Feet Up Friday: Website Traffic Sources Explained

Below is the transcribed version of the video.

Hello everybody, welcome to Feet Up Friday I am your host Brendan Gilbert. Today I want to talk about your website and the traffic sources that bring visitors to your site. We're going to use Brendan's Garden Blog as an example in the sections below.

Referral Traffic

The first one I want to talk about is referral traffic. Referral traffic is when someone visits your website by clicking a link from another website. For example, let’s say I have a great blog post on how to grow your tomatoes this spring. I have some really good facts in there, I did my research, and overall I have a really well written blog about growing tomatoes. Someone else, on a completely different website, is writing a similar blog or something about tomatoes in general and they reference my blog post as a source. This creates a link back to my site and a random visitor now clicks the link and they land on my blog post about growing tomatoes this spring. So, basically a visitor who was on another site found my website from someone else linking, or pointing at me.  That’s pretty much referral traffic in a nutshell. It's good and builds your domain and page authority. Definitely a good thing to have.

Direct Traffic

The next one is direct traffic, again we'll use the blog post example. I have crafted this great blog post about growing tomatoes and my mom, who likes gardening, reads it because she's a fan of me of course. She reads the post and tells her friend to check out this great blog post on how to grow your tomatoes this spring. Her friend goes and types the URL directly into her browser and bam, direct traffic visit. Simple, easy, and you love it.

Email Marketing

Next is email marketing. Email marketing is a great traffic source to have and not as many people leverage email marketing that should. It's one of those things you have to put your energy behind. Anyway, let’s say you are a member of my newsletter and you haven't read the blog post about growing tomatoes yet. I send you an email for Brendan's Monthly Garden Newsletter and in that email I promote my new blog post about growing tomatoes. It sparks your interest and you click the link which sends you to my blog post and now I have a traffic source coming from email marketing.

As a side note this can be a powerful way to get someone to visit your website who is on the fence about a particular product or service you are offering. Email marketing has the potential to help drive these potential buyers to visit the blog regarding the product or service they require. Ideally you have a nice call-to-action to help push them into the consideration stage and, hopefully, further down the funnel.

Paid Search (PPC)

Next is paid search, we're going to keep using the blog post about tomatoes because we can. Anyway, I log into my Google AdWords account and setup an ad to promote my awesome blog post. It's a great way to get instant traffic and might help you gain some social shares. Paid search has its pro's and con’s, as the others do, and will drive instant traffic to your website.  One of the cons, in particular, is that paid search can sometimes have a negative impact on your bounce rate. If you see a spike in your bounce rate be sure to analyze why this is occurring. See image to the right, notice how paid search has the highest bounce rate over the last 30 days. One way to help prevent the bounce rate from creeping up to high is to get specific with keywords you are using to target potential visitors. This is important and will help avoid poor ad performance and, more importantly, wasting your money.

Social Media

So, remember how my mom read my blog post? Well she also shared it on her social media page and now her friends can see it on their social feed. Now that it is visible to more people, hopefully, I will get some more visitors and fans via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or LinkedIn. Now, as a bonus, let’s say one of her friends reads the post and then shares it on their social media profile. This will shed even more light on the blog post which will help it grow, like a tomato.

Organic Search

Organic search is a strong, cost effective, way to get traffic. Organic search has a shelf life and can be the water to your soil when it comes to growth, unless you sacrifice quality. As usual, we will use my blog post about growing tomatoes for an example.

While writing the blog post I, for some reason, sacrifice the quality of the post and I fail to follow SEO best practices. I am now left with a poor to mediocre quality blog post that people don’t find value in. This can result in poor performing organic search results and traffic from search engines will be virtually eliminated. This loss of traffic will ultimately decrease the odds of a new visitor finding my site and becoming a customer. However, if you take your time to weed out the crap, see what I did there, you can have great content and your blog posts will be the talk of the town. At the end of the day organic search can be your best friend and have an awesome shelf life.

For contrast, paid search doesn't have a shelf life, the only shelf life to PPC is how much you pay and for how long. This means you're always spending money to keep the content on Google AdWords or whatever search engine you're spending money with. Once you stop paying AdWords, that's it, it's no longer on Google. Organic search however can keep bringing you traffic long after the post has been published for the low price of $free.99.

As long as you maintain the content and make sure you stay up-to-date on SEO best practices, organic search can really help you. Let's say, for example, you're popping up on page one of Google because you're blog post is doing really well in terms of organic search position on the search engine result pages.  Next thing you know someone is referencing your blog post because they found your blog post on Google and referenced your content and now you have a link pointing back to your site. Ideally, this will help you build domain and page authority by increasing your referral traffic.

The takeaway for all of this is that organic search can really benefit you in many ways. The real power of organic search revolves around people that are searching for solutions to their problems. If you take your time crafting your work, and focus on quality over quantity, your content can provide the solutions for these problems which will hopefully mean higher search ranking results.

Summary

Well that just about covers most of the sources driving traffic to your website. I hope this helped, sources can be tricky sometimes if your looking at your analytics and don't quite understand it, but if you have any questions please comment below and we will do our best to help you figure out whatever you're struggling with. Next week we'll talk about how SEO can impact your organic search presence.

Be sure to download our Free eBook Learning SEO From The Experts if you want to take immediate action to improve your organic search results.

That's it, that's all I got for the first edition of Feet Up Friday, I am Brendan Gilbert with PatraCompany. Have an A1 Day.