Although it may have changed slightly since BrightEdge published its report last year, the data still seem to hold true. Organic is simply better for delivering relevant traffic. The only channel that performs better in some capacities is paid search ads, but that is only for conversions, not overall traffic delivery (Paid Search only accounted for 10 percent of overall total traffic).

What does that mean for your website? Organic Traffic is any of the customers that come to your website without clicking a link on another site (referral traffic) or clicking an ad (paid traffic) – these visitors used a known search engine and clicked a link to view your website. Much of this traffic is customers from Google, but it also includes other common search engines like Bing and Yahoo. Now that we know what it is, let’s dive into understanding how this information can help you improve your website.


The top five leaders in paid traffic (Google Adwords) are the same companies that lead in search, with Amazon again on top. Leading retailers don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket, and they are willing to invest heavily in pay-per-click campaigns. Clearly, PPC has worked for them because we see four out of the top five spenders are the leaders in annual sales numbers.

If you feel as if your business is being overtaken by your competitors, it may be because they are already taking advantage of everything that social traffic can do for them. Having a Facebook page or Twitter account with a huge amount of likes or followers automatically makes you look more legitimate. For example, would you rather buy something from someone whose page has 50 likes, or someone whose page is really popular and has 2,000 likes? The answer is obvious.
If you feel as if your business is being overtaken by your competitors, it may be because they are already taking advantage of everything that social traffic can do for them. Having a Facebook page or Twitter account with a huge amount of likes or followers automatically makes you look more legitimate. For example, would you rather buy something from someone whose page has 50 likes, or someone whose page is really popular and has 2,000 likes? The answer is obvious.
Traffic from organic search is free and long-lasting, which makes you less dependent on advertising budgets. If you look at the list of the top three American e-commerce retailers, you will find that it matches the above data with the top three companies getting the most organic traffic. This definitely proves that SEO pays off in the long run: you attract quality traffic in large volumes without paying for it directly.
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!
You had to know social media would be on the list. I generally recommend that a site only have a presence on 2-3 social networks, at least while they’re small. It’s a lot of work to maintain, engage, and update a social network profile, and keep its messaging consistent with your branding. You can always spay someone to do it for you, but then it’s not a free traffic source, is it?

The top five leaders in paid traffic (Google Adwords) are the same companies that lead in search, with Amazon again on top. Leading retailers don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket, and they are willing to invest heavily in pay-per-click campaigns. Clearly, PPC has worked for them because we see four out of the top five spenders are the leaders in annual sales numbers.
Thanks for the comment Slava good too see your team is on top of things and happy you liked the post. The website in the case listed was a client who has taken on an agency who was doing lower quality SEO work which was affecting the site such as the huge link network and a strategy which only revolved around mainly head terms. We saw no long tail integration from the old agency's strategy, so we were able to yield great results to begin with. The clients site has 100's of high quality articles which we were able to re optimize and update as noted. Further to this they had a large index of high quality pages to work from. Sure enough the points listed above were key elements to a far wider strategy which could be 100's of points. I just wanted to include some of the biggest wins and easy to implement points.  
You had to know social media would be on the list. I generally recommend that a site only have a presence on 2-3 social networks, at least while they’re small. It’s a lot of work to maintain, engage, and update a social network profile, and keep its messaging consistent with your branding. You can always spay someone to do it for you, but then it’s not a free traffic source, is it?
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 :)
Wow, what a massive post Brankica! I love it. :) I especially liked your suggestion to answer questions on answer sites. I've tried Yahoo Answers before, though didn't do much with it. I'll definitely give it another go in the future though! Man, just when I was tidying up my to-do list, you had to make it longer for me. ;) Thanks for such an awesome read! By the way, I found this post on StumbleUpon (crazy how the world works). =p Christina
Thanks for this handy info. I wasn't aware that Google owned Vark so I'm off to check it out. There is so much to learn about the best sites to use on the internet for traffic generation. I'm too frightened of spending more time surfing than actually writing for my own blogs that I probably don't do nearly enough 'looking'. Does anyone else have this time problem V's actual work time?

We used to like best to see a fairly balanced mix, back when there were mostly just three sources: Organic, Direct, and Referral. Organic Search traffic is a good sign of general site health, it’s usually the top source of conversions, and it generally shows great ROI. Direct traffic is often the people who love your site or are coming back to buy after they found you in some other way. These two groups of visitors are probably the ones that bring you the most sales or leads.


Wow! I have learned so much from you this evening. Thank you. It prompted me to create a list of my own I have sporadically (and unfocused) have been doing myself. I have been using Flickr, but not linking back to my post... shame on me. Going back tomorrow and starting to add links. I do Cinch my articles which can be found on Itunes and I use Odiogo where people can also listen to all of my articles (including the ones I don't personally Cinch). Also, I like Blog Glue to refer and be referred. My main goal is to have a focused plan. I like your recommendation to focus on 5 at a time. Thanks again.
If you publish whitepapers or offer downloadable PDF guides, for example, you should be tagging the embedded hyperlinks with UTM campaign parameters. You’d never even contemplate launching an email marketing campaign without campaign tracking (I hope), so why would you distribute any other kind of freebie without similarly tracking its success? In some ways this is even more important, since these kinds of downloadables often have a longevity not seen in a single email campaign. Here’s an example of a properly tagged URL which we would embed as a link:
I am so glad you used those tips and obviously have great results from it. It is all about creativity, I guess. If you think of a new and fresh way of generating traffic, that not too many bloggers are using already, you are on a roll. And Flickr was one of those that were not over saturated with bloggers searching for traffic. Thanks for the feedback and can't see the results with new strategies :)
Great post, though http://www.blogcatalog.com that sends millions of visits a month to blogs and has an engaged community of bloggers from startup bloggers to pros should be on any list. BlogCatalog is the parent company of http://www.bloggersunite.org a site dedicated to harnessing the power of the blogosphere and another great site for bloggers to connect and get traffic and become more effective bloggers.
Reddit is also worth a special mention here. It’s a cross between a social network and a web forum, which is a traffic source we’ll discuss later. Reddit is one of the largest sites online, and the entire focus of the site is based around posting links and discussing the content of those links. A lot of the content you see trend on Facebook or Twitter is trending because Reddit got hold of it and started engaging with it. However, Reddit is a very tricky platform to use for marketing. You have to avoid approaching it like a marketer, because Reddit users are like piranhas. If they sense you trying to use their audience for money, they’ll swarm you and savage you until you feel like you can’t use the site again. Make sure to read up and take great care before trying to market on Reddit.
Now we have a list of landing pages for only visitors that originated from organic searches. Using this list, you can begin to explore your site content and better understand how the search engine is ranking your pages and where some of your traffic is originating. In addition to that, you can also see valuable information about how long these visitors average on the website and how many other pages they view after their initial landing.
Have you conisidered traffic exchanges, or blog exchanges. After submitting your URL and signing up to about 10 exchanges, it takes about an hour clicking through all 10 surf sights at a time. But it does give you some good traffic. I reciently started doing it and I am now getting around 200 visitors a day. That is just from traffic exchanges. not bad from just one type of traffic source
Lol, yeah, I am so happy its published cause it is awesome to be a part of this contest you guys are doing. I just know I will meet some great people. You should check out Website Babble, it is related to blogging and a great related traffic source. By the way, the post was pretty long so I didn't want to stuff it with more details, but a lot of the mentioned answer sites have your links set to do-follow :) Thanks so much for the comment! Um beijo.
This was awesome! Holy moly! THIS type of post is definitely worth bookmarking and coming back to :) Number 51? Find Brankica and hire her for free to be your publicist!! :P LOL. You really covered pretty much all of the main traffic methods, I can't really think of much of anything else! Hmmm... maybe email list building? Like partnering up with someone else who has a list and swapping opt-in ads? Lots of people do that to get more subscribers! So, that could be another traffic method as well. :) GREAT POST! I'll try to remember to tweet this one a few times this week!
Hey Julia, thanks so much for the comment. I just saw the idea you were talking about, that is awesome. I think you are right cause although it seems a bit inconvenient, I personally wrote down a few URL like that in my cell phone or notebook to check it out when I am back at the computer. Wow, this is something I need to think about. Also, how about those big billboards?

The term “organic” refers to something having the characteristics of an organism. Although black hat SEO methods may boost a website’s search engine page rank in the short term, these methods could also get the site banned from the search engines altogether. However, it is more likely that readers will recognize the low quality of sites employing black hat SEO at the expense of the reader experience, which will reduce the site’s traffic and page rank over time.
BrightEdge research supports that a blended approach is best for delivering high performing content. Not only will combining organic and paid search increase website traffic, but it will offer a bigger return on the investment. Take Retail, Technology and Hospitality industries, for example — organic and paid search combined make up more than two-thirds of their total revenue.
Once you've set up an alert within Mention, go to your settings and then 'Manage Notifications'. From here you can select the option to get a daily digest email of any mentions (I'd recommend doing this). You also have the option of getting desktop alerts - I personally find them annoying, but if you really want to stay on the ball then they could be a good idea.

Thanks for the comment Slava good too see your team is on top of things and happy you liked the post. The website in the case listed was a client who has taken on an agency who was doing lower quality SEO work which was affecting the site such as the huge link network and a strategy which only revolved around mainly head terms. We saw no long tail integration from the old agency's strategy, so we were able to yield great results to begin with. The clients site has 100's of high quality articles which we were able to re optimize and update as noted. Further to this they had a large index of high quality pages to work from. Sure enough the points listed above were key elements to a far wider strategy which could be 100's of points. I just wanted to include some of the biggest wins and easy to implement points.  


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Hey, Matt! Thank you for your sharing, and I learned much from it, but I still have a question. We began to do SEO work for our site 2 years ago, and our organic traffic grew 5 times ( from 8K to 40K every day). But two years later, it is very difficult to get it grow more, even it drop to 3.2K every day. So can you give me any advice to make our site's traffic grow again? Thank you in advance!
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