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.
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.
One of the most significant changes to Google’s algorithm over the years has been how it uses keywords to match relevant content to queries. The days of simply matching search terms to the keywords on your page are behind us, and Google’s machine learning algorithms are able to match the topical relevance of your content to the contextual meaning behind user searches.
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.
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.
Hey Kimberly, thank you so much for such a comment. Facebook and Google ads are great, if you know what you are doing. I could never get Google ads perfect so I didn't have as great results as some other people I know. When it comes to Facebook ads, they were great for my niche site and I loved the results. You, as a photographer, can get so much traffic from Flickr. If you are not sure how to do it, go to Traffic Generation Cafe blog, I posted a guest post over there, about getting traffic from Flickr. Forums are great, although can be a bit time consuming :) Thanks again and can't wait to see your results from the newly found traffic sources!
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.
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).
The Forums – yes, I know some bloggers are telling you that you can not get anything from the Forums, but I can prove them wrong. One example: I met one of my dear blogging friends on a Forum way before I started blogging. She has been helping me since. Instead of struggling with some newbie mistakes, I skipped most of them and went straight for success. Most forums allow links in signatures – use it!
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.
If your page is ranking for a keyword like “social media management,” you might want to look into similar long-tail keywords, such as “social media management pricing” or “social media management tools.” Chances are, adding in sections that address these subjects will be fairly easy. Additionally, by adding in a few extra long-tail keywords, you’ll have the added bonus of increasing the total keyword density of the page.
The moral of this story is that everything is contextual. And this applies to everyday happenings and to your online marketing, traffic sources, and conversion rates as well. It happens that what looks like an opportunity to be actually a setback and vice-versa. We all make changes within our sites with the purpose of having tons of traffic. We are in a continuous race for inbound links, domain authority, technical SEO, diagnosing traffic drops, search volume, keyword research and we forget to take a few steps back and see how all of these influence our overall site’s performance. We’ve documented the ranking drop issue in an earlier post as well and you can take a look at it as well to better understand this phenomenon.
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:
The first step to digging into organic traffic is to analyze what content on your website is performing best in this area. For obvious reasons, the homepage is almost certainly the landing page for most organic traffic, but the other top pages are often revealing. To view this data, we’re going to head over to the Behaviour section in the Analytics sidebar, then choose Site Content and finally Landing Pages.
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!
You had to know social media would be on the list. I generally recommend that a site only have a presence on 2-3 social networks, at least while they’re small. It’s a lot of work to maintain, engage, and update a social network profile, and keep its messaging consistent with your branding. You can always spay someone to do it for you, but then it’s not a free traffic source, is it?
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Brankica I like your Point about being a Master of Catchy Titles when Using Commentluv, I can also see that you use a different link whenever possible replying to comments here. This is just proving you know what you are talking about great insight into getting traffic from multiple sources and looking for alternative traffic not just thinking about getting visitors from search engines.
In this article, we’ll be taking a fresh look at direct traffic in modern Google Analytics. As well as exploring the myriad ways in which referrer data can be lost, we’ll look at some tools and tactics you can start using immediately to reduce levels of direct traffic in your reports. Finally, we’ll discover how advanced analysis and segmentation can unlock the mysteries of direct traffic and shed light on what might actually be your most valuable users.
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.
Once you’ve identified a relevant keyword target, add in it — but don’t stuff the page. Only use additional keywords where it makes sense. Don’t forget to hyperlink these keywords to other relevant blog posts you’ve written, and incorporate them into headings and sub headers for increased SEO oomph. If you need some additional help here, check out our guide on how to write a blog post that ranks well (and converts!).
Brankica, Excellent list. The only one I could think of is mentioning through email to family and friends. Example: Hey Guys and Gals, Sorry I haven't been in touch for a while. I've been working my tail off building something I hope will be special. I would appreciate it if you could do me a huge favor. My blog is still new and I need some opinions on where it can improve. Let me know the good, bad and ugly:) Also, can you pass it along to some of your friends? The more opinions the better idea I have at what works and what doesn't. etc. Thanks for the post. Live it LOUD!
Hey Brankica! Awesome contest entry! Love it. I, like you, get a decent amount of traffic from Ezine Articles, too! I am not in a rush to do anything drastic just because of the algorithm change. Hubpages is also a lot of fun and I am pretty close to finally making my $100 payout from Adwords. My hubs have been viewed over 10,000 times and I've had a lot of fun there.
I'm a IT Technician that has decided to take my knowledge of computer repair and maintenance online. So I made a blog about 2 months ago and I'm getting a small trickle of traffic a week. Most of those are from Yahoo! Answers. Twitter I just started using a few days ago and haven't got many followers yet. So It may not be the fastest methods but it's slowly working for me. I just need that surge of constant traffic flow. Thanks for the advice
Many bloggers don’t get time to maintain their blog frequency thus search engine bots also don’t like such blogs much. It is not that tough to maintain blog frequency, just need to be bit organized. But writing post frequently doesn’t mean that you write articles not related to your niche. Always write article related to your niche and take care about keywords.
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.
Search engine traffic. Search engine traffic is that traffic that comes from visitors clicking on links on a search results page for any search engine — whether Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Blekko, or similar. This traffic source is divided into organic or non-paid search engine traffic — meaning that the visitor clicked on a so-called natural search result — and CPC or paid search engine traffic, which is the traffic you purchase (via pay-per-click ads_ from search engines. Search engine traffic usually indicates that you have good or at least reasonably good content. It also can mean that you have chosen a good software platform. Be sure to learn which keywords are driving this traffic. Multi-channel merchants, as an example, may find that their brand name is a key search term. When this is the case, offline marketing is usually the real traffic driver.
Understanding where your site visitors come from is an integral part of any marketing strategy. Your website is the heart of your digital marketing practices, with traffic acting as the blood. No traffic means your website can’t do anything for your business; knowing the different kinds of traffic and how they play into your website gives you the power to make educated decisions on how to improve your marketing practices.
The big other search engine people recommend is, of course, Bing. Bing and Yahoo have something of an alliance, with Yahoo taking their data primarily from the Bing index, so appealing to either one is the same as appealing to both. SEO for Bing is a little different than it is for Google, though. Exact match keywords tend to have greater weight, for one thing. Bing also has a bit more of an emphasis on links from edu and gov sites.
How often should you go evaluate posts on your business blog? If you post multiple times a week, checking once every three months is a good rule of thumb. If you post only a few times a month, evaluating twice a year should do the trick. Remember, search engine algorithms evolve and change – and so will your keyword rankings, so set a calendar reminder for yourself or your online marketing manager to dig deeply into your search traffic and keyword rankings so you know exactly where you stand and where your biggest opportunities lie.
Mobile traffic: In the Groupon experiment mentioned above, Groupon found that both browser and device matter in web analytics’ ability to track organic traffic. Although desktops using common browsers saw a smaller impact from the test (10-20 percent), mobile devices saw a 50 percent drop in direct traffic when the site was de-indexed. In short, as mobile users grow, we are likely to see direct traffic rise even more from organic search traffic.