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:

Do you have a content strategy in place, or are your efforts more “off the cuff?” Not having a clearly defined keyword map can spell trouble — especially if two or more pages are optimized for the same keyword. In practice, this will cause pages to compete against each other in the SERPs, potentially reducing the rankings of these pages. Here is an example of what this might look like:
In 2014, Cisco stated that video made 64% of all internet traffic. In 2015, Searchmetrics was releasing a white paper quoting that 55% of all keyword searches in the U.S. return at least one video blended into Google’s web search results and that 8 out 10 of those videos belonged to YouTube. And in 2016, Cisco was also sharing that online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.
We want to see landing pages that came from organic searches, so first we need to add to this dataset the parameter “Medium” which is how Analytics identifies channels. To do this, use the drop down above the table of data and locate the option for “Medium”. The table below should refresh and now you will have a second column of data showing the channel for each landing page.
Selecting “All Traffic Sources” from Google Analytics left-side navigation will show you a table listing the most active traffic sources and their medium. Direct traffic, as you would expect, has a medium of “none.” Traffic from Facebook, as an example, will have a medium of “referral.” Search engine traffic will have a medium or “organic” or “CPC” as described above.
To sum up all of this information, even organic traffic, like direct traffic, has some gray areas. For the most part, though, organic traffic is driven by SEO. The better you are ranking for competitive keywords, the more organic traffic will result. Websites that consistently create content optimized for search will see a steady increase in organic search traffic and improved positioning in the search results. As a marketer, it is important to look at your keywords and high-ranking pages to identify new SEO opportunities each month.  
For reasons we’ve already discussed, traffic from bookmarks and dark social is an enormously valuable segment to analyze. These are likely to be some of your most loyal and engaged users, and it’s not uncommon to see a notably higher conversion rate for a clean direct channel compared to the site average. You should make the effort to get to know them.
Organic search traffic used to just mean the amount of traffic that came to your site via someone who found your site using a search engine. Then, you could drill down into more detail to see which keyword they searched to get to your website. For example, we might learn that someone came to HubSpot.com by searching the keyword phrase "inbound marketing." This is important to know because it helps businesses understand which keywords are driving the most traffic, leads, and customers so they can develop better-informed content and keyword strategies.
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.
If, on the other hand, you’ve already migrated to HTTPS and are concerned about your users appearing to partner websites as direct traffic, you can implement the meta referrer tag. Cyrus Shepard has written about this on Moz before, so I won’t delve into it now. Suffice to say, it’s a way of telling browsers to pass some referrer data to non-secure sites, and can be implemented as a element or HTTP header.
You are right. Actually, it is the same with answer site, I mean the same strategy. But you need to be smart using them, you have to answer the question and point them to a link. But with people's short attention spans, they are satisfied with what ever answer you give them and they don't go exploring links so much. Again it does depend on the niche and the type of question. I like that you tracked what converts on your blog, because that is the best thing to do to see what to focus your energy on. Thanks so much for the comment, Bryan.
Looking back at our lab site, we can see that Organic Search is doing well for us. However, if we put a little effort into social media, we’d probably see growth in that sector — and a bigger pie. We’ve got some strong referrals (and high quality links that improve our search presence), but if we put some work into building more of those links, we’d probably see more referral traffic and, again, a bigger pie. Should we add paid search? For this site, no. It’s part of our community service and has little revenue potential, so we wouldn’t see much ROI from ads.
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
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!
Brankica, aloha. Yet another great article. With the in-depth info and resources you have been giving us, I don't know how you have time for anything else. This is another one that will live on my computer. You mention several words/places that I have not seen before. Look forward to exploring. Off to tweet. Will be working on a 51 for you. Take good care, my friend. Aloha. Janet
Good point,The thing with this client is they wanted to mitigate the risk of removing a large number of links so high quality link building was moved in early before keyword research. So it is on a case by case basis, but defiantly a good point for most new clients I work with who do not have pre-existing issues you want to do Keyword Research very early in the process. 
Blog comments have a number of sources of value, and traffic is just one of them. By monitoring your competitors and your betters, you get a keen sense of what the industry is doing and where trends are going. You leave valuable comments and people take notice, including industry influencers and possibly the owners of these top-tier sites. You create a gateway back to your site, and even though the links are nofollowed, they’re still links for people to click. You also build a personal reputation as a commenter around your industry, raising sentiment and value.
We are here to give you the best web traffic you can get. We are experts in SEO methods and have been in this business for many years. We understand that our customers need to be our number one priority so one of our main objectives is to ensure the rapid growth of your website and to do everything to make your business more visible online.          
Wow Brankica! I just don't know how I missed this awesome post :) I have just been going through it for quite sometime and finally bookmarked it for future reference whenever I need it- it is that good! Awesome indeed :) I loved the way you shared all the way you could get traffic and even though I am doing most of these things, there is so-so much more that I need to work on and change the way I look at some others. Thanks so much for sharing, and wishing you the best for the contest :)
AllRecipes: This site is one of the larger recipe-focused sites on the web, and it also has a reputation amongst foodies for having a ton of comments about “this recipe was terrible, also I made X, Y, and Z substitutions.” You, too, can take advantage of these recipe comments to promote your own changed version of the recipe, if you have a cooking blog.
Danny, thank you so much. I always blush when I get some nice compliment like this, from you, cause you are definitely one of my blogging heroes :) I really appreciate that you took the time to write this comment and share the post. I try to write about stuff I tried and tested, good or bad, and I hope I won't ever end up in that "copy/paste" group of bloggers. Again, thank you and comments like these make me just wanna push forward :)

On the basis of this article alone, you should be given a Ph.D in internet traffic generation. Absolutely fantastic set of ideas & sources for traffic generation. I had taken a print of this article the first I read it and then took some serious action of some of the ideas that have mentioned here - flickr images, blog commenting, slideshare (this even resulted in some great business leads and closures), sites such as blog engage, blog interact, social media sources such as LinkedIn, forum participation etc. And they have done wonders to my sites. The fact that there are 319 comments here even as I write is testimony to the authenticity of the ideas presented here. Great article which will one day be a classic - if it is not already.
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.

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."
Because so few ordinary users (38% according to Pew Research Center) realized that many of the highest placed "results" on search engine results pages (SERPs) were ads, the search engine optimization industry began to distinguish between ads and natural results.[citation needed] The perspective among general users was that all results were, in fact, "results." So the qualifier "organic" was invented to distinguish non-ad search results from ads.[citation needed]

Ha ha ha, John, aren't you trying to be funny. Well I need to inform you that I have been to your site, read it and totally DON'T agree with you :P Your blog is great and I don't see many people running from it, lol. And definitely bookmark for future reference, there is no way to go through it in a day (I can't do it and I wrote it!). Hope you will use some of these and send me some feedback about the results.
Being a good internet Samaritan is great and all, but how does this help you build links? Let me explain: the kind of broken links you’re looking for are found on sites relevant to your business, industry, or niche. By finding these sites and informing them of these broken links, you strike up a conversation with the site owner and give yourself the opportunity to suggest a link to your epic piece of content be added to their site.

Hi Brankika, With respect to EZA, I no longer submit to them. They rejected some of my article for saying that the page I was linking to did not contain enough information. I linked to my blog and to the original article. I believe they didn't like the link to the original article. That being the case, they no longer allow one of the cardinal rules of syndication as per Google itself..."Link To The Original". Once they stopped allowing that, they were no longer useful to me. Thanks for the great resource. Mark
Being a good internet Samaritan is great and all, but how does this help you build links? Let me explain: the kind of broken links you’re looking for are found on sites relevant to your business, industry, or niche. By finding these sites and informing them of these broken links, you strike up a conversation with the site owner and give yourself the opportunity to suggest a link to your epic piece of content be added to their site.
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For many startups, this means doing enterprise SEO on a small business budget, which comes with a few compromises. The problem is, Google doesn’t accept compromises when it comes to search optimisation and you need to get the fundamentals spot on. The good news is, the sooner you get these right, the faster you’ll be able to build a self-sustaining SEO strategy that doesn’t come back to bite you in the budget later.
Unlike text and display ads, PLAs enable e-commerce companies to target specific products and product groups at the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. They also help to increase brand awareness as they position their brand in front of a highly targeted audience that is looking for a product the company offers. Typically, a PLA contains a product picture and a price, along with a store brand. So it comes as no surprise that Walmart, as one of the world’s largest online retailers, appeared to be the undisputed leader in using PLAs, with almost 604,000 keywords used in April. The company is followed by Home Depot, which sells various home improvement items and targets 139,000 keywords.
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.
Referral traffic in Google Analytics can also include your social traffic or even your email visits. This is largely because there are different ways to track data and there are imperfections in the system, but it also depends on which reports you look at. For example, Acquisition> All channels> Referrals will include much of your social traffic, but the default All channels report does not include Social in your Referrals. The best solutions:
And although livescience.com has way more links than its competitor, it seems that emedicinehealth.com is performing better for a lot of important keywords. Why, you might wonder. Well, the answer is simple: content. And although they are both offering good content, livescience.com is a site offering general information about a lot of things while emedicinehealth.com offers articles highly related to the topics, leaving the impression that this site really offers reliable content. We are not saying that the 5 mil links livescience.com has do not matter, yet it seems that in some cases content weighs more.
Google makes constant efforts to improve the search algorithm and detect quality content and that is why it rolled out the Google Panda 4.0 update.  What is this update really doing? It deranks low quality content and boosts the high quality one, according to Google’s idea of valuable content. In the screenshot below you can see what kind of content you shouldn’t be looking into if you are really determined in making a mess out of your organic traffic. 

The strength of your link profile isn’t solely determined by how many sites link back to you – it can also be affected by your internal linking structure. When creating and publishing content, be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities for internal links. This not only helps with SEO, but also results in a better, more useful experience for the user – the cornerstone of increasing traffic to your website.


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.


This topic seems actually quite controversial. Google answered the question by what could be taken as a denial. But their answer was kind of open to interpretations. And on the other hand, there are studies (one of them from Moz) that showed linking out has an impact. So, how can you be so assertive? Is it something that comes out from your own experiments?
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.
Hi Chris, "Good content" means a couple of things - good for readers and good for Google. Good content for readers means that the content answers questions, provides value, offers solutions, and is engaging. You want to keep the reader on the page and on your website for as long as possible. To make good content for Google, you have to provide the search engine with a set of signals - e.g., keywords, backlinks, low bounce rates, etc... The idea is that if you make good content for readers (engaging, valuable, actionable, and informative), your content will get more engagement. When your content gets more engagement Google will see it as good content too and put it higher in the SERPs. Making "good content" is about striking that balance. Let us know if that answered your question!
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