There isn’t much of a disparity between direct traffic and organic traffic. While the former refers to the visits you naturally direct to your site via search engines, the latter case refers to the number of visits that make to your site by entering your site’s URL in their browser or by clicking through a bookmarked link or favourited site.
But that’s just as basic as the difference between the two can be; and as a digital marketer looking to develop a deeper understanding or insight on the mechanization and undercurrents of the digital landscape, this explanation doesn’t exactly paint a clear picture of the two.
Your concern shouldn’t be sole with the direct and organic traffic you attract. But with all of your traffic sources. For most analytics platforms, including Google Analytics, there’s an algorithm that they utilise and a flow chart that’s grounded on referral websites or a set of other parameters within your site’s URL for determining the exact source of your site’s traffic.
We’d like to assume you’re a burgeoning entrepreneur based in Singapore. You recently launched your business or have been struggling with it for quite a while and now you’ve decided to set up an online portal to boost up sales or just to propel your business to the next level. That’s your digital storefront – or an online extension for your brick and mortar business if any.
There are numerous variations for this assumption. But the point is, you have a stunning website design that you want to drive new business. So how do you go about driving virtual visits first – the people with the intention to buy what you’re offering on site?
What should you be doing to draw them in?
Setting up a website is no longer a problem to sweat over, thanks to the introduction of DIY web builders such as Wix and content management programs such as WordPress that make web development a cinch even to an individual who’s never laid down a single line of code. The biggest problem lies with driving the much-needed traffic to the said digital destination.
This post attempts to address this simple problem by focusing on a number of things you can do today to start driving an insane amount of traffic to your site.
Focus on Long-tail Search Terms or Keywords
Long tail keywords are ranked better by search engines. So instead of diverting all your attention to short-tail keywords, try optimising the site for their long-tail variations instead.
What’s even more important is that the long-tail phrases and terms you come up with must be relevant to the blog posts you make. Start by researching on how to find long tail keywords (LSI) based on a list of primary keywords you have.
Start a Community Forum on Your Website
A community forum is a simple page where your visitors can meet and discuss about the content on your blog or share relevant ideas and sentiments based on what your website deals with.
Your site needs a forum and that’s because an active forum has been found to highly rank for long-tail keywords. And when properly regulated, they tend to make the bulk of the visitors you attract to hang around for longer period of time, thus decreasing your bounce rate while increasing your time-on-site.
They’re also great for building a community of loyal visitors that goes to ensure you registers a high number of returning visits.
Start a Facebook Group
There’s no harm in starting a niche specific group of your site. In this group, member can meet and air out their views and sentiments on a wide range of topics. The group is also the place where members pull together for moral support and sound advice.
Whatever you decide to base the group on, make sure the group’s bio or any content you post in the group has a link directing back to your site. After all the whole point of creating the group is to direct a good chunk of its members back to your site.
Run an Advert
This is particularly important if your website is quite new and are looking for a way to start driving instant traffic. With adverts, you have so many directions to take – including paid searches (such as Google AdWords), display advertising, and social media advertising to name a few.
For starters, ads are good for building your brand. You want people to be well aware of your business and what it is that you do, then start by setting up a variety of ads for your website.
Also, try adjusting the paid strategies you employ to match up your goals. You can start by being clear on what it is you wish to achieve at the end of the campaign – is it to drive more traffic or boost up your conversion rate?
The answer you come up with should point you to the right direction as to the type of ad you should be running.
Read this bearing in mind that NOT all paid channels are the same – considering each one of them comes with its fair share of unique pros and cons. So it’s important that you try to align the channel you choose with your business objectives.
However, if your interest is to generate loads of traffic that should translate to more sales in the end, then you’d want to target high commercial intent keywords in the paid search strategy you employ.
Of course the competition for this type of keywords will be stiff, but if done right and with the required amount of persistence, then the effort should pay off in the end.
Be the master of Social Engagement
Publishing great posts is never enough. You can come up with witty, well-structured posts to publish on your site or blog, but unless you’re willing to pro-actively engage your followers, don’t expect them to come swarming to your blog or website.
Social media offers a great opportunity to promote your website content and turn in a great amount of traffic, but only if done right. When it comes to selecting a social media channel to go with, be reminded that you have options aplenty.
Starting with twitter — for short and snappy links — followed by Google — which allows your links and social media messages to show in personalised search results, both B2B and B2C companies have a whole lot to gain by mastering the art of social media engagement.
Vary the Length of Your Posts
The gospel floating about is that you should focus on producing lengthy content articles if you’re looking to outrank your competitors on a number of keywords. While there’s a whole lot to be on board with regarding this statement, there are plenty of reasons you’d want to vary the length of the posts you publish on your blog or website.
Chief among them being you want to appeal to all kinds of readers. For all we know, NOT all readers enjoy reading lengthy articles. As a matter of fact, a great majority of them are among the lazy bunch, who’ll be quick to skip a piece of content or fail to read it all through all because they couldn’t see themselves reading such a lengthy post.
Mixing up the content you post isn’t just about varying the length of the text you post. But looking into other forms of content as well. For instance, there’s no harm in using infographics, images and videos in lieu of a written piece of content.
Promote Your Posts via Email
This shouldn’t be the primary focus of your email campaigns. However, it doesn’t hurt to include your site link in some of the messages you send to your list of subscribers. One simple approach would be to try sending a message to your list of subscribers every time you publish a new post on your blog.
By doing so, you’ll be able to direct a considerable amount of traffic back to your site for increased lead and sales.
Sign Up with HARO and start answering queries
Responding to a HARO pitch isn’t a tough task. If anything it’s only going to take you a few minutes to come up with a sound answer to a pitch, and the result you get include great PR, loads of referral traffic, and high quality inbound links to name a few.
Be Creative with Your Headlines
Don’t just rush to creating a headline for the sake of it. You want your headline to be awe-inspiring and captivating enough to entice a visitor to read the article.
It’s through the headlines you come up with that you’ll even be able to get someone to click on your content link and be directed to your blog. This is particularly the case when you’re sharing your content on social media or when the content shows up in the SERPs.
So let your creative juice flow. Every time you sit down to write, try coming up with a witty headline that piques the interest of a potential reader to a point that they can’t resist clicking through your link to find out what’s on the other side.
Sign Up with a Blogging Community
These communities also allow their members to cross-promote other bloggers’ content. So as long as you get to network with a good number of them and win over their trust, you can be sure a good number of them will be open to cross-sharing your content for more traffic.
Guest Blog on Relevant Sites
People have been throwing so much flak on guest blogging, with some suggesting it’s deader.
Well, before you rush to discredit any piece of articles advising you to consider guest blogging for traffic, be reminded that search engine now consider quality backlinks as one of their primary ranking elements. And if this is the case, what better way can you harvest quality backlinks if NOT with guest blogs on authority sites?
Start by finding a reputable site and try finding out if they accept guest blogs. In case they do, you can go ahead a write a quality post for them, taking measures to abide by their set standards, word count, and quality requirements.
Whatever you do, steer clear of spammy tactics or guest posting on low quality websites. Be extra cautious while selecting a site to guest blog for. Take your time to study your selected site and find out if they are to be trusted or quality enough to earn you SEO score.
Start Publishing On LinkedIn
What started as a platform of setting up your professional profile or finding another job has grown to be among the leading publishing platforms online. Meaning there’s a whole lot to gain in terms of traffic by simply publishing on this simple platform.
Start by publishing on the platform on a regular basis. Don’t just whip up rushed piece of patched-up content. Instead, focus on doing your own research and content curation to guide you through the kind of articles that tends to perform best on the platform.
By working on your profile, and constantly supplying your LinkedIn followers with quality content they can relate with, a good number will begin to trust you and even consider clicking through the link you have on your profile or content to check out what you have going on your blog or website.
Start Tracking Your Analytics Data
Google Analytics is a great source of invaluable data on every plausible aspect of your digital marketing strategy. You just can’t afford to plan for your online marketing strategy without factoring this tool.
Whether you want to find out what are the most popular pages on your site or the demographics of the visitors you attract, you can trust analytics to deliver it all for you.
Using the information you get, you can come up with a sound marketing strategy or make necessary adjustments to the strategy you’ve been using for better performance and improved results.
Use analytics to find out which kind of posts tend to perform much better or which among the pages you have are the most popular. This should direct you on where to direct much of your attention so you can pull in even more traffic at the end of the day.
Read this bearing in mind that there’s a whole lot you can do with Google Analytics if you get to master the tool.
Spy on Your Competition
You’re in some sort of healthy competition with other business owners within your niche. So do the necessary by finding out how far they’ve gone in one-upping you in some vital aspects of online marketing.
There exists a number of tools you can use to dig up relevant data for this simple task. A classic example is BuzzSumo, which provides you with loads of data on what’s going on with your competitors.
With the tool, you can aggregate the social performance of sites belonging to your competitors, Find out about the content they provide and their performance. You can even find out about the type of content your reader prefers reading and so much more.
Types of traffic, based on the source:
As the name suggests, referral traffic refers to the kind of traffic you get from another site, through a backlink. What happens is that a potential visitor while browsing through a given site, comes across your site’s link and decides to check it up.
Social Media Traffic
Again, judging from the name, this is the kind of visits you receive via social media — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Quora, Pinterest and Reddit to name a few. Mostly, you attract this kind of traffic after sharing a post link to your social media page or group, or by setting up a social media ad.
Organic traffic is the kind of traffic you direct to your site via search engines, excluding paid traffic. You simply work on content marketing in the hopes of your site being indexed and ranked favourably in the SERPs.
This refers to the traffic you direct to your site by setting up Google AdWords or paid ads with any other search engine. Usually, as a web owner, you get charged when an online visitor clicks on a paid link in the SERPs.
Again, based on the name, this is the traffic emanating from your email campaigns.
This encompasses the visits you get when someone enters your site’s URL in the URL bar or when they access your site via a bookmark or as a favourited site.
Any visit that you get that doesn’t fit in any of the above categories is considered ‘other.’
That’s a list of all the traffic sources. But for today, let’s dive into the specifics of the two major sources of your online traffic.
As already defined, direct traffic encompasses any visit you get that comes with no referring site. The visit doesn’t have to follow a link placed on another site or any given platform to get to your site, including search engines, blogs, social networks or another website.
What they do instead is enter your site’s link into the URL bar or click on a link they had bookmarked to be directed to your site. But then again, that’s just a two dimensional definition that doesn’t necessarily paint the real picture of this traffic source in the clear.
In this view, the definition held much weight back then, until 2014 when Groupon decided to run a test that involved de-indexing their site for approximately six hours. It’s through this simple experiment that they came to find out that what was widely considered direct traffic was actually organic traffic – given de-indexing the site to temporarily stop organic traffic from coming in also saw to it that direct traffic plummeted.
It’s for this reason that web owners decided to dig deeper into the possible causes of their direct traffic.
So where exactly does direct traffic come from:
Your In-house Team and Employees
There’s a fair chance that the bulk of the visitors your site is attracting are nothing but your in-house team or employees checking out the site; and they’re all counted as visits because you haven’t filtered out their IP address in the analytics. To avoid the confusion, it’s important that you learn to filter every single one of your company’s IP from the analytics.
If your site has a customer portal that customers have to log in, then that could be the chief source of your direct traffic. To be realistic about the traffic you, it’s important that you create a different source category for this kind of traffic in the web analytics.
Actual Direct Traffic
This accounts for all the traffic you get from the people who directly land to your site by entering your site’s URL into their browser or via a bookmark. This is often the case when you run a popular brand.
Email from Certain Email Clients
Certain email clients such as outlook and thunderbird choose to hide referring information in the analytics. That means the clicks you get via the email client will be interpreted as direct traffic by search engine analytics.
In Groupon’s experiment, desktop traffic experienced a smaller tanking in direct traffic when the site was de-indexed compared to mobile traffic. Goes to show that mobile devices have numerous way of reserving a link that a user can directly click through and land on your site should they decide to check your site again after the first visit.
Click on Desktop Software and Mobile Apps
Secure and Non-secure Links
Any traffic passing from a secure to a non-secure site doesn’t pass on referring data and is as such interpreted as direct traffic.
Taking all this into consideration, it’s safe to say that actual direct traffic account for an insignificant amount of traffic you site attracts.
Organic traffic is derived from search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Bing. This type of traffic excludes any form of paid traffic. But that’s NOT to say this type of traffic is NOT in any way affected by paid ads – whether positive or negative.
A great majority of online users trust search engines for information. They believe search engines have the ability to dig out for any kind of information and display to them, hence the common phrase ‘just Google it.’
And just like direct traffic, organic traffic has lots of grey areas that blur the explanation we gave earlier on.
For all we know, the biggest source of organic traffic is SEO. The better your content happens to be ranked on a list of specific keywords, the more organic traffic your site will be able to drive.
It’s a Wrap
As you can see, the differences between the two types of traffic overlap at so many points. When you look at the difference at a lighter note, everything is black-and-white clear. But when you zone into the specifics, the line distinguishing the two gets even more blurry the more you sink in.
That being said, remember to contact MediaOne today for free SEO or direct traffic consultation just in case you find yourself stuck on how to drive traffic from either of the two sources.