Consumers only have so much attention and so much money — and for each, they set a “budget” for how much they want to spend with the brands that are important to them. Consumers invest their attention and money into big promotions. Typically, big promos have big results for the retailer, but the flip side is that the promo has emptied the consumers’ budget for attention and money. If the promo is big enough, it even entices some consumers to overspend a little bit (or a lot). When consumers have expended or exceeded their budget, they tend to engage with your brand less. They become immune to marketing messages and spend fewer dollars.
So, how can we minimize the amount of dark social traffic which is bucketed under direct? The unfortunate truth is that there is no magic bullet: proper attribution of dark social requires rigorous campaign tracking. The optimal approach will vary greatly based on your industry, audience, proposition, and so on. For many websites, however, a good first step is to provide convenient and properly configured sharing buttons for private platforms like email, WhatsApp, and Slack, thereby ensuring that users share URLs appended with UTM parameters (or vanity/shortened URLs which redirect to the same). This will go some way towards shining a light on part of your dark social traffic.
If you publish whitepapers or offer downloadable PDF guides, for example, you should be tagging the embedded hyperlinks with UTM campaign parameters. You’d never even contemplate launching an email marketing campaign without campaign tracking (I hope), so why would you distribute any other kind of freebie without similarly tracking its success? In some ways this is even more important, since these kinds of downloadables often have a longevity not seen in a single email campaign. Here’s an example of a properly tagged URL which we would embed as a link:

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 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.
Consumers only have so much attention and so much money — and for each, they set a “budget” for how much they want to spend with the brands that are important to them. Consumers invest their attention and money into big promotions. Typically, big promos have big results for the retailer, but the flip side is that the promo has emptied the consumers’ budget for attention and money. If the promo is big enough, it even entices some consumers to overspend a little bit (or a lot). When consumers have expended or exceeded their budget, they tend to engage with your brand less. They become immune to marketing messages and spend fewer dollars.

Wow, what a massive post Brankica! I love it. :) I especially liked your suggestion to answer questions on answer sites. I've tried Yahoo Answers before, though didn't do much with it. I'll definitely give it another go in the future though! Man, just when I was tidying up my to-do list, you had to make it longer for me. ;) Thanks for such an awesome read! By the way, I found this post on StumbleUpon (crazy how the world works). =p Christina
Being a good internet Samaritan is great and all, but how does this help you build links? Let me explain: the kind of broken links you’re looking for are found on sites relevant to your business, industry, or niche. By finding these sites and informing them of these broken links, you strike up a conversation with the site owner and give yourself the opportunity to suggest a link to your epic piece of content be added to their site.
Well as noted in the post it is not just above the links that was only one key part of a wider strategy. This website in question has deep levels of content. So it is not just about a blog section, they have numerous high quality content sections we have developed over time. It would not be advisable ever to attack competitors sites with low quality links.
It’s content like this that forms the foundation of effective content marketing: a crucial component in modern day integrated marketing campaigns that cohesively drive marketing results. It’s so vital, in fact, that some 22% of those surveyed at Smart Insights said that content marketing would be the digital marketing activity with the greatest commercial impact in 2016.

Hey there, I had to come back and post some updates. I tried your tips on my brand new blog and got following results. I have to say it is a brand new free wordpress site and I got it to have 30 daily visitors after only 5 days of following your advice. It's been 2 weeks that I am using the tips and I am up to 45 daily visitors.I also made my first money with that blog. Since I am a lot more active on Squidoo, I decided to try some of these ideas over there too, and I had my traffic double in only one week.Thanks and I will be back with more numbers and feedback how I made these traffic sources work for me.
The time has never been better to jump on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagons and buy social traffic at incredibly affordable rates. Imagine having each and every post you make on Twitter or Facebook get seen by thousands of people and then having their hundreds of thousands of friends and followers see them as well. Don’t forget about the added benefits that these types of boosts can give you in the big search engines either. Stop wasting time trying to build these accounts by yourself. It’s time to let the professionals take care of getting likes and followers so you can spend your valuable time on building your business and taking care of your customers.

I would also advise to continue doing what works. If something you have rolled out generates great traffic and links bring out a new version of the content, for example the 2012 version worked effectively bring out the 2013 version of the content. Another effective strategy is to make the piece of content into an evergreen article which you add to over time so it is always up to date.
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.
This is a fantastic list! I thought I had it covered, but I'm only half way there. I can't wait to tackle some of these. It can all get overwhelming at times, because there's so much information and so many resources out there. I would like to take advantage of Facebook and Google ads, but I'm not sure if they'll be worth the investment when compared to everything else out there. I just started guest posting, I have three due this weekend. And I'm going to start writing articles for Biznik.com - which is a great site and has put me in touch with loads of local people. Love it. The forums is an area that I just recently started dancing around it and I'm still finding my way. Thanks for sharing this great information.
In the end of the day it depends on the size of the website you are working with and how well known the brand is in the market. You can adapt some of the strategies listed above in the post on scale and it can have a highly positive impact on a web property, the property in question is a real content house so any thing is possible. What else do you suggest we should do I will advise you if it has been done already?
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! :)
I am so glad you used those tips and obviously have great results from it. It is all about creativity, I guess. If you think of a new and fresh way of generating traffic, that not too many bloggers are using already, you are on a roll. And Flickr was one of those that were not over saturated with bloggers searching for traffic. Thanks for the feedback and can't see the results with new strategies :)
And although livescience.com has way more links than its competitor, it seems that emedicinehealth.com is performing better for a lot of important keywords. Why, you might wonder. Well, the answer is simple: content. And although they are both offering good content, livescience.com is a site offering general information about a lot of things while emedicinehealth.com offers articles highly related to the topics, leaving the impression that this site really offers reliable content. We are not saying that the 5 mil links livescience.com has do not matter, yet it seems that in some cases content weighs more.
For reasons we’ve already discussed, traffic from bookmarks and dark social is an enormously valuable segment to analyze. These are likely to be some of your most loyal and engaged users, and it’s not uncommon to see a notably higher conversion rate for a clean direct channel compared to the site average. You should make the effort to get to know them.
Looking back at our lab site, we can see that Organic Search is doing well for us. However, if we put a little effort into social media, we’d probably see growth in that sector — and a bigger pie. We’ve got some strong referrals (and high quality links that improve our search presence), but if we put some work into building more of those links, we’d probably see more referral traffic and, again, a bigger pie. Should we add paid search? For this site, no. It’s part of our community service and has little revenue potential, so we wouldn’t see much ROI from ads.
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.
Hey Jym, thanks a bunch :) Yeah, I don't think everyone need to use each and every one of these, especially at the beginning. But I do find the list useful for those with "older" blogs. When you are thinking "Where else can I go to get more people to see my blog". That is what I do with my first website. Again, I agree with the part of identifying the ones that will work the best, so we don't spend too much time getting no results. Thanks so much for the comment
I once subscribed to a thread on Site Sketch 101 and it was a game where there were supposed to be hundreds of comments. You can imagine how many e-mails I got in an hour! Nick (the blog author) was laughing at me, cause, like he said, that really was a major fail. I would just call it a dumb thing what I did over there, lol! But who would know there will be so many comments here anyway. I was hoping for some but did not expect this many. Well, now I do hope I will get even more :)
Organic Search is visitors who reach you by Googling or using another search engine which Google recognizes as a real search engine — mostly Bing and its second string, Yahoo. People using other search engines like DuckDuckGo or sites which are now commonly used as search engines but which have other purposes, like Pinterest, will show up in Referral traffic and in the case of Pinterest, in Social. If you have a good, well-optimized website, Organic Search will usually be your most frequent source. At our lab site, we do nothing to encourage other sources, so Organic Search is absolutely the top.
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”?
Well, yes and no. Sure, you can get hit with an algorithm change or penalty that destroys all your traffic. However, if you have good people who know what they are doing, this is not likely to happen, and if it does, it is easy (in most cases) to get your visits back. Panda and Penguin are another story, but if you get hit by those it is typically not accidental.

The time might have come when you want to secure your website and switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Easier said than done. A lot of issues might appear along the way that can screw up your hard-worked organic traffic. However, there is one thing that can really mess up things for your website while moving your site to https; and that is the canonical tag. 
For an Agency like Aira, the speed of AccuRanker is a huge feature - the ability to do fast checks and instant refreshes on keywords means we can diagnose issues as and when they happen, during meetings or when on a client call. We love how quick Accuranker is and how scalable it is across regions around the world. We use it all the time for client reports and are now also making use of the Data Studio connector to pull data into our own existing report templates.
I don’t know how much time it took to gather all this stuff, but it is simply great I was elated to see the whole concept related (backlinks, content strategies, visitors etc) to see at one place. I hope it will be helpful for the beginners link me. I recently started a website, also I’m newbie to blogging industry. I hope your information will helps me a lot to lead success.

Everything on Wikipedia and other Wikis has a resource part. So if the image's resource is your blog (and I am talking about useful and good images, not just anything) you will get traffic. I explained in the post how it generally works for a travel site for example. It works better for some niches than others but creative people can make everything work for them.
After adjusting that, the table refreshes again and I’m looking at a month-by-month summary of my Organic Traffic. Hover your mouse over any single month dot to view a summary of that month’s numbers. In this particular example, we can see that recently there’s been an increase in Organic Traffic. January had 6,630 organic sessions, February (short month) had 5,982 and then March came in strong with 7,486 organic sessions. This information lets us know that something on the site is performing better than usual in March. In most cases, this means that either interest in a topic has increased or the website has begun to rank better in the search engines for specific keywords. In the next section we’ll begin to break this down further.
For our client: We rolled out numerous new pieces of content onto their blog and news section; we aimed to make the content creative and funny. As the client was in the careers space we made use of “funny interview questions” and “technical interview questions” style articles. It was amazing that one of the articles even made it to the first page of Reddit. We also pushed out content which was related to various holidays in that year and also specific to the client’s industry and also current trends in the market. 
You know, a lot of blog posts promise to show you how to grow your blog and bring traffic in. And then they go and copy/paste a bunch of other bloggers, change two or three words, and then publish. Then wonder why no-one read, commented or shared. Somehow I don't think you'll have this problem, Brankica - this is one of the most solid pieces on traffic generation around. Great stuff, miss, and something every blogger can take something away from.
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.

This topic seems actually quite controversial. Google answered the question by what could be taken as a denial. But their answer was kind of open to interpretations. And on the other hand, there are studies (one of them from Moz) that showed linking out has an impact. So, how can you be so assertive? Is it something that comes out from your own experiments?
Keywords research is a very important process for search engine optimization as it can tell you the exact phrases people are using to search on Google. Whenever you write a new blog post, you have to check the most popular keywords, but don’t be obsessed by the search volume. Sometimes, long tail keywords are more valuable, and you can rank for them more easily.
I am too much late to commenting on this article. I want to read "How much get Organic traffic by SEO", found your your article on top & really very interesting. James Norquay, you did good research.I think Now days google block mostly SEO activities. Is this worthy for current marketing scnerio?If any other post to related strategy for increasing Organic traffic, you can reffer me.
Make a campaign on microworkers about "Post my Link On Relevant Forums". Currently Micoworkers has about 850.000 freelance workers worldwide. You know that posting a link on Forums is not that easy. There would be thousands workers out of your campaign after they're trying hard the get a forum that accepts a link within their post. But the benefit for you is that they have visited your link to understand your site to search a relevant forum for your link. On this campaign you only accept real clickable link on forums. From about 850.000 there will be ten to hundred thousands freelancers who are interested to work on your campaign "if " you make a long lasting campaign(s) by hiring at least 200 posisions and teasing among 850.000 workers by paying $0.30 - $0.50 once one successfully posted your link on a relevant forum.
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!
Hi there Brankica, Super WOW! You have a bunch of quality, very applicable listing here. I believe being present on these sites would mean alot of traffic and sales because these are targeted and well renowned sites. I bet I need a lot of hardwork to be present to these sites. And this hardwork pays! Thanks for sharing this entry of yours. This has been the greatest list I've ever read so far. Good job. Cheers, Kira Permunian

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.


So, how can we minimize the amount of dark social traffic which is bucketed under direct? The unfortunate truth is that there is no magic bullet: proper attribution of dark social requires rigorous campaign tracking. The optimal approach will vary greatly based on your industry, audience, proposition, and so on. For many websites, however, a good first step is to provide convenient and properly configured sharing buttons for private platforms like email, WhatsApp, and Slack, thereby ensuring that users share URLs appended with UTM parameters (or vanity/shortened URLs which redirect to the same). This will go some way towards shining a light on part of your dark social traffic.
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.

Conduct a quick Google search using “site:yourwebsite.com” to make sure your pages are actually indexed. If you’re noticing that critical pages aren’t appearing in the SERPs, you’ve likely found the culprit. Check your robots.txt file to make sure you haven’t blocked important pages or directories. If that looks good, check individual pages for a noindex tag.
Thanks for the comment, I would not say it is impossible to create high quality backlinks from scratch without content, you just need to do a review on competitor backlinks and see if their are any easy targets. We have had some good luck in the education space acquiring links on the same pages as competitor from PR5+ edu sites. It all revolves around the outreach strategy in which you put in place.
By far the best rank tracking software on the market. We’ve tested a variety of different rank tracking softwares and AccuRanker is by far the most precise on the market. As a tool AccuRanker is very intuitive to use and the support is just great. We appreciate the speed and the possibilities regarding filters, tagging and especially the instant refresh function. These features and a bunch others is something we use a lot and I myself has been satisfied using it since 2016.

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! :)


Referral traffic is the third most important source, bringing 8.3% of total traffic to the leading retailers’ websites. There are four online retailers that receive significantly more referral traffic than others: Amazon, Apple, Walmart, and Gap. Live.com is their leading referral source sending nearly 3% of traffic to these sites. Also, we see that Amazon often directs its visitors to Walmart , which brings this company 3% of its traffic. And Amazon itself receives most of its traffic from Amazon-affiliated sources such as Primevideo.com and Audible.com.
As we mentioned before, when someone finds your site via a link on a social network, they'll be bucketed under social media as a traffic source. This could include someone tweeting out a link, or it could include you posting a link to your Facebook page. If it's you doing the posting, you can also add a tracking token before posting to track those links as part of a larger campaign for you to analyze later!
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!

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.


Direct traffic is defined as visits with no referring website. When a visitor follows a link from one website to another, the site of origin is considered the referrer. These sites can be search engines, social media, blogs, or other websites that have links to other websites. Direct traffic categorizes visits that do not come from a referring URL.
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