understanding the three types of website traffic: Direct, Search and Referral

Website traffic is essential. If you have no visitors coming to your site, you have no one buying, calling, reading or taking any other sort of action on the website you probably spent many dollars and or a lot of time developing.


Website traffic comes from three different areas: Direct, Search, Referral

Direct traffic comes from anyone who opens a web browser and simply types in the URL for your website. These are people who generally already know you and your business.

Search traffic is that elusive part of website and search engine optimization (SEO) that baffles most people (from page owners to website developers and even some proclaimed SEO experts themselves). Search traffic results from an internet search performed using certain keywords. If there are enough of those keywords included in the structure of your website and on the pages of the website itself, your website’s likelihood to be “found” by the search engines increase showing the results to the searcher.

The last source of traffic is Referral. Referral traffic is as a result from links coming into your website from other sites on the Internet. Today, the most common source of referral traffic comes from social media. Writing a status update on a Facebook page, LinkedIn, Google+, a Tweet, or any other social networking or social review site that contains a link back to your website are all examples of referral traffic.

Balance is the key. Achieving about 33% traffic coming from each of the three sources is a good goal to shoot for.

It is important to understand your site’s traffic patterns, traffic comes from and what drives it. Having a deep understanding of how visitors get to a site is critical to evaluating the effectiveness of SEO efforts and intentional link traffic you are generating online. A service like Google Analytics can give site owners tons of very useful information, including both a high-level breakdown of your traffic sources and even can present a detailed overview of traffic sources.

What is your defined strategy to understanding and controlling your traffic sources? If you have spent time and money developing a website that is either producing no results or you are not sure what your results look like or what they mean, you may want to bring someone in for some help.