Understanding how people landed on your website is a key component of optimization. If you’ve ever looked at Google Analytics (and if you haven’t you should), you’ve probably seen the words “Direct,” “Referral,” and “Organic” in relation to your traffic. These are the sources where your users come from — or what Google calls channels. But what do these words really mean, and why do they matter?


If you indulge me an analogy, if you’re moving from one place to another, you would like the postman to send all the love letters to your new address and you wouldn’t want them lost in an old mailbox that no one uses, right? (I am guessing you would want the bills to be sent to the old address instead). A similar thing happens when it comes to moving your site’s address.
Unless you have an invite, you can’t comment or submit a new product to PH. Even then, if you were to submit yourself, the likelihood is that you’d miss out on a lot of traction compared to someone influential on PH submitting. You only get one chance to submit to Product Hunt so you’ll need to identify someone who would be interested in your startup that also has influence within the PH community. To do this, go to Twitter and search the following query in the search bar:
A few links down and I've noticed that Brian has a link from WordPress.org. Not bad! Turns out that his content has been referenced within one of WordPress's codex posts. If I were to reach out and offer some additional insight, citing one of my articles, there's a chance I could bag a similar link, especially considering they have a 'Useful Resources' section.
The good news is, however, indications are that dark social should decrease more and more over time, as social media as a sharing mechanism -- as opposed to email -- only continues to grow. In fact, in the same article we mentioned earlier, BuzzFeed cited a preference with millennials to share over Facebook and Twitter, alongside a longer term downward trend of sharing over email.
WOW Brankica, cannot believe that you also includes Craigslist.org on your list! What a great post, indeed. ;) Elise add #51 email list building, so I would add #52 rss feed submission, #53 review websites like resellerratings.com, reviewcentre.com, etc., #54 blog search engine like Technorati, plus I have about 40 video websites where you can upload and share your video like break.com, blip.tv. Good luck with the contest. ;)
There’s also other search engines. Ask, Dogpile, IxQuick, and so forth; these are all minor. However, one search engine seems to be gaining market share and exposure, and that’s DuckDuckGo. It has been trending in the wake of Google privacy concerns and some clever marketing from the DDG staff. It’s something you should, at least, pay some attention to.
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.
Hey Chaitanya, thanks so much for the great words. Since your blog is new, you should not worry about traffic, cause it is pretty normal not to have much of it when you just start. But it is up to you to work on getting more of it. You say you are gonna try some of these tips and I hope you will. Of course, I will be waiting for the feedback. Don't forget to include some SEO in your posts and write more good content so the people that visit you first time, keep coming back. If you get stuck, you can always contact me through my blog! Thanks again for such a nice compliment about my post!
Google doesn't always include a whole paragraph of text in the Featured Snippet. If you add "Step 1," "Step 2," "Step 3," etc. to the start of each HTML heading within your content (for example, within your H2 tags), Google will sometimes just list out your headings within the Featured Snippet. I've started to see this happen more and more in keywords beginning with "how to".

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.


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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! :)
If your company is like my client’s, there’s a good chance you’re taking advantage of the maximum 20 goal completions that can be simultaneously tracked in Analytics. However, to make things easier and more consistent (since goal completions can change), I looked at only buyer intent conversions. In this case it was Enterprise, Business, and Personal edition form fills, as well as Contact Us form fills.
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
It might happen to have some lost links from now and then or a broken page due to some crawling issue or something similar. Yet, when your broken pages and links form up a figure just as big as your phone number, then you might be facing a problem; in terms of site user experience and organic traffic as well. Your bounce rate will increase, your overall usability, you will be loosing links and therefore you will start asking yourself “why did my organic traffic drop”?
The first is that it’s caused almost exclusively by users typing an address into their browser (or clicking on a bookmark). The second is that it’s a Bad Thing, not because it has any overt negative impact on your site’s performance, but rather because it’s somehow immune to further analysis. The prevailing attitude amongst digital marketers is that direct traffic is an unavoidable inconvenience; as a result, discussion of direct is typically limited to ways of attributing it to other channels, or side-stepping the issues associated with it.
There’s also other search engines. Ask, Dogpile, IxQuick, and so forth; these are all minor. However, one search engine seems to be gaining market share and exposure, and that’s DuckDuckGo. It has been trending in the wake of Google privacy concerns and some clever marketing from the DDG staff. It’s something you should, at least, pay some attention to.
Visual assets aren’t regular images you might pull from a Google Image search. Instead, these are unique diagrams or infographics you’ve created specifically for your epic content. These kinds of diagrams or infographics explain a theory, communicate a point, or showcase data in exciting and interesting ways—and gain attention (and links) because of it.
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.
Hey Jeevan, Forums can ban people for promotion but most of them only do it for certain types of behavior. For example, some of them don't allow signatures until a certain number of posts. All of them will allow related links if it helps answering the question. I have never been banned from a forum and try to play by their rules. Thanks for the compliment and I think you have a great contestant as well, I RTed it the other day cause it is really useful!

In order to get the whole bundle of internal links for your website, in the same Search Console, you need to go to the Search Traffic > Internal Links category. This way you’ll have a list with all the pages from your website (indexed or not) and also the number of links pointing to each. This can be a great incentive for discovering which pages should be subject to content pruning.

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.
Hey Gibson, What an awesome idea - PRINT! I really wish some of these list posts had that option sometimes. I'm still one of those old fashioned people that likes to print things out and manually cross off and stuff. Plus I really miss hole punching stuff to put in a binder - these days it's all about bookmarking and Instapaper lol. I might steal your idea and print it out myself hehe :). Hope you don't mind me dropping in here but just had to say that. Hey Hesham - that would be an awesome idea - to have a print button somehow on posts - or maybe list posts. What do you think? Yes? No? Maybe? haha Cheers guys
Optimise for your personas, not search engines. First and foremost, write your buyer personas so you know to whom you’re addressing your content. By creating quality educational content that resonates with you>r ideal buyers, you’ll naturally improve your SEO. This means tapping into the main issues of your personas and the keywords they use in search queries. Optimising for search engines alone is useless; all you’ll have is keyword-riddled nonsense.

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
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If you've never been on Product Hunt before, it's like a daily Reddit feed for new products. Products get submitted to the community and they're voted on. Each day products are stacked in descending order based on how many votes they've had. Ranking at the top of the daily list can result in thousands of conversion-focused traffic to your site, just as the creator of Nomad List found out.
Brands hold a wealth of customer information that may often not seem applicable to SEO — and many times, it’s not. However, if you’re working with an SEO agency, sometimes sharing this knowledge can provide the missing piece to the puzzle. Knowing something as simple as “Consumer preferences are shifting around the color black” could help explain why your traffic is down if your products are often paired with black shoes. Sometimes it’s as easy as connecting the dots.

Kristine Schachinger has 17 years digital experience including a focus on website design and implementation, accessibility standards and all aspects of website visibility involving SEO, social media and strategic planning. She additionally specializes in site health auditing, site forensics, technical SEO and site recovery planning especially when involving Google algorithms such as Penguin and Panda. Her seventeen years in design and development and eight years in online marketing give her a depth and breadth of understanding that comes from a broad exposure to not only digital marketing, but the complete product lifecycle along with the underlying technology and processes. She is a well known speaker, author and can be found on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter.


You are giving some great advice to use for increasing readership and loyal followers. I am trying to include 2-3 sources from each of your list categories so that I have a balanced approach to increasing traffic. Right now I am learning Stumble Upon and Squido.com. Although I submit articles to Ezine, I think my keywords are not strong enough to get a good click through rate. I am getting better about writing articles with strong keywords now; sort of fell off the pace of that when I started using a lot of guest authors :( Thanks for your great insights and check list for increasing traffic, Brankica!
Hey Bryan, thanks for the awesome comment. When it comes to videos and photos I kinda have the same feeling like you do, but when ever I do and see some great traffic coming from it, I kinda kick my self in the ...you know... I think article marketing will go on and on, I never had problems with it cause I always approached those articles as I do my own blog posts. So I think, as you say after the adjustment, there will be more of article traffic generation. Thank you so much for the nice words!
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.
Now in your reconsideration request make sure you are honest and tell Google everything that the prior agency was up too. Be sure to include all Excel information of removed links and say you are going to make an ongoing effort to remove everything negative. It is common knowledge that Google may not accept your first reconsideration request, so it may take a few times.
What an awesome stuff you're sharing here, Brankica. I'm a big fan of social networking site and blogging communities. Social Sites are great way to connect other bloggers and marketers. I've great success with blog commenting. I think it's another great way to connect with blog owner and build relationship. In the earlier days of my blogging, i did commenting just to get traffic but now i do commenting to build relationship with blog owner/connect with blog owner. Anyways, Thanks for sharing this great Post. Keep Rocking. Good Luck. ~Dev

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.
Hey Marcus, thank you so much. Hearing all the compliments make me wish I made a list of 100 traffic sources :) I don't think anyone would publish it though...too much work, lol. I hope everyone will use it and find some fresh traffic for their blogs, most of these sources will work for any blog but some will work better for specific niches. Thanks for sharing and appreciate the comment!

In other words, businesses have much less visibility into which keywords searchers are using to find them, making it much harder to understand which words and terms are or working -- or not working -- in their search engine optimization. Google said this would only affect about 11% of searches, but the truth of the matter is the number is much greater than that, and is only continuing to increase as Google's user base grows. It's important to keep this curveball in mind when evaluating organic search as a traffic and lead generation source.
Understanding the intention of your organic visitors is the heart of search engine optimization. Before you dive into finding keywords for your website or do any other SEO hack to optimize your site, it’s worth taking a moment to determine whether your website is driving the right traffic to your site and if it really delivers what your organic visitors want.
Hey Michael, thanks so much for the comment. After this post, I decided to revamp my traffic generation strategy and work more on the existing sources and work a bit more on the ones I was not using that much. I saw results almost from the first day. This list is good because of the diversity of the ideas, cause if one thing doesn't work for you, there has to be another one that will sky rocket your stats :)
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.
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. 

Hey Don, that is a great question and I will give you the overview. Now I have been trying these out for almost two years, for example Yahoo Answers was one of the first ones I tried and brought great results then. So first you need to decide which ones will you try and then track the results. I use Google Analytics to track the incoming traffic. So if I am focusing for example on blog commenting, I will note where I commented, how many times, etc and then see if those comments brought me any traffic. It depends a lot on the type of comment I make, the title of my ComLuv post, but you can still get some overview of how that traffic source is working for you. There are of course sources I discover "by chance". For example, in the last month Paper.li brought me 24 visitors, that spent more than 2 minutes on average on my blog. That is more than some blogs I comment on regularly bring me. So in this case, I will try to promote the paper.li a bit better and make it work for me. I will unfollow some people on Twitter that are not tweeting anything good so my paper.li chooses better posts hence better tweeps and get me exposed to them. A lot of them will RT my paper.li daily, so there is more potential of my content being shared. In case of the blog I mentioned, since none of the posts are becoming viral, the blogger is average, it is obviously not bringing me any traffic, I will start commenting less and work more on those that bring me more traffic. Now this is all great, except I get emotionally attached to blogs I read so I don't look at numbers like that :) But that is how you should track results. The main thing after reading this post is to choose up to 5 of these sources you feel comfortable with, work on them and track results. Keep those that work for you and ditch those that don't. It is a lot dependent on the niche you are in, too. I always try one source for up to a month, if there are no results in a month, I stop working on it and move to another one. If I didn't answer all you wanted to know, just ask additional questions, I am more than glad to help :)

Cool deal. You confirmed something for me. I forget and miss great items to include when I have to leave and come back to a post. I'm not alone there. lol I totally notice the same when it happens to me. The best ones seem to just fall out of the brain to the screen, don't they? Awesome to get to know you a bit better! Like your blog too, I'll catch you later on there. Cheers!


To give you an idea of just how much money is being spent on paid search, take a look at Google. Google's AdWords program is the most used pay-per-click (PPC) advertising program available today. While the tech giant owns YouTube and Android, among hundreds of other profitable brands, AdWords accounts for roughly 70% of their revenue -- which speaks wonders for its effectiveness.


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.
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