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 :)

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.
Cheers for sharing that thread, I'd not read it. I think most of the confusion here arises because of how standard GA reports work on a last non-direct click basis - if there's a previous campaign within timeout, that user will be attributed to that campaign, even if they're technically returning via direct. MCF reports are the exception, of course, given that they show *actual* direct.
Branica, I wasn't sure what to expect - part of me thought about skimming the article because I figured it would 'read' as all the other articles on generating traffic - I was WRONG! I slowed my skimming and started reading - you made the otherwise sterile information interesting while your pace infused a sense of excitement ... so much so that I want to implement everything you suggested and I have, I guess, what you would consider a niche blog. Thanks for the lists along with your insights on their value, etc. I came upon this article through Blog Interact - and glad to have found you. Peppy
Direct traffic. Direct traffic represents those visitors that arrive directly and immediate on your site by: (1) typing your URL into the browser’s address bar; (2) clicking on a bookmark; or (3) clicking on a link in an email, SMS, or chat message. Direct traffic is a strong indicator of your brand strength and your success in email or text message marketing. Direct traffic can also be an indicator of offline marketing success. We offer our views on the benefits of direct traffic at “Direct Traffic is Better than Google Traffic.”

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.
Another point which you did mention (between the lines: "and updating your backlinks to point to HTTPS URLs") but I actually didn't realize enough is that updating backlinks when your site switches from http to https is very important. Redirecting all http traffic to the https version of your site from the server (301) is necessary, but doesn't solve losing referral data. Only updating backlinks, especially those on httpS-sites, does. I'd like to emphasize that!
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.
Direct traffic is people who type your URL into their navigation bar, or who use a bookmark. These are your regular visitors, people who’ve discovered you in some other way and are now coming back, and — less now than in the past — people who type in a URL they’ve seen on your offline ads or who guess your web address based on your company name. Direct traffic is often the highest converting kind, but it can also be regular blog readers or your own staff. Filter your workers out if at all possible to keep your data clean. If you can’t filter them, at least ask them to use direct methods (rather than search, for example) and you may be able to identify it when you work in Analytics. Any traffic that Google can’t identify will also show up in Direct traffic, and that can include ads if you haven’t hooked up your ad accounts with your analytics, email or SMS campaigns if you haven’t tagged them for Google, and other sources that aren’t identified. Tag well and you’ll see less of this.
The Featured Snippet section appearing inside the first page of Google is an incredibly important section to have your content placed within. I did a study of over 5,000 keywords where ranked on page 1 and there was a Featured Snippet being displayed. What I found was that when was ranking in the Featured Snippet, the average click-through rate to the website increased by over 114%.
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?
You could get even more specific by narrowing it down to customer base. Is there a specific group of clients you tend to serve? Try including that in your long-tail key phrase. For example: “SEO agency for non-profits in Albuquerque NM.” That’s a key phrase you’re a lot more likely to rank for. Not to mention it will also attract way more targeted, organic traffic than a broad key phrase like “SEO agency.”