The Google, Yahoo!, and Bing search engines insert advertising on their search results pages. The ads are designed to look similar to the search results, though different enough for readers to distinguish between ads and actual results. This is done with various differences in background, text, link colors, and/or placement on the page. However, the appearance of ads on all major search engines is so similar to genuine search results that a majority of search engine users cannot effectively distinguish between the two.[1]

You could spend a week researching and writing a 3,000 word in-depth guide only to find that in a month its traffic is being eclipsed by a 300 word blog that took you one tenth of the time to write. That little gem could start ranking for some pretty valuable keywords – even if you never planned for it to. Give it a makeover and you’ll see your rankings on SERPs (search engine results pages) and organic traffic values soar. We’ve seen this strategy work with both our clients and our own website. Big bonus: it’s actually an easy strategy to pull off. Here’s how:
IMDB: This site is #1 when it comes to movies and TV shows. Getting a link from IMDB can be worth a ton of value, but they don’t link out to just anyone. However, that’s not reliable or even plausible for most people. Instead, you need to turn to the one location you’re free to post; the IMDB forums. These forums have a huge audience and narrow topics, and like Reddit or web forums in general, they can be great places to show your expertise, link to your content, and promote deals.
Referral means people clicked on a link somewhere else. This can be email or social, but is mostly links on other websites. If you switch the view in the Channels pie chart to Sources/Mediums, as we did for the screenshot below, you can see your most important links. For our lab site, Pinterest is major, as are Google’s educators’ sites and several homeschool sites. We can click on Acquisitions> Referrals to see more. Referral traffic can be a little confusing because it overlaps with Email and Social; more on that later.
So I figured it's high time to break down what all those sources actually mean . Now, depending on what software you're using to measure all of these things, they may be bucketed slightly differently, but these definitions are pretty common across most tools you'll encounter. Make sure to double check on the finer points of some of them, but this should be a good starting point for you if you're new to this whole marketing measurement and analysis "thing."
Man I need to sleep after reading all this. Just thinking about doing all these is making me tired! Also reading all the stuff I'm *not* doing is embarrassing me. I've found that forum posting works great if you're really into the niche. If you're just there for the links it becomes a chore and people can tell. I've never thought about submitting images to Reddit. I see a lot of traffic coming in from Google Images, so I should probably give it a shot. This is a bad-ass post, Brankica!
Look at the biggest startup success stories and analyse their content. Airbnb positions itself as the place to find unique travel experiences with locals, Uber is the cheap, on-demand taxi alternative and Skillshare carved its niche as a free learning exchange platform. They all address their audience concerns in a way nobody else is doing and their content has a friendly, approachable tone – even when we’re talking about software startups like IFTTT or Slack.
RankBrain can have an impact on your keywords campaigns. When you are defining your keywords, you are looking for relevant terms that respond to customers queries. This is how a successful SEO strategy works. And logically, if you are picking keywords your audience is not searching for, you campaign will have no chance to succeed. This is where RankBrain can play a role.

After adjusting that, the table refreshes again and I’m looking at a month-by-month summary of my Organic Traffic. Hover your mouse over any single month dot to view a summary of that month’s numbers. In this particular example, we can see that recently there’s been an increase in Organic Traffic. January had 6,630 organic sessions, February (short month) had 5,982 and then March came in strong with 7,486 organic sessions. This information lets us know that something on the site is performing better than usual in March. In most cases, this means that either interest in a topic has increased or the website has begun to rank better in the search engines for specific keywords. In the next section we’ll begin to break this down further.


Wow, great post, Brankica!!! I've used Flickr in the past and while I haven't gotten much traffic from it, I've gotten a ton of backlinks. Like there's this one photo in particular that I tagged as "SEO" and included a link in the description back to the blog post I used the photo in. I guess there are lots of autoblogs that scrape stuff like SEO-related images, and since they scrape the description, too, I get lots of automatic backlinks. Sure, they're crappy backlinks, but still backlinks :)

For our client: We rolled out numerous new pieces of content onto their blog and news section; we aimed to make the content creative and funny. As the client was in the careers space we made use of “funny interview questions” and “technical interview questions” style articles. It was amazing that one of the articles even made it to the first page of Reddit. We also pushed out content which was related to various holidays in that year and also specific to the client’s industry and also current trends in the market. 
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
Google claims their users click (organic) search results more often than ads, essentially rebutting the research cited above. A 2012 Google study found that 81% of ad impressions and 66% of ad clicks happen when there is no associated organic search result on the first page.[2] Research has shown that searchers may have a bias against ads, unless the ads are relevant to the searcher's need or intent [3]
There are a few key pieces of information that we want to look at with Organic Traffic. The first piece of information that helps us frame the website performance is the total percentage of traffic that is organic traffic. These numbers will vary greatly based on your AdWords spend, how many email campaigns you send and many other factors. To view this figure, we want to go to the Acquisition section of your Analytics dashboard and then proceed to Channels.
James, you give a great template for how a business needs to move forward in their chosen niche online.  Quite informative and the meeting of minds has been something a number of us have done online and in person to gain better insight into our small similar businesses.  Thank you for sharing your detailed approach to increasing organic traffic...content still is king.
No one wants to work harder than they have to – and why should they? Why pour five hours into Plan A when Plan B takes half the time and can be twice as effective? While that might seem like common sense, many companies waste a lot of time churning out new website content, when they should be revamping their existing blog posts and landing pages instead in order to increase organic traffic.
That's way easier to do when you understand what all the things you're measuring actually mean. The first place I always start when evaluating a business' marketing is figuring out where the heck all their site traffic, leads, and customers come from. But it occurred to me -- if you don't even know what all those channels mean or how they're bucketed as traffic sources to your website -- it's probably pretty hard for you to start that self-evaluation.
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.
This is a fantastic list! I thought I had it covered, but I'm only half way there. I can't wait to tackle some of these. It can all get overwhelming at times, because there's so much information and so many resources out there. I would like to take advantage of Facebook and Google ads, but I'm not sure if they'll be worth the investment when compared to everything else out there. I just started guest posting, I have three due this weekend. And I'm going to start writing articles for Biznik.com - which is a great site and has put me in touch with loads of local people. Love it. The forums is an area that I just recently started dancing around it and I'm still finding my way. Thanks for sharing this great information.
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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.
Interviews can be a source of some decent traffic, both in giving and hosting them. On the giving side, you’re building your reputation and you’re gaining links, as the places who interview you publish a link to you as their source. On the hosting side, you publish links to influencers you interview, who have a decent chance of linking to you as a “check out this interview I did” comment somewhere. They have an interest in promoting it, after all.
The second major source of traffic for e-commerce sites is organic search, which is responsible for 32 percent of overall monthly traffic. Interestingly, while the ratio of search vs paid traffic for e-commerce websites is 20:1, the average ratio for all industries is 8:1 (87.17% search clicks and 13.23% paid clicks as of January 2018), which leaves room for growth of paid traffic for online retailers.
This, of course, if you do care about your organic traffic and your overall inbound marketing strategy and you don’t want to make a mess out of them. The truth is that Google has so many rules and algorithms for scoring a website and that the SERP is so volatile that it’s nearly impossible to predict which site will have the best organic traffic and from what exact reasons.
With the exception of crude oil and Picassos, very few industries are “recession-proof” and experience an inelastic product demand. Look at how your competitors are faring, and see if they’re experiencing the same problems. While you should take Google Trends data with a grain of salt, looking at the bigger picture may help provide some clarity. I’d suggest taking this a step further by conducting trends research and reading industry reports.

This is an easy one. Don’t use meta refreshes or JavaScript-based redirects — these can wipe or replace referrer data, leading to direct traffic in Analytics. You should also be meticulous with your server-side redirects, and — as is often recommended by SEOs — audit your redirect file frequently. Complex chains are more likely to result in a loss of referrer data, and you run the risk of UTM parameters getting stripped out.
Now that we have the data we want in the chart, we use the advanced search to filter it down to only the traffic we want to see. Click the blue “Advanced” link beside the search bar that is just to the top right of your list of landing pages. This will open the Advanced search screen, where we want to setup our query. In the green drop down, choose “Medium” and in the text box at the end of the row we type “organic”. Click the Apply button below the query builder to apply this search.
Good question, for most directories I use they ask for mobile number to send a message of verification, for the ones which phone you for verification inform the company before hand to tell their customer service people to be ready. I know the bigger the company the more tricky these things get you just have to find out what works best to answer the calls even if they give you a direct number to use. 
I had great results with Stumble Upon cause I have been a user for years and Stumble a lot of things that have nothing to do with blogging or my blog. And Networked blogs is working great for me too :) I am glad you found some new sources here. I would love, if you had the time, to look into one or two that seam interesting to you, and maybe try them out... and then come back and tell me if they worked OK for you?

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.


I used to work with Ranker-Tracker and was more than pleased when I changed to AccuRanker, which is not only the fastest SERP tool available but also very accurate. The keyword data in Accuranker is refreshed every single day. I can also get instant on-demand ranking updates - rankings refresh in a matter of seconds whenever we need it. Reporting is very easy and saves us time as we can set automated emails to be sent directly to our and clients emails.
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!
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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
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.

In the example below, Google’s organic results generated the most site traffic for the time period shown, but had a bounce rate that was greater than the site average. By contrast direct traffic generated fewer visits, but had a lower than average bounce rate. A page from another website, generated 5,946 visits but had a bounce rate 22.62 percent less than the site average.
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.
Hey Brankica, I'm going to have to kill a tree for this one too.... going to print it! :-) (but is it as bad if I use a piece of paper that I printed something else on the other side?) Lots of great ideas here I haven't seen as well as some reminders- thanks! Personally, my biggest challenge is consistency! Have you found that some methods take longer to see results or are there certain things you do that consistently work for you? Just curious... I would think that it might depend on the niche as well? (of course you don't know until you try it, huh? ;-)) Thanks for such a great resource- I'll definitely be sharing this with my readers too! :-) Kim
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

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.


After adjusting that, the table refreshes again and I’m looking at a month-by-month summary of my Organic Traffic. Hover your mouse over any single month dot to view a summary of that month’s numbers. In this particular example, we can see that recently there’s been an increase in Organic Traffic. January had 6,630 organic sessions, February (short month) had 5,982 and then March came in strong with 7,486 organic sessions. This information lets us know that something on the site is performing better than usual in March. In most cases, this means that either interest in a topic has increased or the website has begun to rank better in the search engines for specific keywords. In the next section we’ll begin to break this down further.
Organic traffic is a special kind of referral traffic, defined as visitors that arrive from search engines. This is what most marketers strive to increase. The higher you rank for certain keywords, the more often your search result appears (increasing your impressions), ultimately resulting in more visitors (aka clicks). It’s also important to note that paid search ads are not counted in this category.
Organic Search is visitors who reach you by Googling or using another search engine which Google recognizes as a real search engine — mostly Bing and its second string, Yahoo. People using other search engines like DuckDuckGo or sites which are now commonly used as search engines but which have other purposes, like Pinterest, will show up in Referral traffic and in the case of Pinterest, in Social. If you have a good, well-optimized website, Organic Search will usually be your most frequent source. At our lab site, we do nothing to encourage other sources, so Organic Search is absolutely the top.
Encourage incoming links. Google prioritises sites that have a lot of incoming links, especially from other trustworthy sites. Encourage clients, friends, family members, partners, suppliers, industry mavens and friendly fellow bloggers to link to your site. The more incoming links you have the higher your site will rank. But beware SEO snake oil salesmen who try to trick Google with spammy links from low-reputation sites. Some links can actually damage your SEO.
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