Hey Caroline, that is one of the great things, being included like that. Happened to me once, when my favorite blogger asked a question on her FB page and then included the testimonials in one of the pages. So not only did I get a dofollow link from a site that is Alexa less than 5.000 but I was so happy to be featured on her blog. Thanks for the awesome comment and I would love some feedback in a week or so, when the first results come in :)

Great article! SEM Rush's new ranking study of 600,000 search queries showed a positive correlation between direct traffic and top rankings. They indicated that Google prioritizes domains with authority and consequently more direct traffic when ranking websites in its search results. See their study here: https://www.semrush.com/ranking-factors/. So, direct traffic can be viewed as a positive ranking correlation.
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. 
One of the reasons for a traffic drop can also be due to your site losing links. You may be seeing a direct loss of that referral traffic, but there could also be indirect effects. When your site loses inbound links, it tells Google that your site isn't as authoritative anymore, which leads to lower search rankings that in turn lead to traffic drops (because fewer people are finding your site if it's not ranked as highly and more).
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.
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.

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.
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."
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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.
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:
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.
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.
Regarding Link Detox, links it diagnoses as Toxic are generally fine as they're either not indexed by Google or have malware/viruses/etc., but I recommend a manual review of any diagnosed as Suspicious. I used it recently to get started cleaning up our backlinks and some legit sites and blogs were under Suspicious simply because they didn't have many links pointing to them.
Lee Wilson is head of enterprise SEO at Vertical Leap and has been leading digital marketing teams since the early 2000’s. He has headed up the SEO department for a top 10 leading search and digital agency (Vertical Leap) from 2010 to present. In 2016, he had his first solely authored industry book published (Tactical SEO – the theory and practice of search marketing).

Would you mind sharing your stumbleupon user name with me? I would love to follow you and your shares! :) I am beginning to get more active on SU and it is definitely paying off. I have had a few posts in the last several weeks that have brought in 600-700 visits each. :) In regards to your "challenge" I am going to try out paper.li I will let you know how it goes.
Beyond organic and direct traffic, you must understand the difference between all of your traffic sources and how traffic is classified. Most web analytics platforms, like Google Analytics, utilize an algorithm and flow chart based on the referring website or parameters set within the URL that determine the source of traffic. Here is a breakdown of all sources:
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