Website Traffic Sources

Having a website is one good step to have a personality in the internet, whether it is made for business or personal use. Websites get visitors from various sources. These sources are categorized into 3 main traffic sources: Direct Traffic, Search Engines and Referring Sites.

Each website has its own valuable traffic source. Understanding how visitors from each source behave in a website is crucial for conversion rate optimization.

Traffic sources can help website owners, business owners and e-commerce marketers understand how well campaigns are working and how better to invest in the site content, advertising, or other forms of engagement. They can also create a strategy on which to concentrate in the order that they think best.

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic represents those visitors that arrive directly and immediate on a site by: (1) typing the website's URL into the browser's address bar; (2) clicking on a bookmark; or (3) clicking on a link in an email, PDF file, newsletter, SMS, chat message and so forth. Direct traffic is a strong indicator of a brand strength and a success in email or text message marketing. Direct traffic can also be an indicator of offline marketing success.

A direct traffic of 20-40 percent shows that the website/brand is well established in the market. New websites and breakout brands normally get 5-15 percent direct traffic. Although the percentage of direct traffic visitors is low, they are the most valuable source.

Search Engines

Search engines play a big part in getting a traffic. This is usually done with websites that are new and not publicly known. For well-established sites that constantly create good content, this would be the primary traffic source. For such brands, search engine visitors can comprise of 65-70 percent of the overall traffic. Although the conversion rate (in percentage) is low with search engine visitors, Businesses will have a better opportunity to position their products according to the visitor's search intent, providing a seamless user experience for them.

Whether Google, Yahoo!, Bing or similar. This traffic source is divided into organic or non-paid search engine traffic — meaning that the visitor clicked on a natural search result — and CPC or paid search engine traffic, which is the traffic purchase (via pay-per-click ads from search engines). Search engine traffic usually indicates that the website have good or at least reasonably good content. It also can mean that it have a good software platform.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plays a important part in generating search engine traffic. The goal of SEO is to get as many visits from search engines as possible. Visits from search engines represent 'free' traffic that is visiting the site to find the answer to a specific question. SEO will optimize a website and make it easier for search engine crawlers to index the site and rank it accordingly in less time and efficiently.

Referring Sites

Referring site traffic, which is sometimes called referrer traffic or referral traffic, counts those visitors that click a link on another site and land on a site. Referral traffic can be indicative of social media marketing success. Depending upon how engaged someone or a business is with their social media users, they are more likely to get 5-15 percent traffic from social media.

Common traffic sources that also include in this category:

  • Web directory and article listings: depending on the type of the website, these listings can generate a large amount of traffic if used properly.
  • Social networks: Twitter, Facebook, and social bookmarking sites like Digg, LinkedIn, Myspace, StumbleUpon, Reddit and others can send substantial amounts of traffic to a site if used correctly.