WEB TRAFFIC IS IMPORTANT
Website traffic is very important to any website and especially important to a commercial website. For the purposes of this article, a basic definition of traffic is the number of visitors (people) that a website receives during a reporting period. Typically the reporting period is 24 hours.
But just because you have many visitors does not mean that you have a profitable website. A store in a shopping center might have many visitors (potential customers) but if no one buys anything, then the store is not profitable.
A website, like a store, has to convert its visitors into buyers. But conversion is the beyond the scope of this article. Conversion will be taught in the our passive income classes. Rather this article focuses only about the major traffic sources.
There are five major sources of website traffic: (1) direct, (2) referral, (3) organic, (4) paid, and (5) social media. Below is a discussion of each.
1. DIRECT TRAFFIC/DIRECT NAVIGATION TRAFFIC
Direct traffic is when visitors arrive at your website by manually typing in your URL into a web browser (for example, PrettyPleasePassiveIncome.com), or having the URL bookmarked or as a favorite. Also direct traffic can come from hyperlinks in your emails, Word or PDF documents.
A trend of growth in direct traffic indicates that your visitors like the information on your website and you are building your own brand. The downside to direct traffic is that it is difficult to increase it quickly without a substantial budget for online and offline advertising.
2. REFERRAL TRAFFIC
Referral traffic is traffic from visitors to your website who clicked on links from other (external) websites, or from trackable emails. An example of a this is a PrettyPleasePassiveIncome.com blog article link from a Music SEO page on another website. The growth in external links to your website might indicate that it is being viewed as an authority website.
For referral traffic, you want to focus on links to relevant high-authority, high ranking websites. The easiest way to do this is to contact the webmaster and ask for a link. But some warn not to exchange links because search engines might not like this; (but others say you can exchange a link but make sure to put it in a relevant high quality article). However, you always want to avoid links to low quality and also non-relevant web pages, again because search engines do not like this.
3. ORGANIC TRAFFIC:
This is unpaid traffic from visitors coming to your site from online search engines (for example, Google, Yahoo, and Bing). Organic traffic usually accounts for the majority of traffic to websites. It is closely related to high quality content and consistently using good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies. Organic traffic is one of the main goals of SEO. So by applying good SEO strategies and providing high quality content puts it within your control to increase your organic traffic.
Long tail keywords are related to organic traffic. Visitors type long tail keywords search queries into their web browsers (for example, “red cashmere V-neck sweater”). They typically do not type broad keywords (for example, “sweater”) because 99.99% of the board keyword search results will be useless (for example, blue sweaters, turtleneck sweaters, cotton sweaters, etc.).
By using the correct long tail keywords on your website pages you will attract the correct visitors to your website from search engines. Therefore they will be more likely to purchase your product or service. So, the increase in your website’s organic traffic indicates that you are consistently putting effort into doing a good job in making your web pages optimized for search engines and equally important you also are providing valuable information to your visitors.
4. PAID TRAFFIC:
This is traffic source has other names such as Pay Per Click (PPC), and Arbitrage. But basically it is visitors who arrived on your website by clicking on paid ads (for example, Google Adwords). These ads are based on keywords that are bid on (and are not based on “fixed prices”). The more likely the keyword is to convert visitors into buyers, the more expensive the bid for the keyword will be.
The goal of paid traffic is for the total revenue from converted visitors will be greater than the total cost of the keyword bid. For example, if the total revenue from converted visitors who clicked on the ad purchased $1,000 of the advertised product and the total cost of the paid ad campaign was $800, then the web owner made a profit of $200. A successful paid ad campaign indicates a good job done in keyword selection.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA:
This is traffic from visitors who arrive to your website from hyperlinks on an online community or a social media network (like Facebook.com, Twitter.com, and Instagram.com). Traffic from social media is often counted separately from other traffic sources because experts have concerns on such issues as whether the conversion rate of turning visitors to buyers is lower than for other traffic sources, whether visitors from social media traffic represent visitors who are likely to return to the website again, or whether they a just visiting the website once because of a popularity of an item, event, or current trend.
But without a doubt social media is an important traffic source. Like organic traffic, social media traffic is easy to increase based on your effort. You have to increase your followers and keep them engaged with quality information, then some will follow the link to your website. Growth in social media traffic indicates your consistent presence on such networks and your ability to tap into popular trends. Take time to experiment with well-known and lesser known social media networks to determine which are correct for you.
These are the five major sources of traffic for websites. You have to understand these traffic sources to properly analyze the statistical information gathered about your website’s traffic and is displayed is such places as your website’s C-panel, your Google Analytics, and other places where traffic sources information is reported.
ORGANIC TRAFFIC IS THE BEST TRAFFIC
Organic traffic is the best because it makes up 94% of all searches; it is free; and is based on long tail keywords. It is easy to increase your organic traffic by increasing your efforts to provide relevant, high quality, search engine optimized content. Studies have shown that organic traffic has the highest rate of converting visitors into buyers of all the other types of traffic source. This makes it very clear that organic traffic is the best source of traffic. The reward is not immediate, but the results are long term.
For a website where every page is optimized for search engines, then organic traffic will bring traffic to your website in greater numbers over time. So if every page is search engine optimized for a different set of keywords then it will bring progressively diverse and highly relevant traffic to your web over time.
Since organic traffic is based on highly search engine optimized pages, it is important to follow the guidelines of major search engines to ensure your web pages continue to appear in their search engine results page. Here are some Webmaster Guidelines by Google.com that will help you to become an excellent webmaster.
WHAT IS THE CORRECT MIX OF TRAFFIC SOURCES?
Well, there is not a one-size-fits all answer. It is based on your goals, budget and time. Also, you have to keep in mind that you want to reach your ideal customer; and not a mass number of people who might not become your long term customer regardless of how much time or money you spend on traffic.
If you are a non-profit organization with little funding and a small staff, then an emphasis on direct, organic traffic, targeted social media, and some referral traffic is a good mix. If you are the typical blogger, then you are more interested in direct, organic traffic with an eye on consistently working to increase your social media, and referral traffic, and perhaps some paid traffic is a good mix. If you have a large corporation with deep pockets and you want to see profitable results over a very short period of time, then an emphasis on a well-designed social media, and a targeted paid traffic campaign is a good mix.
PRESS RELEASES and WEB TRAFFIC
As a side note, one good way to increase your website traffic is by issuing a press release through a free or paid press release distribution service and include a hyperlink to your website. Whether a press release should be classified as direct traffic, or referral traffic is a debatable question. But clearly a press release will increase the visitors to your website, and increase your brand awareness. If you use a paid service you will probably get more backlinks.
Make sure your press release contains newsworthy high quality information to help avoid being penalized by search engines. Do not forget to include relevant long tail keywords and other good SEO strategies in your press release. If you use different services, you probably do not want to release the identical press releases, and further you might not want to release multiple press releases on the same day–again to avoid possibly being penalized by search engines.
Finally, below are some definitions to help you further understand the sources of website traffic so that you can make good business decisions about your website:
DEFINITIONS / GLOSSARY
1. Backlink: (also called an inbound link) is a hyperlink from a page on an external web page to your web page. Search engines use backlinks to determine the popularity of a website.
2. Cookie: Generally, a web server gives information for a particular website to a web browser in a small text file to recognize and track visitors concerning their preferences. Cookies are useful in web analytics to determine whether a visitor is an uique visitor and thus should not be counted more than once. Also, cookies can be used for such purposes as suggesting products (for example, Amazon.com); logging into a website (for example, Yahoo.com), etc.
There are two types of cookies: session cookies, and persistent cookies. Session cookies are temporary files that are erased when the user closes the web browser. Persistent cookies are text files that stay on the user’s hard drive until they are deleted, or they until they expire.
3. Tag/Meta Tag: HTML code that include highly relevant keywords for a web page so that search engines access (and sometimes display) highly relevant search results that include that web page.
4. Tracking/Computer Tracking: The ability to monitor or record a computer user’s browsing activities. For website analytics, tracking allows a webmaster to determine which pages are most popular, country of origin of visitors, how much time visitors spend on the website, etc.
5. Visit/Web Visit: A visit is when someone visits a website one, or more times. A unique visit is one that counted only once during a reporting period (usually 24 hours) based on cookies/IP address of the user’s computer. Analytical program filter out visits made from bots, spiders, and crawlers that are automated software to gather information on web pages (for example, information for use of compiling search results for search engines).
6. Web Analytics: This is the collection, study, and analysis of a particular website’s statistics collected about the website’s visitors. Such statistical information includes: total visitors, unique visitors, sources of traffic, country of origin of visitors, time of visits, length of visit, and more.
This information can be used by the website owner to determine if the website is achieving its goal (for example, properly serving its ideal customer, improving the visitor’s experience, maximizing profit, providing information, and more), for other such purposes.
7. Website Traffic: This is the number of visitor (people); and visits (bots, crawlers, spiders) that a website receives during a reporting period (usually 24-hour period).
Please complete the Website Traffic Shuffle Puzzle to help you remember keys points of this article.