“Website Traffic” is a commonly used term in the digital industry, providing a general means to measure the success of a website. Web traffic refers to users who visit a website – more specifically the amount of sessions over the period (which you can read more about on our last blog here.
This can be very useful, but further insights into web traffic can be found by looking at where the traffic is coming from.
Let’s take a look at some types of web traffic and what that can tell us:
Organic traffic is when a user goes to a search engine, such as Google, and times in a query. They then navigate to the site by clicking on an organic listing – essentially a link to the website that is not an ad. It can be seen as free traffic (along with direct traffic), in that you don’t pay any advertising fees to earn organic traffic.
Of course, there are many, many results on the search engine’s page. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects for ensuring a site appears as far up the results as possible.
SEO is a process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website/page from search engines. Organic traffic can often be the highest source of traffic.
Direct traffic is traffic to a site from users who have reached it from typing out the web address or via a bookmark link.
This traffic can be a great indicator of brand awareness and customer loyalty, though many organic sessions originate from a branded search.
Referral traffic represents traffic where users arrived on a site from another site. This is most often achieved from publishing a site on relevant directories and review/blog sites.
The benefits of referral traffic range from improved brand exposure and recognition, increased SEO (links from other sites are important for boosting organic position) and building networking opportunities and future leads.
PPC traffic is traffic that arrives at a site from any paid ad network; the most common being the Google Ad network.
When used correctly, paid traffic can ensure that advertisement spend is directed at the exact target market – right down to nitty gritty details such as demographic, location and time targeting.
The success of paid search is indicated by the cost per conversion (CPC) of ad clicks, as well as the overall ROI.
Social Media Traffic
Social media traffic is pretty self-explanatory – it represents any traffic that has come from a social media site. When looking at Google Analytics, this traffic also encompasses any paid social traffic.
Although difficult to get right, the vastly free nature of social media grants good ROI potential and allows further targeting and reach potential through the ever-growing ad opportunities.
There are some other traffic sources that may pop up if you have a look in your Analytics. Display is a common one if you’re running ad campaigns – these tend to be purely visual ads, such as banners. Email traffic is another one that can show up if you’re running any email marketing campaigns. Or you might see “other” showing up. This can be a number of different sources, such as incorrectly tagged email traffic.
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