For a long time, digital marketers summed up the properties of direct and organic traffic pretty similarly and simply. To most, organic traffic consists of visits from search engines, while direct traffic is made up of visits from people entering your company URL into their browser. This explanation, however, is too simplified and leaves most digital marketers short-handed when it comes to completely understanding and gaining insights from web traffic, especially organic and direct sources.
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!

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.

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.  
People who use the ambiguous phrase “social media marketing” are typically referring to advertising: you broadcast your message and hope people will listen. Even if you overcome consumer indifference with a well-targeted campaign, any subsequent interactions are affected by their very public nature. The privacy of dark social, by contrast, represents a potential goldmine of intimate, targeted, and relevant interactions with high conversion potential. Nebulous and difficult-to-track though it may be, dark social has the potential to let marketers tap into elusive power of word of mouth.
If you want to drop from your hard worked #14 position to #79, you can start looking for companies that advertise themselves like the one in the image below. We don’t even know what to believe when it comes to companies that promise guaranteed instant traffic: that they are folly (in which case you don’t need them) or charlatans (in which case you don’t want them). If you want to find out more about SEO agencies and how they can ruin your website’s traffic, we wrote a previous blog post on this. 
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.
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.
11th point to me would be too look at your social media properties, work out how you can use them to assist your SEO strategy. I mean working on competitions via social channels to drive SEO benefit to your main site is great, working on re-doing your YouTube videos to assist the main site and also working on your content sharing strategy via these social sites back to the main site.
We have been using AccuRanker for the past few months and the team have so much good stuff to say about it. Not only do the ranking seem accurate, there are a lot of added features within the platform making reporting on the data very effective. With any new tool, there are some recommendations of features that we have put forward and AccuRanker have been very receptive to these ideas and we are hopeful that they will be implemented in the near future.

Though a long break is never suggested, there are times that money can be shifted and put towards other resources for a short time. A good example would be an online retailer. In the couple of weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays, you are unlikely to get more organic placement than you already have. Besides, the window of opportunity for shipping gifts to arrive before Christmas is ending, and you are heading into a slow season.

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.

The other way visitors can access your website is by coming from other websites; in this instance, the user lands on your website after following a link from another site. The link that the user clicked on is referred to as a “backlink,” as it links back to your website. This traffic is much more beneficial to the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website as opposed to direct traffic, which has little to no effect. The reason is that Google and other search engines interpret backlinks as little doses of credibility for your website. If other credible websites are linking to your site, that must mean it is comprised of relevant and accurate content, which is exactly what search engines want.
Remember when you used to rely solely on search engines for traffic? Remember when you worked on SEO and lived and died by your placement in Google? Were you #1? Assured success. Well, okay, maybe not assured. Success only came if the keywords were relevant to your site users, but it was the only real roadmap to generating site traffic and revenue.

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.

You can apply this to marketing in a few ways. If, for example, you purchase paid search advertising, you’ll want to make sure those “CPC” sources have generally low bounce rates. If a pay-per-click or cost-per-click campaign has a high bounce rate (1) check your landing page to make sure that it provides the content promised in your ad, (2) check your ad copy to ensure it is clear, and (3) check your keywords.
This quickly turns into a “chicken-and-egg” situation. Are fewer people coming to your site due to poor visibility in the SERPs? Or have you shifted your product focus, and is that why consumers are no longer interested in your brand? For a quick check, look at Google Search Console data, and pull positions and clicks by page. If position is staying relatively stagnant, this means your brand is not losing visibility in the SERPs, and there may be a bigger issue at play.

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.
For our client: We monitored everything on a daily basis. If something came up, which needed to be fixed, we were quick to implement it with the development team at the business. We also rolled out numerous campaigns multiple times as they worked effectively the first time around in generating significant traffic so it was second nature to do the same thing twice.
Hey Andreas, there are two main reasons I saw for suspending accounts - mean people and too many links. But they come to the same. On Yahoo Answers, like everywhere else, you have competition. They will flag your answer just so their answer would be chosen as the best. On the other hand, putting too many links in your answers can provoke the same thing. I usually put a link in every 3rd or 4th answer I post. And it is usually the best answer I can make. Glad you will try out the other sources, would love to see the results.
Another special mention is Quora. The question and answer site is like a high class, actually-useful version of the defunct Yahoo Answers. Experts find questions in their industry to answer and provide detailed answers, either in the form of a moderately lengthy post, or in a post that links out to their websites. You, too, can take advantage of industry questions by answering them the best you can. Users can vote on the most useful answer, and it floats to the top, so the more useful you can be, the more exposure your link will get.

Hi Brankica, I'm a total Kindle addict too! As much as I love to hoard books, the Kindle makes it even easier to consume books in volume! One other suggestion: There's a nifty new service called http://paywithatweet.com that allows you to give away an electronic download in exchange for a Tweet or post on Facebook. I LOVE this and have been testing it out with my latest book. Very effective!
Hi Brankica! I had to stop by again and let you know how a few of these ideas of yours are working for me. Purely because of this article, I put an ad on Craigslist for my Natural Parent consulting. Also I started posting a bit on Q&A sites, but I should bump that up. Paper.li didn't make a lot of sense to me until the other day when I was mentioned on Twitter, followed the link, and got to see exactly what it was. Then I went, "Ohhh! That's what she meant!" lol Next on my list is Slideshare. My Beat the Stress articles seem to be the most successful so I'll use those. Maybe I should shift focus a little to stress management and parenting? =) Thanks, as always! I should just print out this list.
Comments need special attention to be successful, though. Generally, you will have strict rules to follow. You can’t simply leave a “this was great, hey check out my site” comment. It will either be filtered for spam or it will be ignored. You need an insightful, detailed, and helpful message. You need to expand upon the topic in the post, argue against it, or support it with your own data. The point is to be valuable and attract positive attention.
Love the five different area of investigation that you went over, great way to analyze and diagnosis the issue. I would also definitely agree doing a rankings comparison between the two time frames, and not only check what your Google ranking is, but also track the search volume for your keywords to see if it has fluctuated or gone down. Google Trends is a great tool for this as well, as one of your keywords that your ranking for may have just lost popularity online.
Yahoo Answers is one of my favorite traffic generation sources when it comes to answer sites. It has been one of my main traffic sources on a niche site for a long time, even after I haven’t used it for months. The main thing is to give your best when answering. If your answers are chosen as the best ones, you will have more respect in the eyes of the visitors so… yes, more of them will come to check out your blog.
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.
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.

People find their way to your website in many different ways. If someone is already familiar with your business and knows where to find your website, they might just navigate straight to your website by typing in your domain. If someone sees a link to a blog you wrote in their Facebook newsfeed, they might click the link and come to your website that way.

Guest blogging purely for inbound links is a flawed strategy because the value of those links are going down. However, guest blogging for traffic is still an incredibly viable strategy. While that inbound link you get at the end of a guest post doesn’t have as much SEO value as it used to, it still has the value of exposing your content to a new audience.
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