Every website needs traffic to be effective. Otherwise it’s just languishing in the land of the interwebs, with no one to see it or give it any love and attention. Since zero visibility is death to a business, it certainly pays to understand website traffic and its differences, so that you can more effectively guide that traffic to your offerings.
As the name suggests, direct traffic refers to any website traffic that comes directly to your site. Typically these are people who are already aware of your website and intentionally visit it by typing the URL into the web browser, or the name of your brand.
Direct traffic is a result of brand marketing and awareness; the more efficient your brand marketing is, the higher your brand awareness will be, and hence more people will directly visit your website.
To put it simply, any traffic where the source is unknown, is direct traffic; the user directly types in the URL or uses a bookmarked link to reach your website.
Direct traffic accounts for more than 50% of all the traffic a website receives. Direct traffic can also be used to gauge brand awareness and customer satisfaction, since they keep visiting your website.
However, it doesn’t really measure or increase brand awareness or recognition, since these people already know about your brand.
Organic traffic is traffic that comes through a search engine because of certain keywords within your content and without the use of paid search engine results. So if your website content is optimized with relevant keywords it will fare better in terms of organic traffic. This is where the terms SEO (search engine optimization) come into play.
Organic traffic can also refer to all the people that visit your website through referrals, including unpaid reviews, articles, stories, and profile mentions; all of these things often include a direct link to your website.
Nutshell? This type of organic traffic comes when other people mention your brand, complete with a website link, without being paid to do so.
The main goal for any brand marketing campaign is to boost organic traffic to their website. Organic traffic is often one of the best measures of a company’s reputation.
The more SEO friendly your website, and the more other people are talking about your website, the higher the organic traffic. The higher the organic traffic, the higher the brand recognition.
Affiliate traffic is any and all traffic that arrives at your website via affiliate links. Though there are pros and cons of affiliate marketing for small businesses, they can be a great way to expand your brand’s reach.
Affiliate programs essentially give permission to another brand or person to refer people to your website via a special direct link, in exchange for a commission percentage. The direct link is a URL with a special user ID that’s used as a way to track how much traffic was brought in through that link.
Affiliate marketing is a mutually beneficial marketing strategy; the affiliated person will use their already established network to market and promote your website, increase brand awareness and recognition for you, and get paid for every successful sale or signup.
Affiliate programs can use different types of advertising methods, such as pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, as well as link and banner advertisements.
Is One Type of Traffic Better Than Another?
Absolutely. Organic traffic may well be considered the holy grail of traffic goals. It’s free and it means you’re doing something right with your website, because people are finding you through a simple web search.
However, if you aren’t targeting the right keywords, it could be a lost opportunity, so it’s important that your website be properly optimized. However, paid traffic is also an excellent means of traffic and some would argue paid traffic is even better at converting simple visitors to customers. Aim to capture both, and you’ll see even better results!