevant and useful content.
For our client: We monitored everything on a daily basis. If something came up, which needed to be fixed, we were quick to implement it with the development team at the business. We also rolled out numerous campaigns multiple times as they worked effectively the first time around in generating significant traffic so it was second nature to do the same thing twice.
Another key consideration is that social platforms have become search engines within themselves. Just look at Twitter, for example - you can use it to see what the biggest trending news of the day are and you can easily search for great content. You can search based on your location, in different languages and if you click on advanced search, there are even more options:
hey james - congrats on your success here. just a question about removing crummy links. for my own website, there are hundreds of thousands of backlinks in webmaster tools pointing to my site. The site has no penalties or anything  - the traffic seems to be growing every week. would you recommend hiring someone to go through the link profile anyway to remove crummy links that just occur naturally?

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.
Hey Matt, thank you so much for such a great compliment. I had my head spinning when I started pulling up all the traffic sources for this post. I tried them all and recommend everyone to do it. But definitely not at once, lol. It would be great to choose one or two and try them out. Every niche is a story for itself and I am sure one of these sources you haven't tried before can bring great traffic to you.
Oh, I wish you told me what was wrong with it :) I only discovered it recently but I am getting nice traffic from it. I hope you will let me know how it worked for you. At the moment I am posting both to my page and personal profile. I also realized that I might just leave it on the personal page (yeah, sound weird) cause on my fan page, I kinda like to add a little comment to the post. Anyway, thanks for the comment and I will try to find your blog over there and subscribe to it on Networked blogs.

This is my first time on your blog and I found it when I was reading up on who won the contest at Famous Bloggers. I can definitely see why now! I spent a good amount of time reading and going through all the advice that you've stated in this post since I am fairly new to blogging. I believe one of the biggest hurdles that I will come across when trying to further my blogging experience is driving traffic to my blog. I will make sure to apply many of the techniques you've listed in this post to my blog and hopefully I'll see some traffic! I will definitely continue to read your informative posts. Thanks! :)
For our client: We took the top PPC terms based on conversion and worked these keywords into existing pages on the website. We also created new high-quality content-based pages from these conversion terms. This type of strategy can work very well in assisting overall conversions on the website and driving more revenue. We also conducted a large-scale keyword research project for the client which yielded in uncovering many areas of opportunity for content development and targeting. 
That helped explain some of the organic traffic loss, but knowing that this client had gone through a few website redesigns, I wanted to make sure that all redirects were done properly. Regardless of whether or not your traffic has changed, if you’ve recently done a website redesign where you’re changing URLs, it’s smart to look at your top organic landing pages from before the redesign and double check to make sure they’re redirecting to the correct pages.
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Hi, Having read all this advice I can see its going to be a busy weekend! After 'Panda' many sites have collapsed but I have found that Squidoo has surprised me as it seems to be keeping popularity and as mentioned above, makes a little money as well as helps driving traffic. Hmmm...50 ideas....shall I start from the top or be different and work my way up from the end of the list?
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
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).
Direct traffic can encompass a wide range of sources, including those you would have liked to have tracked in analytics. A drop in traffic from a particular source does not necessarily mean a drop in traffic. It could indicate a case in which that source ended up being categorized under Direct traffic. The best advice is - proactively use tracking parameters in cases where you may be risking not properly seeing traffic. There is actually a nice infographic showing the main factors impacting traffic. I use it sometimes to solve the current issues. Taking the right steps to address potentially miscategorized traffic, as well as being upfront with clients about the causes, can help to mitigate problems.
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.
Using the same 2 steps, we can also filter the All Pages section and the Content Drilldown to explore further how our organic traffic is using the site. A focus on this Organic Traffic is important because this traffic is, in many cases, free traffic that your website is receiving. Focus on doubling down on your pages that perform well and working to identify any pages that aren’t getting the organic traffic they deserve.

That helped explain some of the organic traffic loss, but knowing that this client had gone through a few website redesigns, I wanted to make sure that all redirects were done properly. Regardless of whether or not your traffic has changed, if you’ve recently done a website redesign where you’re changing URLs, it’s smart to look at your top organic landing pages from before the redesign and double check to make sure they’re redirecting to the correct pages.
Use long tail keywords. Don’t just go with the most popular keywords in your market. Use keywords that are more specific to your product or service. In time, Google and other search engines will identify your website or blog as a destination for that particular subject, which will boost your content in search rankings and help your ideal customers find you. These tools will help.
Plan your link structure. Start with the main navigation and decide how to best connect pages both physically (URL structure) and virtually (internal links) to clearly establish your content themes. Try to include at least 3-5 quality subpages under each core silo landing page. Link internally between the subpages. Link each subpage back up to the main silo landing page.
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